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Climate Change Politics: Communication and Public Engagement By Anabela Carvalho and ...

Chapter 1:  Reinventing the Political
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Climate Change Politics:

Chapter 1

Reinventing the Political

How Climate Change Can Breathe
New Life into Contemporary Democracies

Anabela Carvalho and
Tarla Rai Peterson

Teetering on the edge

Scientific research increasingly indicates that climate change presents enormous threats to life as humankind knows it (e.g., Kiehl, 2011; Shakhova et al., 2010; Vermeer & Rahmstorf, 2009) but despite the economic slump of the last few years, the levels of greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow. Existing policies seem insignificant in the face of what is required to avert the worst impacts of climate change, and national and international politics appear to be plagued by perpetual impasse. While humanity stands on the edge of disaster, the main problem is a political one.

Climate change politics may involve more stakeholders than any other issue: Governments play a key part but so do international organizations, corporations, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Moreover,