This book addresses the global need to transition to a low-carbon society and economy by 2050. The authors interrogate the dominant frames used for understanding this challenge and the predominant policy approaches for achieving it. Highlighting the techno-optimism that informs our current understanding and policy options, Kirby and O'Mahony draw on the lessons of international development to situate the transition within a political economy framework. Assisted by thinking on future scenarios, they critically examine the range of pathways being implemented by both developed and developing countries, identifying the prevailing forms of climate capitalism led by technology. Based on evidence that this is inadequate to achieve a low-carbon and sustainable society, the authors identify an alternative approach. This advance emerges from community initiatives, discussions on postcapitalism and debates about wellbeing and degrowth. The re-positioning of society and environment at the core of development can be labelled "ecosocialism" - a concept which must be tempered against the conditions created by Trumpism and Brexit.
Peadar Kirby is Professor Emeritus of International Politics and Public Policy at the University of Limerick, Ireland. He has published widely on models of development, and on political economy. His latest book is Transitioning to a Post-Carbon Society: Degrowth, Austerity and Wellbeing, co-edited with Ernest Garcia and Mercedes Martinez-Iglesias (2017).
Tadhg O'Mahony is Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow in wellbeing and sustainability at the Finland Futures Research Centre at the University of Turku, Finland. He has published on a range of topics relating to climate change policy, sustainability, energy, wellbeing and future scenarios.
Section I: Climate change as problem
Chapter 1: Defining the problem: The complex dimensions of the grave new threats we face
Chapter 2: Framing the problem: How the climate change message is constructed
Chapter 3: Addressing the problem: Understanding low-carbon transition with the social sciences
Section II: Development pathways and the low-carbon future
Chapter 4: Development models: Lessons from international development
Chapter 5: Planning future pathways: Implications and outcomes of scenario studies
Section III: Pathways in developed and developing countries
Chapter 6: Development and sustainability in the wealthiest regions: Taking the high road?
Chapter 7: Development and sustainability in the global South: Different routes to transition and a sustainable society
Section IV: Pathways to a low-carbon future
Chapter 8: Climate capitalism: How far can it get us?
Chapter 9: Identifying an emerging paradigm: Towards ecosocialism?
Chapter 10: Options and prospects for a global low-carbon transition