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Academic & Professional Books  Environmental & Social Studies  Climate Change

Carbon Colonialism How Rich Countries Export Climate Breakdown

By: Laurie Parsons(Author)
236 pages, no illustrations
Carbon Colonialism
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  • Carbon Colonialism ISBN: 9781526169181 Hardback May 2023 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
Price: £18.99
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles Recommended titles

About this book

Climate change is devastating the planet, and globalisation is hiding it. This book opens our eyes.

Around the world, leading economies are announcing significant progress on climate change. World leaders are queuing up to proclaim their commitment to tackling the climate crisis, pointing to data that shows the progress they have made. Yet the atmosphere is still warming at a record rate, with devastating effects on poverty and precarity in the world's most vulnerable communities. Are we being deceived?

Outsourcing Climate Breakdown explores the murky practices of exporting a country's environmental impact. A world in which corporations and countries are allowed to maintain a clean, green image while landfills in the world's poorest countries continue to expand and droughts and floods intensify under the auspices of globalisation, deregulation and economic growth.

Taking a wide-ranging, culturally engaged approach to the topic, the book shows how this is not only a technical problem, but a problem of cultural and political systems and structures – from nationalism to economic logic – deeply embedded in our society.


1. Out of sight, out of mind
2. Living globalisation: an environmental history
3. But what can we do about this? The limits of consumer power
4. Cold War in the climate compact
5. All in it together? Climate change and the individual
6. Carbon colonialism: hidden numbers, hidden histories
7. Money talks: who gets to speak for the environment and how
8. Six myths that let them get away with it

Customer Reviews


Laurie Parsons is Lecturer in Human Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London and Principal Investigator of the projects The Disaster Trade: The Hidden Footprint of UK Imports and Investment Overseas and Hot Trends: How the Global Garment Industry Shapes Climate Vulnerability in Cambodia. His other books include Going Nowhere Fast: Inequality in the Age of Translocality (2020) and Climate Change in the Global Workplace (2021).

By: Laurie Parsons(Author)
236 pages, no illustrations
Media reviews

"Carbon Colonialism is a timely analysis of the contradictions of climate politics. It not only makes visible the concealed costs of extraction hidden beneath the shiny sustainability commitments of Global North politics, but also provides an eye-opening account of climate breakdown in the Global South."
– Matthias Schmelzer, author of The Future Is Degrowth

"By taking readers on a journey through landscapes poisoned by the effluvia of economic growth, Laurie Parsons exposes the ongoing impact of colonialism and global capitalism on some of the most vulnerable places on earth. Read this book if you want to understand how the impacts of history are still reverberating today."
– Carry Somers, founder of Fashion Revolution

"Thoroughly recommend reading this excellent book. A fascinating and well-written explanation of how global capitalism exports environmental destruction to poor places, while extracting wealth to rich ones."
– Grace Blakeley, author of The Corona Crash

"Carbon Colonialism
is an uncomfortable book to read from the comforts of the rich world. It is unsettling because Laurie Parsons renders visible through curated cases and close argument the global signatures of environmental risk, exposure and reward, and the structural violence of climate change."
– Jonathan Rigg, Professor of Human Geography, University of Bristol

"An eye-opening, fact-based indictment of the current path we're on, one where rich countries and companies are accumulating the resources to mitigate the impacts of climate change rather than moving to stop environmental destruction."
– Assaad Razzouk, author of Saving the Planet Without the Bullshit

"Fantastic. Moving. And beautifully written."
– Sven Beckert, author of Empire of Cotton

"Carbon Colonialism exposes the uneven geography of the climate crises through thoughtful field work, detailing how destructive global environmental change is teleconnected to impoverishment. Parsons traces the ways in which the most egregious effects of climate change are found at the bottom of global gradients of inequality while tackling head on the myths that surround the political economy of climate change."
– Andrew Brooks, Reader in Uneven Development, King's College London and author of Clothing Poverty

"Carbon Colonialism is a welcome salve to the pernicious greenwashing that pollutes contemporary capitalism. Laurie Parsons skillfully weaves ethnographic encounters with detailed research to craft a book that is both timely and urgently necessary. Carbon Colonialism asks critical questions about the status-quo, where life is cheap, destruction is uneven, and profit is extracted from our planetary future."
– Thom Davies, Associate Professor in Geography, University of Nottingham and co-editor of Toxic Truths

"Parsons takes everyday objects – bricks, a pair of socks, teabags – and draws out lessons from their global supply chains. And it was great to hear more from Cambodia, a country we don't hear from very much, and where Parsons has spent a lot of time. Altogether, Carbon Colonialism is a stark reminder that for all its apparent environmental progress, consumer capitalism still relies on invisible "elsewheres" to keep the economic wheels turning."
– Jeremy Williams, The Earthbound Report

"This book explains how wealth is ruling and harming the environment. We are all accountable for our unsustainable overuse of natural resources and climate change. Therefore, this book must be read by every individual, not just those with a specific interest."
– Ankita Sharma, Studies of Transition States and Societies, Vol. 15 Issue 1

"The paramount merit of Carbon Colonialism resides in shedding light on our present environmental panorama and exposing the intricate interweaving of the capitalist production model with the generation and dissemination of environmental vulnerability worldwide. Acknowledging this underlying rationale within our global economy marks the primary pivotal stride towards steering actions and crafting genuinely effective regulations to mitigate the environmental impact of consumption."
– Leonardo Macedo, Ethnic and Racial Studies

"Parsons' major contribution through this book is to identify the political economy of climate change and the vulnerabilities which emerge from it. The book will be especially helpful for economists, political economists and geographers who research issues around climate change policy and accountability. However, anyone interested the current global environmental problem, climate change and sustainability issues will find this book captivating. The book lays bare the dismal state of the global climate crisis and argues convincingly that protecting the planet must go hand in hand with ensuring fairness, equity and social justice for all people."
– Sneha Biswas, LSE Review of Books

"Fabulous and much-needed"
– Melody Kemp, Society of Environmental Journalists

"Parsons's lively and accessible synthesis debunks the myth of a livable and just future under carbon colonialism [...]"
– Z. Albertson, Western Washington University, CHOICE (March 2024 Vol. 61 No. 7)

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