Heat, Greed and Human Need


Heat, Greed and Human Need

Climate Change, Capitalism and Sustainable Wellbeing

9781785365102 Edward Elgar Publishing
Ian Gough, Visiting Professor, Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics, UK
Publication Date: 2017 ISBN: 978 1 78536 510 2 Extent: 264 pp
This book builds an essential bridge between climate change and social policy. Combining ethics and human need theory with political economy and climate science, it offers a long-term, interdisciplinary analysis of the prospects for sustainable development and social justice. Beyond ‘green growth’ (which assumes an unprecedented rise in the emissions efficiency of production) it envisages two further policy stages vital for rich countries: a progressive ‘recomposition’ of consumption, and a post-growth ceiling on demand. An essential resource for scholars and policymakers.

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This exceptional book considers how far catastrophic global warming can be averted in an economic system that is greedy for growth, without worsening deprivation and inequality. The satisfaction of human needs – as opposed to wants – is the only viable measure for negotiating trade-offs between climate change, capitalism and human wellbeing, now and in the future.

The author critically examines the political economy of capitalism and offers a long-term, interdisciplinary analysis of the prospects for keeping the rise in global temperatures below two degrees, while also improving equity and social justice. A three-stage transition is proposed with useful practical policies. First, ‘green growth’: cut carbon emissions from production across the world. Second, ‘recompose’ patterns of consumption in the rich world, cutting high-energy luxuries in favour of low-energy routes to meeting basic needs. Third, because the first two are perilously insufficient, move towards an economy that flourishes without growth.

Heat, Greed and Human Need is vital for researchers and students of the environment, public and social policy, economics, political theory and development studies. For those advocating political, social and environmental reform this book presents excellent practical eco-social policies to achieve both sustainable consumption and social justice.
Critical Acclaim
‘Ian Gough''s latest book is required reading for anyone who wants to understand the enormity of the task at hand.’
– Katherine Trebeck, openDemocracy

‘In his book, Gough offers an impressive synthesis of ideas drawn from wholly disparate areas of academic research and distills them into clear-cut suggestions on how to move forward in the climate crisis. Given the urgency of the climate challenge and its complexity, such approaches are laudable and welcome.’
– Swiss Political Science Association

‘Gough sets out to explain how the world could avoid (climate instability) by dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting human wellbeing and social justice at the same time. This is a tall order, requiring a tour around political economics, ecology and climate science, critiques of capitalism and neoliberalism, social policy and politics, along with a positive thicket of ethical and moral conundrums. But the book is clearly written, well argued, and worth the effort.’
– Robin Webster, Journal of Social Policy

‘Gough’s book is an important reference as it brings a new concept with which to understand the social impact of climate change, that of human wellbeing and political economy.’
– Elvine Kwamboka Mayaka, Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management

‘This book is useful for scholars, academicians, and policy-makers interested to study the tools to mitigate the effect of climate change. The book is also for those advocating political, social and environmental reform because it presents eco-social policies excellently to achieve both sustainable consumption and social justice.’
– AbeduIIah Anjum, The Pakistan Development Review

‘Ian Gough’s Heat, Greed and Human Need could not be more relevant or needed in this day and age. . . Although post-growth is still considered a highly radical demand, Gough is not afraid to postulate a transition pathway beyond the capitalistic system. With sustainable wellbeing as his guiding principle and an eco-social political economy perspective, Gough proposes a credible transformation process, especially for rich countries, which could actually lead to meeting the 1.5°C limit of global warming and a sustainable future for all.’
– Anna Braam, Intergenerational Justice Review

‘In this wonderful book, Ian Gough shows how we can deal with climate change sensibly, by developing eco-social policy that promotes human wellbeing. The result is a tour de force. Demonstrating sophisticated knowledge of several relevant fields, Gough combines important multidisciplinary insights with his previous groundbreaking research on human needs. The result is a coherent, usable framework that has considerable value in guiding
policy discussions. This impressive work is bound to become essential reading for anyone working on policy, climate change and sustainable human well-being.’
– Gillian Brock, International Dialogue

