1st Edition

Economics and Climate Emergency

Edited By Barry Gills, Jamie Morgan Copyright 2023

    This book explores a series of connected themes focused on the role economics and other influential forms of theory and thinking have played in creating the current predicament and the scope for alternatives and how they might be framed.

    Thirty years have passed since the inception of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the beginning of policy on climate change. Thirty wasted years. To most politicians, long-term collective interest has been denominated in meaningless units of time, a never and forever that has continually delayed action. From complacency has come potential disaster, and we are now living in a time of climate emergency and ecological breakdown. The next decade is a pivotal period requiring fundamental change. But numerous impediments remain. Continual material, energy and economic growth on a planetary scale are manifestly impossible, and yet economic theory takes these as a given and political leadership and policy seem unwilling to accept brute reality. Instead, they offer a series of implausible commitments and pledges rooted in technofixes, without addressing the fundamental drivers of the problems the world faces.

    The edited volume explores the issues and offers a variety of ways to think through the problems at hand, from postgrowth, degrowth and social ecological economics to policy assemblage and transversalism.

    The chapters in this book were originally published in the journal Globalizations.

    Introduction: economics and climate emergency 

    Barry Gills and Jamie Morgan 

    1. ‘The economy’ as if people mattered: revisiting critiques of economic growth in a time of crisis 

    Clive L. Spash 

    2. What does degrowth mean? A few points of clarification 

    Jason Hickel 

    3. What does Degrowth mean? Some comments on Jason Hickel’s ‘A few points of clarification’ 

    Ted Trainer 

    4. Economics and the climate catastrophe 

    James K. Galbraith 

    5. Apologists for growth: passive revolutionaries in a passive revolution 

    Clive L. Spash 

    6. The appallingly bad neoclassical economics of climate change 

    Steve Keen 

    7. The failure of Integrated Assessment Models as a response to ‘climate emergency’ and ecological breakdown: the Emperor has no clothes 

    Salvi Asefi-Najafabady, Laura Villegas-Ortiz and Jamie Morgan 

    8. Teaching climate complacency: mainstream economics textbooks and the need for transformation in economics education 

    Barry Gills and Jamie Morgan 

    9. Unthinking knowledge production: from post-Covid to post-carbon futures 

    Jana Bacevic 

    10. In search of a political economy of the postgrowth era 

    Max Koch and Hubert Buch-Hansen 

    11. Rule of nature or rule of capital? Physiocracy, ecological economics, and ideology 

    Gareth Dale 

    12. Economics, the climate change policy-assemblage and the new materialisms: towards a comprehensive policy 

    Nick J. Fox and Pam Alldred 

    13. From climate change to economic change? Reflections on ‘feedback’ 

    James Goodman and James Anderson 

    14. The regenerative turn: on the re-emergence of reciprocity embedded in living ecologies 

    Jonas Egmose, Stefan Gaarsmand Jacobsen, Henrik Hauggaard-Nielsen and Lars Hulgård 

    15. The global climate of land politics 

    Jennifer C. Franco and Saturnino M. Borras, Jr 

    16. From the Paris Agreement to the Anthropocene and Planetary Boundaries Framework: an interview with Will Steffen 

    Will Steffen and Jamie Morgan 

    17. Postscript, an end to the war on nature: COP in or COP out? 

    Barry Gills and Jamie Morgan 

    18. Global Climate Emergency: after COP24, climate science, urgency, and the threat to humanity 

    Barry Gills and Jamie Morgan 

    19. Fiddling while the planet burns? COP25 in perspective 

    Peter Newell and Olivia Taylor 

    20. Democratizing global climate governance? The case of indigenous representation in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 

    Pedram Rashidi and Kristen Lyons 

    21. Climate and food inequality: the South African Food Sovereignty Campaign response 

    Vishwas Satgar and Jane Cherry 

    22. The global south, degrowth and The Simpler Way movement: the need for structural solutions at the global level 

    Sarah Mackay 

    23. Climate justice and sustained transnational mobilization 

    Paul Almeida 

    24. Deep Restoration: from The Great Implosion to The Great Awakening 

    Barry Gills 


    Barry Gills is Editor in Chief of Globalizations and Professor of Global Development Studies at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He has written widely on World System theory, neoliberalism, globalization, global crises, democracy, resistance and transformative praxis.

    Jamie Morgan is Professor of Economic Sociology at Leeds Beckett University, UK. He is the co-editor of the Real-World Economics Review with Edward Fullbrook. He has published widely in the fields of economics, political economy, philosophy, sociology and international politics.