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Climate Change, Capitalism, and Corporations

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  • 5 b/w illus. 9 tables
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 (ISBN-13: 9781316409763)

Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing humanity, a definitive manifestation of the well-worn links between progress and devastation. This book explores the complex relationship that the corporate world has with climate change and examines the central role of corporations in shaping political and social responses to the climate crisis. The principal message of the book is that despite the need for dramatic economic and political change, corporate capitalism continues to rely on the maintenance of 'business as usual'. The authors explore the different processes through which corporations engage with climate change. Key discussion points include climate change as business risk, corporate climate politics, the role of justification and compromise, and managerial identity and emotional reactions to climate change. Written for researchers and graduate students, this book moves beyond descriptive and normative approaches to provide a sociologically and critically informed theory of corporate responses to climate change.

• Identifies and explains the different processes through which corporations respond to climate change; reveals the varied activities that corporations are undertaking in response to the climate crisis and also the central role that corporations play in shaping political and social responses to climate change • Structured around a thematic approach with key topics including the corporate framing of climate risk; corporate climate politics; environmental compromises; managerial identity and climate change; the emotionologies of climate change; and political myths supporting 'business as usual' • Identifies and explains the different roles that corporations play, as producers of greenhouse gas emissions, technological innovators, employers and corporate citizens; readers gain a complex understanding of corporate engagement with climate change in terms of strategy, practice and discourse

Contents

Foreword Clive Hamilton; Acknowledgements; 1. Climate change and corporate capitalism; 2. Creative self-destruction and the incorporation of critique; 3. Climate change and the corporate construction of risk; 4. Corporate political activity and climate coalitions; 5. Justification, compromise and corruption; 6. Climate change, managerial identity and narrating the self; 7. Emotions, corporate environmentalism and climate change; 8. Political myths and pathways forward; 9. Imagining alternatives; Appendix; References; Index.

Reviews

'This book makes clear that climate change is not a 'problem' for which there can be a 'solution'. It requires a re-examination of the core structures of our society, and in particular our economy. Using solid research and analysis, Christopher Wright and Daniel Nyberg untangle the complex and multiple ways that corporations are shaping humanity's response to the climate crisis, ways that are unfortunately inadequate to the challenge at hand. In this engaging text, we are challenged to envision alternative futures that will, indeed they must, challenge how we think, who we are, and how we relate to each other and to the natural world around us.' Andrew J. Hoffman, Holcim (US) Professor and Director of the Erb Institute for Sustainable Enterprise, University of Michigan

'It's possible that there's no greater example of corporate irresponsibility than climate change - I mean, these companies melted the Arctic, and then rushed to drill in the open water. Thank heaven the authors of this book are beginning the necessary work of calling them to account. If we can break their power then we have a fighting chance against global warming; if not, the ruined earth will be their legacy.' Bill McKibben, author of Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

'With the phenomenon of human-caused climate change, we have arrived at a point in history where technological progress is now threatening, rather than facilitating, societal welfare. How is it that we have arrived at this point? And what can we do to right the ship? Christopher Wright and Daniel Nyberg address these and other key questions in the very readable, crisp and well-researched book Climate Change, Capitalism, and Corporations: Processes of Creative Self-Destruction. I recommend this book highly to anyone who wants to learn more not only about how corporations have shaped our response to climate change but also re-imagining alternatives to our current path.' Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology, Pennsylvania State University and author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars

'In these crucial years to save the global climate, Christopher Wright and Daniel Nyberg have written an important book, boldly explaining the role of big business in global warming. By going inside the minds and boardrooms of big corporations, the authors give us extraordinary insight into not only how businesses think about climate change, but also the creative self-destruction they are unleashing. Scholarly, yet easy to read, this is an essential contribution to understanding the role of big business in climate change - and what we can do to challenge it.' David Ritter, Chief Executive Officer, Greenpeace Australia Pacific

'Christopher Wright and Daniel Nyberg shatter the myth of corporate social responsibility as a solution for our climate crisis. Their compelling and hard-hitting analysis exposes the raw destructive power of capitalism - of unsustainable growth, corporations, and consumption. A stable future is still possible. But not unless the world's elite sit bolt upright and listen hard to Wright and Nyberg.' Peter Dauvergne, University of British Columbia

Contributors

Clive Hamilton

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