‘Demonstrating how Green Growth strategies of decarbonisation are necessary but insufficient, Gough mobilizes a wealth of expertise in human well- being and the political economy of welfare states to argue eco-social policies can achieve a second step reduction in consumption emissions and a politico-institutional bridge to the post-growth economies that are ultimately necessary in the rich North.’
– Ecological Economics

‘There are few scholarly books about climate change that take the issue of the distribution of its costs, and of the costs and benefits of its mitigation, as seriously as their absolute value. This is probably the best of those books that I have come across. Rigorously rooted in Gough’s earlier work on theories of human need, the book is relentless in its pursuit of equity in respect of climate change and responses to it. Not everyone will agree with all its conclusions – for example that “green capitalism merits the term ‘contradiction’” – but they are unfailingly thought-provoking, as all good scholarship should be. Highly recommended.’
– Paul Ekins, UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, UK

‘Gough applies his trademark scholarship on universal human needs to the urgent question of social policy for the transition to a de-carbonised world. Based on a clear-eyed analysis of a wide swathe of the social science literature, and an eco-social political economy perspective, his approach is both pragmatic and deeply rooted in ethics and social justice. Highly recommended and suitable for teaching at all levels.’
– Juliet B. Schor, Boston College, US

‘Ian Gough has done something no one else has yet achieved. He has brought together theoretical and empirical analysis in four different fields – economy, ecology, social policy and politics – to produce a coherent and convincing analysis of why climate change is occurring, its human and social consequences, and how it can be addressed. Gough attaches the rigour of social science to a deeply humanitarian ethical framework; he provides at once a profound understanding of how serious climate change is and a clear-eyed realism about the kind of political and economic programme which might be able to stop it. This is a very important book.’
– Michael Jacobs, University College London, UK

‘Ian Gough has hit the sweet spot. He has shown us how it is possible to reduce inequality, satisfy human needs in culturally diverse ways and reduce the risks of dangerous climate change. What’s more, his commanding and wide-ranging critical engagement with the theory and practice of managing the transition to a safer climate demonstrates that, far from being a diversion from this project, prioritising human needs and reinventing the welfare state are critical to its political success.’
– Robyn Eckersley, University of Melbourne, Australia

‘A profoundly original intervention in the ongoing debate about climate change. A particularly interesting feature of the book is the way in which the author brings his expertise on welfare to bear on climate policy. Sustainable wellbeing is his guiding principle.’
– Anthony Giddens, Member of the House of Lords and former Director of the LSE, UK

‘This is a well-researched, well-argued, well-written, timely and important book: and unlike some other contributions in this field, it is a realistic book. . . This is not just an academic book by an academic. It is a manual for policy-makers.’
– Citizen’s Income Newsletter

‘This is an impressive piece of work, rich and dense (in a good, difficult way), touching on an extraordinary range of issues and scholarship, and packed with detail and data. . . Notwithstanding the difficulties of plotting a detailed course, this book is ‘unashamedly premised’, not on the ‘darker visions’ of those imagining a world where we do not rise to the challenge, but ‘on an older assumption of optimism of human progress’. This is utterly necessary, and I hope this book inspires significant steps, if not global revolution.''
– The Political Quarterly
Contents: Introduction PART I CONCEPTS AND GLOBAL ISSUES 1. The Social Dimensions of Climate Change 2. Human needs and sustainable wellbeing 3. Climate capitalism: emissions, inequality, green growth 4. Sustainable wellbeing, necessary emissions and fair burdens PART II TOWARDS ECO-SOCIAL POLICY IN THE RICH WORLD 5. From welfare states to climate mitigation states? 6. Decarbonising the economy and its social consequences 7. Decarbonising consumption: Needs, necessities and eco-social policies 8. Post-growth, redistribution and wellbeing 9. Conclusion: A three-stage transition References Index

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