Category Archives: politics

Incorporating Citizens: Corporate Political Engagement with Climate Change

Orson Welles Citizen Kane (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Orson Welles Citizen Kane (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Business corporations are key players in the on-going political debate surrounding climate change. In producing the goods and services of the global consumer economy, corporations are major producers of greenhouse gas emissions. However, corporations can also play a leading role in the mitigation of those emissions through increased efficiencies and the development of new technologies. As a result, the business response to climate change can often appear conflictual. ‘Corporate greening’ and innovation contrast with examples of business obfuscation and the organised funding of climate change denial (e.g. as this recent documentary outlines).

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Climate Change as Culture War

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mugfaker/5847464425/in/photostream/
Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mugfaker/5847464425/in/photostream/

The social and political debate over climate change continues unabated, despite an ever worsening procession of extreme weather events and increasingly dire scientific climate projections (on track for a 4 degree warmer world).

While there is a significant over-estimation of the extent of climate change denial within society, those who reject the phenomenon of anthropogenic climate change appear to have become even more strident, despite the overwhelming weight of climate science.

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Global Business Responses to Climate Change: Where to Now?

Image: Flickr Dave Clarke
Image: Flickr Dave Clarke

The following is a short piece published in The Conversation which I wrote with Andy Hoffman, Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan.

Despite the widespread scientific consensus regarding anthropogenic climate change, ideological rhetoric dominates the global political discourse. This is preventing the development of clear policy frameworks that companies need for long-term investments. In spite of this, there are signs of progress at the international, national and corporate levels.

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Pricing Carbon in Australia: The On-going Political Drama

'Carbon tax' protest 2011 (Image: mugfaker)
‘Carbon tax’ protest 2011 (Image: mugfaker)

With the announcement that our next federal election will be on Saturday September 14 2013, there has been renewed commentary on the likelihood of a possible future federal Coalition government repealing the Clean Energy legislation.

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Climate Change Abolitionists

Tim DeChristopher thanks his supporters outside the courthouse where he was found guilty of two felonies for disrupting a Utah BLM oil and gas lease auction in 2009.  (Image: Ed Kosmicki)
Tim DeChristopher thanks his supporters outside the courthouse where he was found guilty of two felonies for disrupting a Utah BLM oil and gas lease auction in 2009. (Image: Ed Kosmicki)

In the last few weeks there have been a number of commentaries on the shifting nature of climate change activism. These include:

  • the Sierra Club’s announcement that it will for the first time in its history engage in civil disobedience in the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline;
  • an article in The Pheonix by Wen Stephenson profiling climate activist Tim DeChristopher and drawing parallels with the nineteenth century abolitionist movement against slavery; and
  • a recent piece by Andrew Winston in The Guardian pointing to the same theme of a new abolitionist movement around climate change action (you can nominate your favourite ‘climate change abolitionist’ here). 

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Leading US Business Scholar to Discuss the Social Implications of Climate Change

professor_andy_hoffman_thumb

This month the University of Sydney Business School and the United States Studies Centre will be hosting a visit by leading US business scholar, Professor Andrew Hoffman.

Andrew is the Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan. Within this role, he also serves as Director of the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise.

Professor Hoffman has written extensively about corporate responses to climate change; how the interconnected networks of NGOs and corporations influence change processes; and the underlying cultural values that are engaged when these barriers are overcome. His research uses a sociological perspective to understand the cultural and institutional aspects of environmental issues for organizations.

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