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Politics of Climate Change 1st Edition

2.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0745646930
ISBN-10: 074564693X
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Editorial Reviews


"As readers of Gidden's previous works might expect, he is lucid and precise in outlining potential courses of social action."

"One of those rare seminal works that will likely influence policy-makers over the next several generations."
Journal of World Energy Law & Business

"Giddens' is a simple message, argued with great clarity and power, that brings a new dimension to the debate."
Book of the week in the Times Higher Education

"A very useful introduction to the issues, and crucially shifts the focus away from targets and environmentalist frames towards the substance of economic and energy security interests, technology, state intervention and the limitations of the formal international climate negotiations."
Public Policy Research

"As well as providing a useful summary of a number of current debates in climate change policy - from the robustness of carbon markets and green taxes through to the role of government in fostering new technological solutions - Giddens makes a powerful contribution to the emerging debate."

"The Politics of Climate Change stands out in the crowded terrain of climate change publications by placing politics - rather than science or economics - at the center of the analysis ... there is much to recommend this book. It is up to date, with discussions of the recent global financial crisis and the change of leadership in the US. It takes a multilevel governance perspective on climate change governance and attempts to think about how the various components relate to one another. The book is accessible for the nonspecialist, making it appropriate for use in the classroom."
Environment and Planning C

"How do you create, maintain and renew majorities that encourage people, organisations and institutions to behave responsibly and well, especially when they have become accustomed to behaving irresponsibly and badly? This key question ... underlies everything in Anthony Giddens' important new book, The Politics of Climate Change. Giddens is clear that politicians make things worse by the tactic - much used by Brown in the economic field too - of simultaneously dramatising the threat and then pretending to have the unique measure of it, as the G20 may show."
Martin Kettle, The Guardian

"In challenging the standard criteria used by policy-makers to think about climate change, and by offering an alternative set, Giddens shows how a real national and European debate can finally occupy the political foreground."
Times of Malta

"The prospect of disruptive climate change should be high on the international agenda: it raises issues of politics, economics and equity that are even more complex than the science. This balanced and comprehensive assessment by a distinguished author should be widely read by politicians and policymakers."
Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge

"An incisive and highly original contribution."
Ulrich Beck, University of Munich

From the Back Cover

"A landmark study in the struggle to contain climate change, the greatest challenge of our era. I urge everyone to read it."
Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States of America

Climate change differs from any other problem that, as collective humanity, we face today. If it goes unchecked, the consequences are likely to be catastrophic for human life on earth. Yet for most people, and for many policy-makers too, it tends to be a "back of the mind" issue. We recognise its importance and even its urgency, but for the most part it is swamped by more immediate concerns. Politicians have woken up to the dangers, but at the moment their responses are mainly on the level of gesture rather than being, as they have to be, both concrete and radical.

Political action and intervention, on local, national and international levels, is going to have a decisive effect on whether or not we can limit global warming, as well as how we adapt to that already occurring. At the moment, however, Anthony Giddens argues controversially, we do not have a systematic politics of climate change. Politics as usual won't allow us to deal with the problems we face, while the recipes of the main challenger to orthodox politics, the green movement, are flawed at source. Giddens introduces a range of new concepts and proposals to fill in the gap, and examines in depth the connections between climate change and energy security.

This book is likely to become a classic in the field. It will be of appeal to everyone concerned about how we can cope with what amounts to a crisis for our civilisation.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Polity; 1 edition (May 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074564693X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745646930
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,360,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This review first appeared on Oxfam's 'From Poverty to Power' blog on [...]

This is definitely the right subject - enough of `if I ruled the world' policy solutions by environmental snake-oil salesmen, what are the politics of getting a breakthrough on climate change in time to stop the earth frying? Giddens' new book even gets in a dig at his fellow LSE peer Nicholas Stern, saying `"Extraordinarily, there is no mention of politics in Stern's discussion, no analysis of power. It is as if the `global deal' will be reached as soon as the nations of the world see reason." Although there is a lot of good stuff in here, sadly, Giddens fails to deliver on the title's promise - lots of policy wonkery and techno-whizzery, but the politics is actually rather thin. Very frustrating.

Here are some of the main arguments:
- he starts off with a sideswipe at the Greens, claiming that their origin as a reaction to industrialization and modernity and insistence on participatory approaches to everything `is now more of a problem rather than any help'. He is particularly critical of the `precautionary principle', aka `better safe than sorry', arguing that when it comes to climate change, its opposite `he who hesitates is lost' is more relevant - hare argues that we must be prepared to take at least some technological risks in battling climate change.
- Similarly, he is critical of the hairshirtists: `most prescriptions are about saving, cutting back, retreating. Many are important, but no approach based mainly upon deprivation is going to work. We must create a positive model of a low carbon future. There is no such model at the moment.
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Format: Paperback
This book offers to the climate change solution discussion the considerable informed experience of a renowned social scientist, political adviser and modern thinker. The short summary of this book is that national carbon taxes are the way to go, not carbon trading based on big international agreements like Kyoto. Climate action and agreement at the international level, like Kyoto, is unlikely to succeed or to produce significant results. Most fruitful is work at the national level, followed by the regional and bilateral level, where action can be based on self interest and targeted to specific needs and local conditions. New forms of collaboration may well be needed. International universal agreement, as the World Trade Organization has shown, is too hard to reach and too watered down to be meaningful. Going deeper, practical politics needs to be based on the key driving forces on the world scene: economics, energy and security. Projects that can combine two or more of these forces have greater potential, for example, the energy saving work in Germany and Sweden give both energy security and economic advantage. Finally, population control (reduction) and conflict resolution/stability can only be achieved in a convergent world, where poverty is eliminated and nations feel an equal responsibility. Until that time, the rich nations (and the rich segments of poorer nations?) must take the lead and solve their self-created problem. Corollary to this is that Kyoto CDM activities, in which rich nations get credit for carbon reduction projects that they finance in poor nations, are insignificant. What is needed is a complete restructuring of the existing developed nations' own economies to low carbon societies.

The author speaks from the practical experience of top political circles.
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Format: Hardcover
Giddens is not a scientist, and his book has to be read in that context. He seems to accept, hook, line and sinker, the hysterical conclusions of the IPCC reports of recent years. The alleged scientific "consensus" much pushed by warmists is spurious: science works with proven, tested and validated facts. The history of science is littered with examples of failed consensus theories, from Galileo and Copernicus (on heliocentric planets) to Wegener and continental drift, and much more worrying, eugenics. That theory was held by a consensus of biologists in the early part of the 20th century, and pushed the idea that the human species could be "improved" by eliminating its weaker members (the disabled, mentally ill and later, alleged "inferior" races). In the milder form of the consensus, such unfortunates were forcibly sterilized by the state, and was extensively practised in the USA and Sweden to name but two supposedly advanced countries. Those practices were only stopped quite recently, to the shame of the states involved in these barbarous methods. In Germany, the theory reached its epogee, with mass murder and The Holocaust. To be fair to the author, he does discuss various sceptical views on AGW (anthropogenic global warming, the theory that the earth is warming and that man has caused the problem through excessive CO2 emissions). But he lacks a scientific background and is clearly unaware of the fact of global cooling in the last decade. The last IPCC report was in fact full of errors, including spurious predictions of imminent melting of Himalayan glaciers, to mention just one such whopper. A recent aerial survey suggests that in fact, glaciers in parts of the range are actually expanding.Read more ›
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