Pick your 2100 pledge!!

Apparently the G8 leaders have pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2050.  In making the pledge that does not need to be honored for 42 years, the G8 has learned its lesson from the 2005 Gleneagles summit.  While in Scotland, they pledged to double aid to sub-Saharan Africa by 2010.  As that date approaches, and ...

Apparently the G8 leaders have pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2050.  In making the pledge that does not need to be honored for 42 years, the G8 has learned its lesson from the 2005 Gleneagles summit.  While in Scotland, they pledged to double aid to sub-Saharan Africa by 2010.  As that date approaches, and skepticism mounts about whether they will achieve their target, suddenly the promise looks a little bit hollowEnvironmentalists are unimpressed with this pledge, but as a political scientist I find these long-range promises surprisingly rare.  Politicians should love making these kind of pledges, because, in theory, they can lock in preferences long after a leader has left the stage.  If nothing else, breaking this kind of promise does exact some modest cost on the future leader who has to make the reversal. Readers are hereby encouraged to submit a pledge that the G8 should promise to fulfill by the year 2100.  The pledge should be smart policy but such a dead-bang political loser that there is, literally, zero chance of it being implemented in our lifetime. I'll start:  the G8 should pledge to remove all migration restrictions -- regardless of the country of origin -- by the year 2100.

Apparently the G8 leaders have pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2050.  In making the pledge that does not need to be honored for 42 years, the G8 has learned its lesson from the 2005 Gleneagles summit.  While in Scotland, they pledged to double aid to sub-Saharan Africa by 2010.  As that date approaches, and skepticism mounts about whether they will achieve their target, suddenly the promise looks a little bit hollowEnvironmentalists are unimpressed with this pledge, but as a political scientist I find these long-range promises surprisingly rare.  Politicians should love making these kind of pledges, because, in theory, they can lock in preferences long after a leader has left the stage.  If nothing else, breaking this kind of promise does exact some modest cost on the future leader who has to make the reversal. Readers are hereby encouraged to submit a pledge that the G8 should promise to fulfill by the year 2100.  The pledge should be smart policy but such a dead-bang political loser that there is, literally, zero chance of it being implemented in our lifetime. I’ll start:  the G8 should pledge to remove all migration restrictions — regardless of the country of origin — by the year 2100.

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He blogged regularly for Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2014. Twitter: @dandrezner

More from Foreign Policy

Soldiers of the P18 Gotland Regiment of the Swedish Army camouflage an armoured vehicle during a field exercise near Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland on May 17.
Soldiers of the P18 Gotland Regiment of the Swedish Army camouflage an armoured vehicle during a field exercise near Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland on May 17.

What Are Sweden and Finland Thinking?

European leaders have reassessed Russia’s intentions and are balancing against the threat that Putin poses to the territorial status quo. 

Ukrainian infantry take part in a training exercise with tanks near Dnipropetrovsk oblast, Ukraine, less than 50 miles from the front lines, on May 9.
Ukrainian infantry take part in a training exercise with tanks near Dnipropetrovsk oblast, Ukraine, less than 50 miles from the front lines, on May 9.

The Window To Expel Russia From Ukraine Is Now

Russia is digging in across the southeast.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken participate in a virtual summit with the leaders of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue countries at the White House in Washington on March 12.
U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken participate in a virtual summit with the leaders of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue countries at the White House in Washington on March 12.

Why China Is Paranoid About the Quad

Beijing has long lived with U.S. alliances in Asia, but a realigned India would change the game.

Members of the National Defence Training Association of Finland attend a training.
Members of the National Defence Training Association of Finland attend a training.

Finns Show Up for Conscription. Russians Dodge It.

Two seemingly similar systems produce very different militaries.