David Shearman and Joseph Wayne Smith. The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy.
Subject: Climatic changes (Environmental aspects)
Author: Urooj, Amena
Pub Date: 09/22/2009
Publication: Name: Pakistan Development Review Publisher: Pakistan Institute of Development Economics Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Business, international; Social sciences Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 Reproduced with permission of the Publications Division, Pakistan Institute of Development Economies, Islamabad, Pakistan. ISSN: 0030-9729
Issue: Date: Autumn, 2009 Source Volume: 48 Source Issue: 3
Accession Number: 249960129
Full Text: David Shearman and Joseph Wayne Smith. The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy. Westport: Praeger Publishers. 2008. 208 pages. Hardbound. US$ 29.95.

The authors, Shearman and Smith, are of the view that democratic governments would find it difficult to solve the environmental issues, because the solution calls for the 'rule' of the experts rather than that of the populists. They lament that though scientists have been warning, for several decades, about the severity of environmental changes, but the society has failed to pay heed.. This failure, argue the authors, now threatens the very existence human civilisation on earth. The book points out that despite commitments of several nations to reduce the green house effect, the rate of exploitation of natural resources continued to exceed the replacement rate. The authors have linked global warming to a range of issues including food availability from land and sea, fresh water, employment, health, security and human rights. In sum, they relate global warming to the society's well being--current as well future. The authors believe that the association of the liberal democracies with global capitalism has contributed to environmental damage--courtesy the movement of goods and services that the multinationals facilitate. They contend that the inability of the democracies to take tough decisions constrains the efforts to control environmental degradation. They go on to argue that the contradictions that democracy bestows upon the government and its institutions, markets, laws, and the corporations, makes it difficult to tackle environmental concerns. Finally, the book suggests that to take on green house effects on a war-footing, some authoritarian action would be inevitable. The authors also offer some rather radical solutions, like bringing the financial sector under government control and putting limits on growth.
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