Responses to climate change are increasingly framed around the notion of a « low carbon economy ». But global capitalism to date has depended for its reproduction precisely on the growth in the production and consumption of fossil energy sources. Responses to this challenge aim therefore to “decarbonise” the global economy. But they do so in a particular context, with the heritage of neoliberalism, financialisation and growing global inequalities, which shape the politics of this pursuit of decarbonisation. This talk interrogates the tensions produced between these logics of capitalism and the pursuit of decarbonisation, and how to interpret the principal elements of policy responses that result.
Matthew Paterson‘s work focuses on the intersection of global political economy and global environmental politics. He has worked in particular, for over 20 years, on climate change politics and is currently working on the politics of carbon markets, transnational climate change governance. He has also written a prize-winning book entitled Automobile Politics: Ecology and Cultural Political Economy. His most recent book (co-authored with Peter Newell) is Climate Capitalism: Global Warming and the Transformation of the Global Economy (Cambridge, 2010) and he has recently been a lead author for 5th report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.