This book explores the significance of human behaviour to
understanding the causes and impacts of changing climates and to
assessing varied ways of responding to such changes. So far the
discipline that has represented and modelled such human behaviour
By contrast Climate Change and Society tries to place the
?social? at the heart of both the analysis of climates
and of the assessment of alternative futures. It demonstrates the
importance of social practices organised into systems. In the
fateful twentieth century various interlocking high carbon systems
were established. This sedimented high carbon social practices,
engendering huge population growth, increasing greenhouse gas
emissions and the potentially declining availability of oil that
made this world go round. Especially important in stabilising this
pattern was the ?carbon military-industrial complex?
around the world.
The book goes on to examine how in this new century it is systems
that have to change, to move from growing high carbon systems to
those that are low carbon. Many suggestions are made as to how to
innovate such low carbon systems. It is shown that such a
transition has to happen fast so as to create positive feedbacks of
each low carbon system upon each other. Various scenarios are
elaborated of differing futures for the middle of this century,
futures that all contain significant costs for the scale, extent
and richness of social life.
Climate Change and Society thus attempts to replace
economics with sociology as the dominant discipline in climate
change analysis. Sociology has spent much time examining the nature
of modern societies, of modernity, but mostly failed to analyse the
carbon resource base of such societies. This book seeks to remedy
that failing. It should appeal to teachers and students in
sociology, economics, environmental studies, geography, planning,
politics and science studies, as well as to the public concerned
with the long term future of carbon and society.