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A call for the Left and Right – the business community and environmentalists, bankers and activists – to join together, reclaim capitalism, and force profits to align with the planet
A warming climate and a general distrust of Wall Street has opened a new cultural divide among those who otherwise agree we must mitigate climate risk: anti-market critics such as Naomi Klein target capitalism itself as a root cause of climate change while climate-savvy business leaders believe we can largely continue with business as usual by tinkering around the edges of our economic system.
Rand argues that both sides in this emerging cultural war are ill-equipped to provide solutions to the climate crisis, and each is remarkably naïve in their view of capitalism. On one hand, we cannot possibly transition off fossil fuels without the financial might and entrepreneurial talent market forces alone can unlock. On the other, without radical changes to the way markets operate, capitalism will take us right off the climate cliff.
Rejecting the old Left/Right ideologies, Rand develops a more pragmatic view capable of delivering practical solutions to this critical problem. A renewed capitalism harnessed to the task is the only way we might replace fossil fuels fast enough to mitigate severe climate risk. If we leave our dogma at the door, Rand argues, we might just build an economy that survives the century.
Tom Rand is a recognized thought leader and public speaker on the necessity and economic upside of a rapid, global transition to a low-carbon economy. Tom is managing partner of ArcTern Ventures, a new father, sits on a number of boards, and finds it hard to believe we’re still having this conversation. He is the author of Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit (2010) and Waking the Frog: Solutions to Our Climate Change Paralysis (2014).
"[A] thoughtful treatise [...] Much of the book's strength is in its practicality [...] [A] strong, well-reasoned argument for the left and right to work together for the common good."
– Publishers Weekly
"It's easy to bash capitalism as the cause of the climate crisis, but doing so, Tom Rand shows, is a profound mistake. In this wonderfully clear and compelling book, he argues for a revitalized and reformed 'climate capitalism' that focuses the energies and ingenuity of entrepreneurs and markets on rescuing our planet. Rand doesn't pick a side in the increasingly bitter fight over our responses to the crisis; instead, he shows us how to solve it."
– Thomas Homer-Dixon, award-winning author of The Ingenuity Gap and The Upside of Down
"A necessarily provocative take-down of economic, political and climate change orthodoxies paired with a radically practical plan for finally getting serious about saving ourselves. It deftly and convincingly puts to rest the twin fallacies that nothing can be done and that we are doing enough. Canada's plan for a new economic future in a climate-changed world can be found right here. Read it."
– Tim Gray, Executive Director, Environmental Defence
"Tom Rand is a dynamo – both for climate action and for capitalism. His passion about the need to aggressively address climate change is contagious, but so too is his conviction that the only practical way forward requires a harnessing of the awesome power of capitalism. Skewering those who call for a complete economic revolution, Climate Capitalism instead lays out the many pieces of the capitalist framework that must be modified if we are to achieve our climate targets. Rand's focus on competition, prices, innovation and financial capital is both wise and inspiring and befits the views of one of Canada's most interesting clean-tech investors."
– Christopher Ragan, Director, Max Bell School of Public Policy, McGill University
"This book forces the reader to abandon ideology, face climate disruption and wrestle with how to use existing systems to act fast and protect our kids. Challenging, compelling and smart, Tom Rand makes a clear case for a new radical but pragmatic approach to investment and policy in a world on fire."
– Tzeporah Berman, environmental activist and author of This Crazy Time: Living our Environmental Challenge