A Climate of Change: Ecological modernisation and the politics of carbon trading in Australia
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Climate change has been cast in many different roles - from a global swindle to a comprehensive market failure. It has even been suggested that this is the great moral challenge of our time. The school of ecological modernisation (EM) reconstructs the issue as a challenge that has been generated by inefficiency. It proposes better technological and institutional design as the core of an effective response. The focus of this paper is on mitigation strategies at the national level, with particular attention paid to carbon trading (also known as greenhouse gas emissions trading systems). The history that led to the Rudd Government's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and the resistance to this policy is discussed. This paper outlines five program themes of strong EM: technological innovation; engaging with economic imperatives; political and institutional change; transforming the role of social movements; and, discursive change. These themes are then used to analyse the development of climate policy in Australia. Overall it is argued that reconstructing the issue using strong EM is a strategy that can overcome the current resistance to carbon trading by selling the change as a win for both business and the environment. Further, it offers the opportunity to identify significant policy improvements.
Politics and International Relations
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