The Politics of Climate Change, 2nd Edition

The Politics of Climate Change, 2nd Edition

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by Anthony Giddens

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"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

Since it first appeared, this book has achieved a classic status. Reprinted many times since its publication, it remains the only work that looks in detail at


"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

Since it first appeared, this book has achieved a classic status. Reprinted many times since its publication, it remains the only work that looks in detail at the political issues posed by global warming. This new edition has been thoroughly updated and provides a state-of-the-art discussion of the most formidable challenge humanity faces this century.

If climate change 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 recognize its importance and even its urgency, but for the most part it is swamped by more immediate concerns.

Political action and intervention on local, national and international levels are 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. However, at the moment, argues Giddens, 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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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

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Meet the Author

Anthony Giddens is the former director of the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is now a member of the House of Lords. His many books include The Third Way and Europe in the Global Age.

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The Politics of Climate Change 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
leopardiNJ More than 1 year ago
Humanity's response to global climate change will be a combination of mitigation and adaptation. How much each will weigh in the mix will be a function of political decision making. Science will establish the boundary conditions, but not the path in between. In The Politics of Climate Change, Anthony Giddens provides an in-depth analysis of global and national political currents with respect to climate change. As former Director of the London School of Economics, Giddens speaks with authority to the interface between global climate and the social sciences. Unlike some of the dreamier, naive forays by climate scientists into the political realm (such as those of the late Stephen Schneider and, currently, by James Hansen), Giddens is a realist with a concrete grasp of the science fundamentals- the object of his arguments is on schemes that work both technically and politically. But, in the final analysis, Giddens remains refreshingly positive about humanity's future prospects. Other than a few occasional lapses in prose style, there is little to find fault with in The Politics of Climate Change, except, perhaps, too little emphasis on the political implications of climate change adaptation and an under-appreciation for the potential impact of reactionary U.S. politics on the course of climate-change mitigation . Giddens properly concludes that the course of global climate change mitigation is not likely to be achieved by endlessly setting emission goals, although such goals need to be set as a background for actions. Real responses in the present economic/political climate will be the consequence of self-interested reduction in greenhouse gas emissions such as those resulting from energy-security schemes and the pressure of the insurance industry. And, in the final analysis the state will continue to have the ultimate responsibility for empowering meaningful response to climate change. This book is the antithesis of the many "You too can help avert global climate change disaster" books. Those have their place, but The Politics of Climate Change uniquely fills an essential need for an authoritative, unbiased analysis of the climate change political scene. Richard R. Pardi Environmental Science William Paterson University