A Commentary on democracy, climate change and sustainability


Tim O’Riordan notes our reluctance to forego the benefits of a carbon-dependent world. We want sustainability but are not prepared to vote for it. The main problem is short-termism, exacerbated when things are financially tight.

Tim notes that the one piece of legislation, which sets binding targets, is arguably non-democratic, supported by an independent Committee on Climate Change. He is also somewhat pessimistic about whether democracy can change, believing the only workable democracy is local, both communitarian and technological. For example, not-for-profit sustainability charities could collect carbon charges and reinvest to create a different way of living, with less formal work and more sharing of energy and food.

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