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A reflection on “Giddens’s paradox”

Ron Johnston and Chris Deeming
Ron Johnston and Chris Deeming

by Ron Johnston and Chris Deeming

In his article The Politics of Climate Change as in the the two editions of his The Politics of Climate Change, Anthony Giddens identifies what he and others now refer to as ‘Giddens’s paradox’ – that although climate scientists are increasingly certain about the nature and intensity of anthropogenic climate change the general public is becoming less concerned that it is a crucial issue calling for immediate comprehensive, global action. He identifies four reasons for this: the well-funded campaigns against policy proposals to reduce carbon emissions, often involving disinformation, by those who would lose financially, notably companies involved in fossil fuels; the difficulties lay people have in appreciating climate science and the concepts of risk and uncertainty; the ‘free rider’ issue – why should Britain (or any country for that matter) which is only a small contributor to the global emissions total take a lead in tackling the issue; and the primacy that many countries, especially those in the developing world, place on economic development.

There is thus a global paralysis regarding climate change policy that needs to be broken. Giddens suggests that a new policy paradigm is now urgently needed, based Continue reading A reflection on “Giddens’s paradox”