Climate Change and Environmental Crisis


Essay Topic # 2 – Climate Change and Environmental Crisis



Write a 4-6 page, typed, double-spaced argumentative essay on the following question: Can we avoid ecological disaster (in particular, ecological disaster as a result of global warming) within the framework of a capitalist system?


Readings are grouped below under three headings. You are not required to read or use all of them, but use at least 3 or 4 to base your essay on. You can of course also bring in other material, but use at least some of the readings listed below.


This is a short paper. Do not think you can answer every important question or provide a thorough answer to the ecological crisis here.  What I’m looking for is how well you can construct an argument on an important topic in a few pages, taking into account some opposing views, and how well you understand the arguments in the readings you do discuss.




Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), ‘Some Impacts of Global Warming’ (2007), pp. 19-21; and Ian Angus, ‘Not a Distant Prospect’, pp. 21-23, both in The Global Fight for ClimateJustice (2009), edited by Ian Angus. See first attached item for these.


  1. Articles arguing that climate change and ecological crisis cannot be adequately addressed in a capitalist world:


David Schweickart: see the second attached item, pages 139-51, the section headed ‘Environmental Degradation’, from Schweickart’s book, After Capitalism, 2nd edition (2011).


John, Bellamy Foster, ‘The Great Capitalist Climacteric’:


John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark, ‘The Planetary Emergency’:


Chris Williams interviewed by Richard Wolff, ‘The Ecological Crisis of Capitalism’:


Ian Angus, ‘When did the Anthropocene Begin…And Why Does it Matter?’:


  1. Articles arguing that climate change and ecological crises may be addressed within a capitalist framework:


Christian Parenti, ‘A Radical Approach to the Climate Crisis’ (Note, this article is not opposed to replacing capitalism with socialism, though it argues that we can do a lot to fight climate change and ecological crisis even under capitalism.):


Paul Krugman, ‘Republicans’ Climate Change Denial Denial’:


Paul Krugman, ‘Errors and Emissions: Could Fighting Global Warming Be Cheap and Free?’:


Paul Krugman, ‘Earth in the Balance Sheets: Economists go for the Green’:


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