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Academic & Professional Books  Environmental & Social Studies  Economics, Politics & Policy  Politics, Policy & Planning  Environmental Politics

Long Problems Climate Change and the Challenge of Governing across Time

By: Thomas Hale(Author)
256 pages, 5 b/w illustrations, 4 tables
Long Problems
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  • Long Problems ISBN: 9780691238128 Hardback May 2024 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 6 days
Price: £25.00
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Climate change and its consequences unfold over many generations. Past emissions affect our climate today, just as our actions shape the climate of tomorrow, while the effects of global warming will last thousands of years. Yet the priorities of the present dominate our climate policy and the politics surrounding it. Even the social science that attempts to frame the problem does not theorize time effectively. In this pathbreaking book, Thomas Hale examines the politics of climate change and other "long problems". He shows why we find it hard to act before a problem's effects are felt, why our future interests carry little weight in current debates, and why our institutions struggle to balance durability and adaptability. With long-term goals in mind, he outlines strategies for tilting the politics and policies of climate change toward better outcomes.

Globalization "widened" political problems across national boundaries and changed our understanding of politics and governance. Hale argues that we must make a similar shift to understand the "lengthening" of problems across time. He describes tools and strategies that can, under certain conditions, allow policymakers to anticipate future needs and risks, make interventions that get ahead of problems, shift time horizons, adapt to changing circumstances, and set forward-looking goals that endure. As the climate changes, politics must, too. Efforts to solve long-term problems – not only climate change but other issues as well, including technology governance and demographic shifts – can also be a catalyst for a broader institutional transformation oriented toward the long term. With Long Problems, Hale offers an essential guide to governing across time.

Customer Reviews


Thomas Hale is professor of global public policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. His previous books include Beyond Gridlock, Between Interests and Law: The Politics of Transnational Commercial Disputes, Transnational Climate Change Governance, and Gridlock: Why Global Cooperation Is Failing When We Need It Most.

By: Thomas Hale(Author)
256 pages, 5 b/w illustrations, 4 tables
Media reviews

"Hale has specific ideas for how to change institutions and procedures so that today's inhabitants of Earth give more consideration to tomorrow's inhabitants."
– Peter Coy, New York Times

"[This book] offers a thoughtful list of reforms that deserve a wider hearing."
– Pilita Clark, Financial Times

"As if future generations had asked Hale to write it now, this book presents a profoundly sobering and yet spectacularly provocative analysis of the political governance we need for the long term. A must read for anyone seriously engaging with climate change, biodiversity, or other challenges that will deeply affect our descendants. As their ancestors, we cannot ignore this call."
– Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

"Thomas Hale has written a short book that offers hope about humanity's capacity to solve long problems. Here is a manual for social scientists, policymakers, and climate activists alike, one that will change the solutions they propose and the institutions they design to meet the existential challenge of climate change."
– Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO, New America; Princeton University

"With a sharp eye and an elegant pen Thomas Hale explains why time horizons make it so hard to solve climate change and many other vexing global problems. Steeped in political science but interesting to everyone, Hale's book also shows how new institutions and incentives can help distant harms get a more powerful say in today's political discourse."
– David G. Victor, coauthor of Fixing the Climate

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