Policy & Politics
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The politics of climate change

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This article is based on a transcript of a speech by Anthony Giddens that was presented as the twentieth Policy & Politics Annual Lecture on 17 March 2015 at the University of Bristol, UK. Hence it is not as polished as an orthodox article might be. The speech is available online at www.bris.ac.uk/sps/policypolitcs/annuallecture2015/. It drew in some part upon the successive editions of his book, The politics of climate change (2009; 2011). Giddens looks at the political issues posed by climate change and stresses the fundamental importance and urgency of the problem for global civilization. Four key propositions are presented. First, that climate change needs to be seen as an immediate issue requiring urgent attention, not as a remote problem down the line. Second, rather than formal targets to limit carbon emissions reached under the auspices of the UN, bilateral and regional accords are likely to be much more important. Third, the power of fossil fuel companies needs to be challenged on a global level. Finally, digitally enhanced global activism can have a powerful impact on the climate change debate and the pressure for change.

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