1st Edition

Climate Change and Capitalism in Australia An Eco-Socialist Vision for the Future

By Hans A. Baer Copyright 2022
    252 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    252 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Recognizing that climate politics has been an increasingly contentious and heated topic in Australia over the past two decades, this book examines Australian capitalism as a driver of climate change and the nexus between the corporations and Coalition and Australian Labor parties.

    As a highly developed country, Australia is punching above its weight in terms of contributing to greenhouse gas emissions despite rising temperatures, droughts, water shortages and raging bushfires, storm surges and flooding, and the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef. Drawing upon both archival and ethnographic research, Hans Baer examines Australian climate politics at the margins, namely the Greens, the labour union, the environmental NGOs, and the grass-roots climate movement. Adopting a climate justice perspective which calls for "system change, not climate change" as opposed to the conventional approach of seeking to mitigate emissions through market mechanisms and techno-fixes, particularly renewable energy sources, this book posits system-challenging transitional steps to shift Australia toward an eco-socialist vision in keeping with a burgeoning global socio-ecological revolution.

    Accessibly written and including an interview with renowned comedian and climate activist Rod Quantock OAM, this book is essential reading for academics, students and general readers with an interest in climate change and climate activism.



    Chapter 1 - The Impact of Climate Change in Australia

    Chapter 2 – Australian Capitalism as a Driver of Climate Change

    Chapter 3 – Climate Politics at the Top: The Corporations and the Two Major Parties

    Chapter 4 – Climate Politics at the Margins: The Greens, Labour Unions, Environmental NGOs, and the Grass-Roots Climate Movement

    Chapter 5 – Engaging with the Australian Climate Movement: An Autoethnography of a Climate Justice Activist

    Chapter 6 – Toward Eco-Socialism in Australia

    Chapter 7 – Australia and Eco-Socialism in Global Context


    Hans A. Baer is an anthropologist based at the University of Melbourne. He works extensively on a diversity of research topics, including Mormonism, African-American religion, socio-political life in East Germany, critical health anthropology, medical pluralism in the US, UK, and Australia, the critical anthropology of climate change, and eco-socialism.

    'System change not climate change has been an increasingly strong rallying call within climate action movements. But, what does it really mean? In this second edition, Hans Baer details the massive implications of climate change, ten years on — in the climate emergency that we are now all experiencing.'
    Anitra Nelson, Small is Necessary (2018), Exploring Degrowth: A Critical Guide (2020), Beyond Money a Postcapitalist Strategy (2022).

    'An engaging and persuasive vision of Australia transformed by eco-socialism. Opening chapters explain the impacts of climate change on Australia and the economics and politics behind Australia’s use of fossil fuels. The middle chapters show how mainstream politics has failed to deal with the crisis, as well as giving a detailed analysis of the environmentalist and leftist response. In a pause for reflection, Baer presents an auto-ethnography of activism on climate change, a great description of how these movements operate at the grass roots. Rod Quantock, a left comedian in Australia, is interviewed and explains the likelihood of collapse. This provides a platform to launch Baer’s more optimistic vision of eco-socialism. The detail of these suggestions is impressive and will be much appreciated by all those concerned about our environmental crisis. '

    Terry Leahy, The University of Newcastle, Australia