Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Climate Change Politics and the Future of Capitalism

Lecture by Jeffrey Broadbent (University of Minnesota)

The intensification of climate change and its accompanying geophysical and social disasters pose enormous future risks for the human species. Societies around the world have already exhibited significant differences in their recognition of these risks and in their efforts to cut emissions. The international research project on Comparing Climate Change Policy Networks, with cooperating research teams in 17 countries, studies the causes of this cross-national variation in degree of risk recognition and in consequent intentional policy-driven emission cuts.

This talk presents preliminary findings from the project that start to identify causal factors associated with different national emissions trajectories. Strong popular support for parties and governments that favor incentives such as carbon taxes to steer capitalist and consumer behavior toward sustainable energy appears key to the solution on the national level. But at the global level, the commitment of the United States to this type of regime, which remains unlikely, appears crucial for getting a wider range of countries, especially the big developing countries, to cooperate in an effective global effort. Change in US national climate change policies will depend upon increased public recognition of the anthropogenic nature of the problem, a longer term responsibility for outcomes, and a greater awareness of the necessity of global collective response.

Comment by:
Frank Fischer, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Politics and Global Affairs Rutgers University, NJ. USA

Jeffrey Praed Broadbent is Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota whose academic focus includes comparative sociology, culture and structure and environmental sociology.

This event is part of the WZB Lecture Series Great Crisis of Capitalism - A Second Great Transformation?