1st Edition

Refusing Ecocide From Fossil Capitalism to a Liveable World

By William K. Carroll Copyright 2025
    208 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    208 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Refusing Ecocide: From Fossil Capitalism to a Liveable World provides a critical analysis of the central role of fossil capitalism in causing climate change and argues that only alternatives based upon democratic eco-socialism can prevent the deepening of the climate crisis.

    Employing three core concepts within historical materialism – capitalist accumulation, imperialism and hegemony – it locates the existential threat of our changing climate in the drive for increasing profit and growth, the domination of advanced capitalist states that strip resources and exploit cheap labour, and the consent to the capitalist way of life in the Global North. With attention to the ways in which, powered by fossil fuels, capital has subjected the world to its predatory logic, this book charts this history and surveys the damage from the Industrial Revolution to today’s deep civilizational crisis, arguing that the market-based and purely technological solutions of ‘climate capitalism’ are too little, too late.

    A call for a multifaceted and multi-scalar shift away from capitalist accumulation, imperialism and class hegemony and instead towards democratic eco-socialism, it will appeal to scholars across the social sciences with interests in political and social theory, the environment and sustainability.



    Part I: Fossil Capitalism and Climate Crisis 


    1. Fossil Capitalism and the Trifecta of Power 

    A trifecta of power: accumulation, imperialism and hegemony

    From the Treadmill of Production to the Metabolic Rift

    Fossil Capitalism and fossil capital

    Imperialism and Fossil Capitalism

    Hegemony: organizing consent to Fossil Capitalism

    The rise of carbon democracy



    2. Fordism, Consumer Capitalism and the Great Acceleration

    The hegemony of endless growth and Cold War liberalism

    Fordism and the allure of consumer capitalism

    Lifeblood: Fossil Capitalism becomes common sense in the global North

    The imperial mode of living

    The crisis of post-war Fordism


    3. Climate Crisis and the Quickening of Fossil Capitalism’s Death Drive

    Neoliberalism and the climate emergency: bad timing

    Political-economic changes

    Ideological shifts

    Global Slump and the neoliberal zombie

    Conclusion: from death-drive to a liveable world?


    Part II: Toward a Liveable World 


    4. The False Solutions of Climate Capitalism

    The illuminating case of a climate laggard/leader

    From first-stage to second-stage climate denialism

    Climate Capitalism, Green Capitalism, Clean Growth…

    Ecological modernization

    Market-based solutions?

    Climate Capitalism and eco-imperialism

    Plan B: geoengineering, and enhanced eco-imperialism

    Why false solutions are false: Climate Capitalism as passive revolution



    5. Alternatives to Fossil Capitalism?

    Challenges and barriers

    Green New Deal and Just Transition


    Buen Vivir



    6. Toward Eco-socialism

    Transforming forces and relations of production

    Democratic planning

    Forming an eco-socialist historical bloc

    Social forces for an eco-socialist transformation

    Non-reformist reforms and war of position

    Creating a new political instrument for eco-socialist transformation


    William K. Carroll is Professor of Sociology at the University of Victoria, Canada. His research explores relationships between corporate power, fossil capitalism and the climate crisis, the political economy and ecology of corporate capitalism, social movements and social change, and critical social theory and method. He has also co-directed ‘Mapping the power of the carbon-extractive corporate resource sector’, an SSHRC-funded partnership of several universities and civil-society organizations which has examined corporate power and resistance within the global political economy with a focus on fossil capital based in western Canada. He is the author of Expose, Oppose, Propose: Alternative Policy Groups and the Struggle for Global Justice (2016) and The Making of a Transnational Capitalist Class: Corporate Power in the 21st Century (2010) and the co-author of Organizing the 1%: How Corporate Power Works (2018). He is also the editor of The Elgar Companion to Antonio Gramsci (2024) and Regime of Obstruction: How Corporate Power Blocks Energy Democracy (2021) and the co-editor of A World to Win: Contemporary Social Movements and Counter-Hegemony (2016).