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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 15 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Negotiating Climate Change: Radical Democracy and the Illusion of Consensus (Paperback)
I know only a little about climate science but even less about political science. This book really challenged my thinking about how we address climate change from a political perspective: I found it genuinely interesting to consider the "solution" to lie away from consensus or purely technological interventions. It dismisses the idea of suppressing conflict around the climate agenda and indeed claims that we should welcome clashes of opinion. The author argues that without such disagreement climate change does not even appear as an issue for debate, and that for there to be a political decision there has to be disagreement. Well worth a read if you want to broaden your perspective about the role of democracy and politics in addressing climate change.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Challenging read, and good because of it, 5 Dec. 2013
This review is from: Negotiating Climate Change: Radical Democracy and the Illusion of Consensus (Paperback)
I read Dr Amanda Machin's book Negotiating Climate Change at the same time as 'Exploring Climate Change..' by Mike Hulme. Her thinking is in tune with much of Professor Hulme's thinking. She argues that politics must come to the fore in addressing climate change. She argues that the political differences between people are too great and too important to try to side-line.

She critiques a number of the approaches now taken or suggested to addressing the `wicked' problem of climate change.

The technological and market approach simply won't deliver the emissions reductions that are necessary she says. And in any case doing so reduces the decisions to one of economics which she says wrongly belittles the role of politics to one of bystander.

Likewise she is scathing about approaches which put individuals or even groups at the forefront to voluntarily solve climate change through practical means. She argues that these are by their nature exclusive to those with enough wealth to spare the time to participate.

She is warmer to, but still critical of, more deliberative democratic approaches that seek to bring those with conflicting viewpoints together for discussions in the search for an accommodation that all sides can accept. She says it is difficult to eradicate power differences between participants in these discussions - for example bringing together well paid articulate lawyers with poorly educated workers - and therefore the results are likely to be biased. She also argues that these are forums for rational discussion, whereas much of our views are not rationally based as is evidenced in economic decision-making.

Instead Machin calls for an end to the search for political consensus on climate change. Like Hulme, she believes it can never really exist. What is dangerous climate change is politically contested, as are the solutions. She calls for a `radical democratic approach' where political differences are not buried or hidden during political debates but outed and celebrated. She argues that through this honest politics decisions will be made that all sides can at least `go along with'.

Machin and Hulme's books are both challenging reads, and excellent because of it. They both demand that politics is put centre-stage in addressing climate change. This may be uncomfortable for those individuals or groups than shun politics or call for a different approach. But I think they are dead right - it's politics that most matters in the fight against climate change.

Mike Childs, Head of Science, Policy & Research, Friends of the Earth
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Negotiating Climate Change: Radical Democracy and the Illusion of Consensus
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