- 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: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #948,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Politics of Climate Change 1st Edition
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"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.
Top customer reviews
Over the first few chapters, Giddens looks at where we are now. He starts by giving an overview of the scientific evidence and discusses the counter-arguments of sceptics and radicals, concluding that the science strongly supports the position that climate change is happening, is caused by human activity and is likely to have catastrophic consequences if action is not taken quickly. He looks at the availability of oil, gas and coal and how their production and use have shaped and changed international relationships and policy since the Second World War. He goes on to discuss the rise of 'green' politics and whether they offer any real solutions to the problems facing us.
In the next few sections, Giddens lays out his stall for the approaches he thinks are required. He argues strongly for a lead to be taken by governments of nation states individually (rather than waiting for the outcome of lengthy international negotiations) to develop policies that will encourage reductions in emissions - particularly through the use of the tax system and the encouragement of technological innovation. He highlights that climate change questions have, to some degree, become seen to be a 'left-wing' concern and points out that it is essential to success that all-party support is given to measures if they are to be accepted by those who will be affected. He urges strongly the principle of 'polluter pays' and suggests this should be extended to look at the developed world's responsibility to ensure support for developing and undeveloped countries in combatting climate change and in adapting to its effects.
Finally, Giddens looks at how international co-operation has developed to date and how he sees it progressing. He suggests that, as well as the various groupings of countries that are coming into being to tackle the issues regionally, the UN still has a vital role to play in monitoring and holding states to internationally agreed targets.
The book is well written and aimed at a general audience. It is a succinct account of where we are now and provides food for thought on how we might progress. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in the on-going climate change debate (and, as this book makes clear, it affects us all). I found it a clear and accessible summary of the main arguments.
NB This book was provided for review by Amazon Vine UK.
Before turning to politics, the book provides an overview of the Climate Change situation, relating it closely to world energy sources and supplies. Giddens' view is that it would be a fundamental mistake to consider the politics of the two areas of interest separately. Energy supplies are integrally related to geopolitics. Peak oil, the point at which the flow of oil begins to decline, cannot be far off. If nations revert to burning coal, that will be seriously detrimental for the greenhouse gas, global warming and Climate Change situation. Worse yet if we seek to augment oil supplies from tar sands. Policy decisions on future energy supplies must be made in tandem with, must be part and parcel of, policy decisions relating to Climate Change.
Giddens is wary of terms incorporating the words 'green' or 'sustainable development', and is downright scornful of 'saving the planet'. There is the possibility that in the longer term the earth may experience a runaway greenhouse situation (as per Venus), where water vapor from the oceans is permanently lost to space; and according to James Hansen, of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a prominent Climate Change activist, that scenario will become a "dead certainty" if we burn the tar sands. Nevertheless, Giddens insists, the earth itself will survive; our need is to preserve, and if possible enhance, a decent way of life for human beings. He is keen to move and keep that objective within the sphere of mainstream politics, and not allow it to become or remain the preserve of readily ignored special interest groups.
Whilst promoting and further developing renewable forms of energy derived from sunlight, wind and water, and biomass energy that does not compete with food supplies, he sees no alternative in the short to medium term to reversing the present downward trend in energy derived from nuclear fission. And of course there is still much to be done in terms of reduction of consumption and wastage of energy.
Certain countries have been particularly tardy in addressing Climate Change problems; the United States being one of them, Russia a perhaps even more recalcitrant case, and China essentially non-cooperative until quite recently, but now showing signs of change. The politics of the issue are especially relevant both to why these and other countries have been slow in their responses, and to the global movement - particularly through the United Nations' annual Climate Summits - to galvanize all into concerted and effective action. As the outcome of Summit after Summit is initially hailed as a serious disappointment (the latest being Durban, December 2011), it is heartening to note Giddens' summary of a progression of real achievement (even in Copenhagen in 2009), often apparent only after some months of quiet diplomatic follow-up.
But, whilst progress is being made, for Giddens we are still doing too little, and in some respects already too late. He has coined this 'Paradox': "Since the dangers posed by global warming aren't tangible, immediate or visible in the course of day to day life, many will sit on their hands and do nothing of a concrete nature about them. Yet waiting until such dangers become visible and acute - in the shape of catastrophes - that are irrefutably the result of climate change before being stirred to serious action will be too late. For we know of no way of getting the greenhouse gases out again once they are there and most will be in the atmosphere for centuries."