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The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy

by David Shearman and Joseph Wayne Smith, 2007, Praeger Publications

ISBN : 978-0313345043

Authors Personal Notes
Read the Foreword
Read the Preface & Chapter 1 (PDF, 236 KB)

Author's Personal Notes

This is a provocative book written by two avid democrats.

We say in Chapter 1:

"Let us be clear about one point from the very beginning of this text. The authors are not living fossil Marxists attempting to rehabilitate the Soviet regime. We agree that existing authoritarian societies, largely based upon Marxist doctrines, have had an appalling environmental record. We accept that there is no example of an existing authoritarian government that does not have a record of environmental abuse. We also accept that all existing authoritarian governments have a worse environmental record than all liberal democratic societies. Being "least worst" of a bad bunch is not a logically good argument for the acceptability of the "least worst" option".

To some degree then this book by authors who are committed to democracy is intended as a shock tactic. Our diagnostic analysis of the performance of the liberal democracies to date suggests that they are unlikely to succeed in stemming climate change and other global environmental problems. Those concerned with national and global security have recognised the danger of famine and social disorder that may result. Democracy is often a casualty and opportunists often grasp power under these circumstances. Reduction of greenhouse emissions is now urgent and we suggest that some authoritarian actions may be necessary just as they are in war. We try to persuade the reader of their applicability! But then we say in the final chapter that if you want to avoid these scenarios you must come to terms with the inadequacies of democracy and accept reforms, some of which are put forward.

Publishers' Notes

You can read the publishers' notes at Greenwood.com.

Podcast Discussion

David Shearman discusses this book with Phillip Adams on Late Night Live, Radio National. Air date 21st Feb 2008. Click here to listen.

Purchase this book

This book is available from Greenwood.com and Amazon.com.

Other Books

A New Way of Thinking About Our Climate Crisis


Climate Change as a Crisis in World Civilisation: Why We Must Totally Transform How We Live


The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy


Climate Change Litigation


Green or Gone