Pathologies of Climate Governance

“Paul Harris provides an excellent account of the major structural, political and psychosocial causes of the climate crisis and the failures of climate governance…. Very accessible, often provocative, sometimes depressing, but always engaging, this should be read by everyone interested in climate politics.”

Neil Carter, Professor of Politics, University of York

Earth’s climate is in crisis. The crisis is growing worse. Climate governance has failed to meet the challenge. Pathologies of Climate Governance: International Relations, National Politics and Human Nature (Cambridge University Press, 2021) diagnoses this failure, examining climate governance as if it were a sick patient. In so doing, it uncovers the fundamental pathologies causing the worsening climate crisis. It distills decades of global climate negotiations to reveal the features of international relations that make climate action so difficult. It explores the politics of climate change in Australia, Canada, China, Brazil, the European Union, India, Japan, Russia, small-island states, the United States and other countries to locate obstacles to climate governance. It exposes underlying psychosocial aspects of climate change, showing how human nature, overconsumption and global capitalism conspire to cause it and to stymie climate action. Pathologies of Climate Governance cuts through complex science, politics and policy, in the process identifying what every concerned reader needs to know and do about the climate crisis.

View the full table of contents here.

Read the first chapter here.

“Paul Harris provides a thought-provoking analysis of the instincts and behaviors that governance systems and societies will need to confront if they are to succeed in controlling the most serious impacts of climate change.  Its accessible writing style and clear lines of argumentation will make it a useful resource for academics, decision-makers and students of the politics of climate change.”

Ian Bailey, Professor of Environmental Politics, University of Plymouth

For more information, visit the Cambridge University Press website here, or read the ebook on Cambridge Core here (institutional subscription required).

“The book is a great overview of climate change governance….”

Richard Smardon, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

“With global carbon emissions and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations reaching record highs again and again, the urgency to deal with climate change is becoming higher than ever. Combating climate change requires global concerted effort. I believe [this book] will help readers appreciate the challenges in tackling the problem and the way to handle the climate crisis.”

C.M. Cheng, Director of the Hong Kong Observatory