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Heat, Greed and Human Need: Climate Change, Capitalism and Sustainable Wellbeing
Ian Gough, Visiting Professor, Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics, UK
November 2017
Publisher: Edward Elgar Publishing
ISBN-13: 978 1 78536 510 2 (Hardback)
ISBN-13: 978 1 78536 512 6 (Paperback)
Go to book website

Watch Prof. Ian Gough present his new book which aims to build an essential bridge between climate change and social policy:

Download slides from the launch event here

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.

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.