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A critique of climate change mitigation policy

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Global institutions and national governments have failed to provide effective policy guidance or leadership on tackling climate change. The extraction and combustion of fossil fuels continues apace, resulting in continual rising of greenhouse gas emissions, which pose a threat to all life on earth. However, the global climate regime continues to underestimate the need for immediate, radical and powerful action. Dominant framings of the problem continue to emphasise behaviour change rather than system change, and fail to challenge the power of fossil-fuel capital. This failure makes it difficult to be optimistic about the future but there may be hope in a new kind of politics based on non-violent direct action and mass civil disobedience. This form of action is directed at delegitimising fossil fuels and stopping their extraction, and acting as a ‘radical flank’ in positively influencing political decision-making towards a democratically agreed just transition.
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Keywords: civil disobedience; climate change; climate policy; direct action; environmental justice; environmental policy; system change

Affiliations: University of Lincoln, UK

Appeared or available online: October 7, 2019

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