Editorial – A window of opportunity to regain some legitimacy? What do Hansen’s new study on the inanity of the current goals of the international community to mitigate climate change and the Council of Europe report regarding the terrible impact of austerity measures on European citizens have in common? The answer is legitimacy, or rather illegitimacy and is emphasized by Hansen: “We started this paper to provide a basis for legal actions against governments in not doing their jobs in protecting the rights of young people and future generations,” he said.” Governments and state or quasi-state administrations have lost a large part of their legitimacy, and by the actions and decisions that led to this dire situation have started a worrying vicious spiral: lack of legitimacy means that it is increasingly difficult to govern and thus to be efficient in ensuring the security of citizens, which in turns leads to even less legitimacy. If this spiral is not stopped at some point, then even Hansen’s goal could “relatively quickly” become obsolete: to take a legal action against a government demands to use the judicial system, which is also part of the system that is being increasingly delegitimized. More constructively, Hansen’s threat and the Council of Europe’s report, by openly, clearly and loudly saying what so many citizens think also open a window of opportunity for governments and states to start working towards reconstructing the legitimacy they have lost, which will also means confronting divergent interests… a difficult and challenging but also potentially mobilizing task.
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