Runciman on democratic politics and climate change

Flooding in Minot, N.D. (CC BY 2.0) DVIDSHUB / Flickr

Flooding in Minot, N.D. (CC BY 2.0) DVIDSHUB / Flickr

How to sustain democratic politics in the face of climate change? This is the central challenge raised by David Runciman, Professor of Politics at the University of Cambridge in this review essay of recent books on climate politics originally published by the London Review of Books.

Runciman guides us through the ongoing debate between two key protagonists, Nicholas Stern and Dieter Helm, who offer different visions of how we can achieve necessary carbon reductions. Runciman is emerging as an important commentator on climate change and democracy, a theme that appeared briefly towards the end of his excellent book The Confidence Trap.

He is particularly suspicious of those who argue that we need to bypass democratic politics in favour of a technocratic solution to the climate challenge. As such, we wholeheartedly agree with the concluding comment at the end of the review: “Our politics is the block in the way of taking action, but we can’t act in a sustainable way without it. The longer we delay, the harder it gets.”

The review can be accessed here. The odd title is explained in the text!

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