Carbon colonialism

How rich countries export climate breakdown

By Laurie Parsons

Carbon colonialism
Hardcover -
  • Price: £18.99
  • ISBN: 9781526169181
  • Publish Date: May 2023
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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  • Price: £18.99
  • ISBN: 9781526169174
  • Publish Date: May 2023
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Buy Now £18.99

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    Book Information

    • Format: Hardcover
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-6918-1
    • Pages: 248
    • Price: £18.99
    • Published Date: May 2023


    Around the world, leading economies are announcing significant progress on climate change. World leaders are queuing up to proclaim their commitment to tackling the climate crisis, pointing to data that shows the progress they have made. Yet the atmosphere is still warming at a record rate, with devastating effects on poverty and precarity in the world's most vulnerable communities. Are we being deceived?

    Climate change is devastating the planet, and globalisation is hiding it. This book opens our eyes.

    Carbon colonialism explores the murky practices of outsourcing a country's environmental impact, where emissions and waste are exported from rich countries to poorer ones; a world in which corporations and countries are allowed to maintain a clean, green image while landfills in the world's poorest countries continue to expand, and droughts and floods intensify under the auspices of globalisation, deregulation and economic growth.

    Taking a wide-ranging, culturally engaged approach to the topic, the book shows how this is not only a technical problem, but a problem of cultural and political systems and structures - from nationalism to economic logic - deeply embedded in our society.


    Winner of the 2024 AAP PROSE Award for Economics
    Shortlisted for the Penn Libraries Book Prize in Sustainability

    'Carbon colonialism
    is a timely analysis of the contradictions of climate politics. It not only makes visible the concealed costs of extraction hidden beneath the shiny sustainability commitments of Global North politics, but also provides an eye-opening account of climate breakdown in the Global South.'
    Matthias Schmelzer, author of The Future Is Degrowth

    'By taking readers on a journey through landscapes poisoned by the effluvia of economic growth, Laurie Parsons exposes the ongoing impact of colonialism and global capitalism on some of the most vulnerable places on earth. Read this book if you want to understand how the impacts of history are still reverberating today.'
    Carry Somers, founder of Fashion Revolution

    'Thoroughly recommend reading this excellent book. A fascinating and well-written explanation of how global capitalism exports environmental destruction to poor places, while extracting wealth to rich ones.'
    Grace Blakeley, author of The Corona Crash

    Carbon colonialism is an uncomfortable book to read from the comforts of the rich world. It is unsettling because Laurie Parsons renders visible through curated cases and close argument the global signatures of environmental risk, exposure and reward, and the structural violence of climate change.'
    Jonathan Rigg, Professor of Human Geography, University of Bristol

    'An eye-opening, fact-based indictment of the current path we're on, one where rich countries and companies are accumulating the resources to mitigate the impacts of climate change rather than moving to stop environmental destruction.'
    Assaad Razzouk, author of Saving the Planet Without the Bull

    'Fantastic. Moving. And beautifully written.'
    Sven Beckert, author of Empire of Cotton

    'Carbon colonialism exposes the uneven geography of the climate crises through thoughtful field work, detailing how destructive global environmental change is teleconnected to impoverishment. Parsons traces the ways in which the most egregious effects of climate change are found at the bottom of global gradients of inequality while tackling head on the myths that surround the political economy of climate change.'
    Andrew Brooks, Reader in Uneven Development, King's College London and author of Clothing Poverty

    'Carbon colonialism is a welcome salve to the pernicious greenwashing that pollutes contemporary capitalism. Laurie Parsons skillfully weaves ethnographic encounters with detailed research to craft a book that is both timely and urgently necessary. Carbon Colonialism asks critical questions about the status-quo, where life is cheap, destruction is uneven, and profit is extracted from our planetary future.'
    Thom Davies, Associate Professor in Geography, University of Nottingham and co-editor of Toxic Truths

    Parsons takes everyday objects - bricks, a pair of socks, teabags - and draws out lessons from their global supply chains. And it was great to hear more from Cambodia, a country we don't hear from very much, and where Parsons has spent a lot of time. Altogether, Carbon colonialism is a stark reminder that for all its apparent environmental progress, consumer capitalism still relies on invisible "elsewheres" to keep the economic wheels turning.'
    Jeremy Williams, The Earthbound Report

    'This book explains how wealth is ruling and harming the environment. We are all accountable for our unsustainable overuse of natural resources and climate change. Therefore, this book must be read by every individual, not just those with a specific interest.'
    Ankita Sharma, Studies of Transition States and Societies, Vol. 15 Issue 1

    'The paramount merit of Carbon Colonialism resides in shedding light on our present environmental panorama and exposing the intricate interweaving of the capitalist production model with the generation and dissemination of environmental vulnerability worldwide. Acknowledging this underlying rationale within our global economy marks the primary pivotal stride towards steering actions and crafting genuinely effective regulations to mitigate the environmental impact of consumption.'
    Leonardo Macedo, Ethnic and Racial Studies

    'Its direct and colloquial language moves readers and lays bare the ongoing injustices, exploitation, and destruction unfolding in the global South. It has an activist agenda as much as an academic one, and we believe it should reach beyond an academic audience, and even be available in grocery stores, newsstands, and clothing retailers at the very least!'
    Seray Ergene and Erim Ergene, Organization

    'Parsons' major contribution through this book is to identify the political economy of climate change and the vulnerabilities which emerge from it. The book will be especially helpful for economists, political economists and geographers who research issues around climate change policy and accountability. However, anyone interested the current global environmental problem, climate change and sustainability issues will find this book captivating. The book lays bare the dismal state of the global climate crisis and argues convincingly that protecting the planet must go hand in hand with ensuring fairness, equity and social justice for all people.'
    Sneha Biswas, LSE Review of Books

    'Fabulous and much-needed'
    Melody Kemp, Society of Environmental Journalists

    'Whether you are deeply involved in environmental conservation or simply interested in preserving our planet, this book provides a thought-provoking exploration of the vulnerabilities emerging from the current climate crisis and global economy.'
    Mohd Amin Khan, The AAG Review of Books

    'Parsons's lively and accessible synthesis debunks the myth of a livable and just future under carbon colonialism...'
    Z. Albertson, Western Washington University, CHOICE (March 2024 Vol. 61 No. 7)


    1 Moving forwards, or dumping sideways? The myth of a sustainable future
    Part I: Greenwashing the global factory
    2 Founding the global factory: the first five hundred years
    3 Consumer power in the global factory: a lucrative illusion
    4 Carbon colonialism: hidden emissions in the global periphery
    Part II: Manufacturing disaster in the global factory
    5 Climate precarity: how global inequality shapes environmental vulnerability
    6 Money talks: who gets to speak for the environment and how
    7 Wolves in sheep's clothing: how corporate logic co-opts climate action
    8 Six myths that fuel carbon colonialism - and how to think differently


    Laurie Parsons is Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London and Principal Investigator of the projects The Disaster Trade: The Hidden Footprint of UK Imports and Investment Overseas and Hot Trends: How the Global Garment Industry Shapes Climate Vulnerability in Cambodia. His other books include Going Nowhere Fast: Inequality in the Age of Translocality and Climate Change in the Global Workplace.

    Carbon colonialism

    By Laurie Parsons

    Hardcover £18.99 / $29.95

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