Finance and Climate Change

Authored by: Patrick Bigger , Wim Carton

The Routledge Handbook of Financial Geography

Print publication date:  December  2020
Online publication date:  December  2020

Print ISBN: 9780815369738
eBook ISBN: 9781351119061
Adobe ISBN:


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An examination of the links between the financial economy and a rapidly warming atmosphere is more pressing than ever. In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report vividly demonstrating the short- and medium-term risks posed by climate change, warning that we need to achieve ‘rapid, far-reaching , and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society’ to avoid dangerous climate change (IPCC, 2018, emphasis added). The IPCC does not typically use language of this urgency, but it is not as though these outcomes were unpredictable, or, indeed, that no action has been taken on climate. In this chapter, we explore how finance and climate change are entangled in ‘climate changed capitalism’ (Bryant, 2019). We show how financial practices are inexorably bound up in a variety of carbon economies, from finance’s role in facilitating the production and consumption of fossil fuels, to the financial mechanisms that have been trialled to rein in emissions, to the ways that activists are pressuring investors to divest from carbon intensive industries.

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