1st Edition

From ‘Carbon Democracy’ to ‘Climate Democracy’?

Edited By James Goodman, Tom Morton Copyright 2025
    182 Pages
    by Routledge

    What are the democratic requirements for effective climate action? how can ‘climate democracy’ be conceptualised?

    Liberal democracies emerged on the back of fossil fuels, creating what Tim Mitchell called ‘carbon democracy’ (2011). Three decades of climate policy have affirmed the controlling influence of fossil fuel interests. Runaway climate change now threatens the very foundations of social life. Today we face a very clear democratic question, of whether the fossil fuel sector has the right to determine the planet’s climate future. Achieving global energy transformation at the scope and scale needed requires a democratic transformation, to overcome the stranglehold. This book examines these requirements. It debates the political constituencies, agendas and institutions that are emerging from climate crisis, comparing evidence of emergent themes. New claims are emerging, for ‘green deals’, ‘climate justice’, ‘energy justice’, ‘energy democracy’ and ‘de-growth’, reflecting a new intensity of contestation as climate change impacts deepen.

    This book will be of great relevance to students, researchers and policymakers with an interest in comparative politics, democracy studies, climate change and environmental policies. The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Globalizations.

    Introduction - ‘Rage into action’: from carbon democracy to climate democracy?

    James Goodman and Tom Morton


    Part I: Representation


    1. Reluctant transformers or reconsidering opposition to climate change mitigation? German think tanks between environmentalism and neoliberalism

    Dieter Plehwe


    2. Energy transition and dialectics: tracing discursive resistance to coal through discourse coalition in India

    Rajshri Shukla and Pradip Swarnakar


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

    Pedram Rashidi and Kristen Lyons


    Part II: Participation


    4. Who wins and who loses from renewable energy transition? Large-scale solar, land, and livelihood in Karnataka, India

    Devleena Ghosh, Gareth Bryant and Priya Pillai


    5. Legitimizing energy transitions through community participation: Germany and Australia at a crossroad

    Franziska Mey, Anne Kallies, John Wiseman and Mitchel Watson


    6. Comparing local energy conflicts in NSW Australia: moving to climate generosity

    Jonathan Paul Marshall


    Part III: Mobilisation


    7. Climate camps and environmental movements. Impacting the coal industry and practicing ‘system change’

    Katja Müller


    8. Climate movements in Germany, India, and Australia: dynamics of transition, transformation, and emergency

    James Goodman and Tom Morton


    9. Climate, violence, resource extraction and ecological debt: global implications of an assassination on South Africa's coal mining belt

    Patrick Bond


    James Goodman is Professor in Social and Political Sciences at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Sydney where he researches climate change and energy transitions. He is the co-author of the book Beyond the Coal Rush and Decarbonising Electricity with Tom Morton.


    Tom Morton is at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg in Germany. He researches climate communication and is an award-winning documentary producer. He has co-authored the book, Beyond the Coal Rush and Decarbonising Electricity with James Goodman.