A Political Theology of Climate Change
Why the UN is failing the climate challenge, and what we can do about it…
Please join us for the public launch of Professor Michael Northcott’s latest book A Political Theology of Climate Change. The lecture will be held at University of Edinburgh, Appleton Tower, Lecture Theatre 3 on Tuesday, 1 April 2014 from 17:10 to 18:30.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the only international treaty relating to reducing greenhouse gas emissions but it is not working. This is because national greenhouse gas emissions is the wrong target. Emissions are not the driving force of climate change but fossil fuel extraction. Once fossil fuels are extracted from sovereign territories they will be marketed and burned. But sovereign nations will not give up rights to license fossil fuel extraction because for the last one hundred years they were the dominant source of national wealth. Hence the current UK government’s determination to extract shale gas, and methane from coal beds, despite dangers to the environment. In this lecture Michael Northcott argues that exemplary action by individuals, communities and nations – or what the Christian tradition calls political messianism – is capable of resolving the problem. Hence the efforts of climate activists and religious groups to make the social case for disinvesting in fossil fuel extraction. In a global market economy this is the only collective action solution to reducing the risk of dangerous climate change. National emissions targets, and carbon emissions trading, will not.
About our speaker: Michael Northcott is Professor of Ethics in the School of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh. He has been visiting professor in universities in North America, Australia, Malaysia and Indonesia. He has written 10 books and 70 academic papers in the areas of ecological, economic and social ethics. His latest book, A Political Theology of Climate Change, is published by SPCK in March 2014.
This lecture has been made possible by joint funding from the AARC / ESRC.