The changing climate poses serious dangers to human and non-human life alike, though perhaps the most urgent danger is one we hear very little about: the rise of climatism. Any and all social, political and ecological phenomena facing the world today – from the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the management of wildfires – quickly become climatized, explained with reference to 'a change in the climate'. With complex political and ethical challenges so narrowly framed, arresting climate change becomes the supreme political challenge of our time and everything else becomes subservient to this one goal.
In this far-sighted analysis, Mike Hulme reveals how climatism has taken hold in recent years, becoming so pervasive and embedded in public life that it is increasingly hard to identify without being written off as a climate denier. He confronts this dangerously myopic view that reduces the condition of the world to the fate of global temperature or the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide to the detriment of paying serious attention to issues as varied as poverty, liberty, biodiversity loss, inequality, and diplomacy. We must not live as though climate alone determines our present and our future.
Introduction: Civil War, Racist Tweets and Flood Devastation
Chapter 1. From Climate to Climatism: How an Ideology is Made
Chapter 2. How did Climatism Arise? Fetishizing Global Temperature
Chapter 3. Are the Sciences Climatist? The Noble Lie and Other Misdemeanours
Chapter 4. Why is Climatism So Alluring? Master-narratives and Polarizing Moralism
Chapter 5. Why is Climatism Dangerous? The Narrowing of Political Vision
Chapter 6. If Not Climatism, Then What? Wicked Problems Need Clumsy Solutions
Chapter 7. Some Objections: ‘You Sound Just Like ….’
Mike Hulme is a Professor of Human Geography at the University of Cambridge.
"Hulme takes us on an intellectual journey in which he illuminates the social and political handling of the climate issue. He [...] explains why he considers dogmatizing the climate issue to be dangerous and finally presents a solution that he believes could lead to a globally viable climate protection policy without being in conflict with other UN sustainability goals, such as combating poverty."
– GlobKult Magazin
"Hulme has put his finger on a contemporary obsession that transforms all of human affairs into a Manichean struggle to address climate change, turning solvable problems into a singular battle for the planetary future, diverting our focus away from all of the incremental struggles that comprise human progress toward one true struggle to remake human societies and harmonize them with Nature."
– Ted Nordhaus, Breakthrough Institute
"Today's monomaniac climate gladiators may view this book with suspicion, but history will judge Mike Hulme to be the best mind and the wisest, most humane voice in the late-20th/early-21st-century climate change discourses."
– Daniel Sarewitz, Arizona State University