National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)
1 Park Place, Suite 300
Annapolis, MD 21401
Rethinking Climate Change and Inequality: From Carbon Footprints to Class Power.
Seminar presented by Dr. Matt Huber, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.
Abstract: Carbon footprint methodology is the primary way in which individuals and institutions account for climate responsibility. Many have used such methodologies to show vast footprint inequalities between rich and poor consumers. Despite these progressive conclusions, I argue carbon footprint tools fundamentally obscure how power works in a global capitalist economy. Carbon footprint methods draws its basis from theories in economics and ecology that accord 'consumers' an oversized role in driving economic and ecological systems. I argue for a more standard view of 'class' that centers on who control the means of production (particularly those in the industrial sector). While carbon footprint methods give us the sense responsibility for climate change is fundamentally diffuse, the class view shows it's highly concentrated among those who actually profit from the system. I use some of my research into the nitrogen fertilizer industry to illustrate this argument.
About the speaker: Matt Huber is Associate Professor of Geography in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He is the author of Lifeblood: Oil, Freedom, and the Forces of Capital (2013, University of Minnesota Press). He is currently working on a book on the intersection of climate and class politics for Verso Books.
SESYNC seminars are open to all interested attendees. Join us in Annapolis!
The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, funded through an award to the University of Maryland from the National Science Foundation, is a research center dedicated to accelerating data-driven scientific discovery at the interface of human and ecological systems. Visit us online at www.sesync.org and follow us on Twitter @SESYNC.