Confronting climate change is now understood as a problem of 'decarbonising' the global economy: ending our dependence on carbon-based fossil fuels. Climate Capitalism explores whether such a transformation is underway, how it might be accelerated, and the complex politics of this process. Given the dominance of global capitalism and free-market ideologies, decarbonisation is dependent on creating carbon markets and engaging powerful actors in the world of business and finance. Climate Capitalism assesses the huge political dilemmas this poses, and the need to challenge the entrenched power of many corporations, the culture of energy use, and global inequalities in energy consumption. Climate Capitalism is essential reading for anyone wanting to better understand the challenge we face. It will also inform a range of student courses in environmental studies, development studies, international relations, and business programmes.
List of acronyms
1. Introducing climate capitalism
2. Histories of climate, histories of capitalism
3. Climate for business: from threat to opportunity
4. Mobilising the power of investors
5. Searching for flexibility, creating a market
6. Caps, trades, and profits
7. Buying our way out of trouble
8. The limits of climate capitalism
9. Governing the carbon economy
10. What futures for climate capitalism?
Peter Newell is Professor of International Development at the University of East Anglia. He has worked on climate change as a researcher, consultant, teacher and activist for over 16 years. He has undertaken work for international organisations such UNDP and GEF, provided policy advice to a number of different governments and worked for NGOs such as Climate Network Europe and Friends of the Earth. He is an ESRC Climate Change Leadership Fellow and is the author of Climate for Change (Cambridge University Press, 2000), the first book on the role of non-state actors in global climate politics.
Matthew Paterson is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Ottawa. He has been researching climate change politics since 1989. He wrote the first book in political science focused solely on climate politics, Global Warming and Global Politics (1996), which is still widely used as a key text to understanding climate change politics. His book Automobile Politics: Ecology and Cultural Political Economy (Cambridge University Press, 2007), has won the prestigious International Political Economy Book Prize.
"The question of whether and under what terms capitalism can cope with climate change is the most important and challenging of our age. Climate Capitalism addresses this issue in an accessible and timely manner. It is required reading for all."
- Sir David King, University of Oxford
"In commentary on global climate change, the issue of whose views to trust is itself one also now fraught with increasing uncertainty. The views of Newell and Paterson in this helpful book Climate Capitalism are trustworthy and important. They need to be considered widely, seriously and urgently."
- Aubrey Meyer, Global Commons Institute, London
"This is the best book yet written on the complex connections between climate change policy, markets and capitalism more generally. Written in an impartial and balanced way, the work should become a standard text in the field."
- Lord Tony Giddens, London School of Economics and Political Science, and author of The Politics of Climate Change
"Climate Capitalism by Peter Newell and Matthew Paterson provides a comprehensive review of the market in carbon reductions as well as the challenges that tackling climate change poses to capitalism more generally. While accepting that the model of global capitalism being followed so far in most of the world may need to be changed to a new, more sustainable, paradigm in the longer term, we need to start from where we are and harness the positive forces of capitalism towards solving the climate change problem rather than exacerbating it. It is an excellent book that anyone interested in the economics of climate change should read."-
Saleemul Huq, Senior Fellow, Climate Change Group, International Institute for Environment and Development
"Governments, businesses and people the world over are grappling with how to tackle climate change, preferably without sacrificing living standards and lifestyles. Is 'green capitalism' possible or a contradiction in terms? Will emerging forms of governance manage the potential and pitfalls of carbon markets in ways that achieve climate justice? Informed by two decades of climate scholarship, the authors provide an accessible entry to these big policy questions of the day. Backed by careful research, their balanced analysis will help inform not only all those interested in climate regulation but all those who see climate change as a harbinger of broader debates and choices about forms of global governance and the future shape of the global economy."
- Farhana Yamin, former Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex
"It is now clear that capitalism as usual is not up to tackling the challenge of climate change. Under what conditions might capitalism be transformed to generate growth through low carbon development? Climate Capitalism addresses this most pressing of issues in an informed and accessible way. It is essential reading for governments, businesses and concerned citizens alike."
- Rt. Hon Michael Meacher MP, former UK Minister of the Environment
"Climate change we know is intrinsically linked to the model of economic growth in the world. Neo-liberal economists today accept that climate change is the market's biggest failure. But still the world is looking for small answers to tinker its way out of the problem of growth. It is time we looked for new ways of 'business unusual'. This is why this book, Climate Capitalism, is timely. It helps us understand the crisis, but also the opportunity to reinvent growth without pollution. Read it because you must."
- Sunita Narain, Director of the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi
"Climate Capitalism examines whether capitalism can survive the challenge of addressing global warming induced by emissions of greenhouse gases [...] Can the market and private capital develop new governance mechanisms, such as carbon trading, and deliver new low-carbon technologies that will decarbonize the economy while ensuring growth and full employment? [...] the authors [...] adopt a political economy approach that locates climate change as a problem rooted in the way our production is organized, our economy is structured, and our patterns of growth and consumption [...] the result is an excellent review of the shifting business response to climate change and the emergence of market-based efforts to address GHG emissions [...] [the] style [...] is lucid, informative, and relatively free of jargon, though with enough detail (and comprehensive glossary) of the multitude of organizations and initiatives that it can serve as a guide to 'speaking carbon'."
- David Levy, Climate Inc. (climateinc.org)