This book analyses the threat posed by the continued use of fossil fuels. By utilizing Elizabeth Shove's social practices approach and Murphy's own social closure framework, The Fossil-Fuelled Climate Crisis examines the accelerating treadmill of carbon-polluting practices. It incorporates externalities theory to investigate how the full cost of fossil fuels is paid by others rather than users, and to demonstrate that the environmental commons is a medium for conveying intergenerational monopolisation and exclusion in the Anthropocene. Murphy uncovers a pattern of opposition to change when exploiting valuable but dangerous resources. He argues that a new faith in mastering nature is emerging as a belief in just-in-time technological solutions to circumvent having to change fossil-fuelled practices.
The book then moves on to assess proposed solutions, including Beck's staging of risk and his hypothesis that the anticipation of global catastrophe will incite emancipation. It proposes a novel approach to enhancing foresight and avoiding incubating disaster. It will appeal to readers interested in an original social science analysis of this creeping crisis and its resolution.
Raymond Murphy is an Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Ottawa, Canada and Past-president of the Environment and Society Research Committee, International Sociological Association. He has authored multiple books including Social Closure (1988) and Leadership in Disaster (2009).
"A major innovation for the subfields of environmental sociology and ecological social theory. Building on the Weberian theoretical framework of social closure, coupled with a social practices approach, Murphy presents the climate crisis in a new, and dare I say even hopeful, light."
– Michael S. Carolan, PhD, Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Affairs, College of Liberal Arts, Professor, Department of Sociology, Colorado State University, USA
"The threat of the climate crisis is global, creeping and urgent like the current COVID-19 virus. This is the long-awaited first book on the climate crisis to use Murphy's social closure framework. He contributes a brilliant and candid sociological analysis of structures, impacts, and solutions of climate change. Murphy stresses the importance of visibility and concreteness to raise our awareness in order to efficiently mitigate the problem."
– Koichi Hasegawa, Professor-emeritus of Tohoku University, Japan. Past President of International Sociological Association's Research Committee on Environment and Society
"The Fossil-Fuelled Climate Crisis helps us to understand the severity, causes, consequences, and potential solutions to the greatest challenge facing humanity and the other creatures of the world. Professor Murphy, a deep-thinking scholar with a long track-record of environmental research, guides us through the complex issues and daunting conundrums we face and points the way toward advances in research and action. Senior researchers and students alike will find this an engaging and insightful book."
– Richard York, Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies, University of Oregon, USA
"The Fossil-Fuelled Climate Crisis deals with the most pressing issue of our age. Drawing from a rich body of social sciences, Raymond Murphy demonstrates not only why climate change is hard to tackle but also explores how it can be tackled. This book is a must read for those who not only would like to understand the climate change issue but also what is needed in order to break current emission trends."
– Rolf Lidskog, Professor in Sociology, Director for Environmental Sociology Section, Örebro University, Sweden. Vice-president of Research Committee Environment & Society, International Sociological Association
"This is an innovative contribution that uses the concept of social closure to push us to reconsider our thinking about climate change and its possible solutions. Murphy builds a critical social science analysis on climate science foundations in ways that will help readers connect the sociological and climatological dimensions of the environmental crisis. Through a close analysis of the range of climate solutions currently on offer, Murphy warns against a "Faith 2.0" in the human mastery of nature whereby technological solutions will come to the rescue and let us "ride out" our environmental crises. A real strength of the book is Murphy's ability to use historical examples (such as asbestos) to illuminate the social choices that are necessary to meet the imperative for transformative climate action."
– Mark C.J. Stoddart, Professor, Department of Sociology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
"In the wake of the recent global economic, political, and biological crisis, Raymond Murphy's theoretically rich, incisive analysis of climate change and consequent social closure provokes reflection about what needs to be done to avert a more profound, lasting catastrophe for humanity and the other life with which we share the planet."
– Robert J. Antonio, Professor of Sociology, University of Kansas USA
"Murphy brilliantly shows how the causes of anthropogenic climate change are deeply embedded in our social practices, and how unequally the resulting burdens and benefits are distributed. But even more importantly, he shows how a number of other environmental problems were mitigated, and how the lessons thus learned can help us deal with the problem of climate change."
– Tuomas Ylä-Anttila, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Helsinki, Finland
"Murphy is as relentlessly focused on making his point using clear language and familiar examples as he is on identifying the root cause of the climate crisis. This book is not a polemic against fossil fuels but a considered analysis of how social relations drive dangerous environmental outcomes and where opportunities lie for genuine social and political reform. It should be widely read."
– Distinguished Professor Stewart Lockie, Director, The Cairns Institute, James Cook University, Australia