Climate change is such an overwhelming problem that many people understandably want to keep it separate from other issues. After all, the task seems daunting enough already. To avoid catastrophic climate disruption, global emissions of greenhouse gases must be slashed by 45 percent by 2030, requiring unprecedented transformations in energy, agriculture and other key economic sectors, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change declared last October. But treating the climate crisis as a stand-alone problem is a mistake. Issues of justice—economic justice, racial justice, gender justice, and intergenerational justice—lie at the heart of this crisis, and these injustices must be addressed if the fight for a livable future is to succeed. We can’t simply slap solar panels everywhere and call it a day. We have to dismantle the systems of oppression that gave rise to and perpetuate the climate crisis, including colonialism, racism, and patriarchy.
Many people trace the origins of today’s climate crisis to the Industrial Revolution, when humans first began to burn large amounts of coal, but the crisis’s true roots extend further back to the onset of colonialism. When European colonizers ventured to Africa, Asia, North and South America, they invariably plundered the local natural resources, damaged habitats, hunted species to extinction, and often forced human inhabitants into slavery. Undergirding European colonialism was the assumption that everything on the earth was meant to be extracted, bought and sold—and to make an elite minority very rich.
Climate Leviathan: A Political Theory of Our Planetary Future
by Joel Wainwright and Geoff Mann
How climate change will affect our political theory—for better and worse. Despite the science and the summits, leading capitalist states have not achieved anything close to an adequate level of carbon mitigation. There is now simply no way to prevent the planet breaching the threshold of two degrees Celsius set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. What are the likely political and economic outcomes of this? Where is the overheating world heading? Available On Amazon
Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis
by Jared Diamond
Adding a psychological dimension to the in-depth history, geography, biology, and anthropology that mark all of Diamond's books, Upheaval reveals factors influencing how both whole nations and individual people can respond to big challenges. The result is a book epic in scope, but also his most personal book yet. Available On Amazon
Global Commons, Domestic Decisions: The Comparative Politics of Climate Change
by Kathryn Harrison et al
Comparative case studies and analyses of the influence of domestic politics on countries' climate change policies and Kyoto ratification decisions. Climate change represents a “tragedy of the commons” on a global scale, requiring the cooperation of nations that do not necessarily put the Earth's well-being above their own national interests. And yet international efforts to address global warming have met with some success; the Kyoto Protocol, in which industrialized countries committed to reducing their collective emissions, took effect in 2005 (although without the participation of the United States). Available On Amazon