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Articles by Tom Athanasiou

Tom Athanasiou is a long-time left green, a former software engineer, a technology critic and, most recently, a climate justice activist. He is the author of Divided Planet: The Ecology of Rich and Poor and the co-author of Dead Heat: Global Justice and Global Warming. In 2000, with Paul Baer, he founded EcoEquity, an activist think tank focused on the development and promotion of fair and potentially viable approaches to emergency climate stabilization. This work has taken shape as the Greenhouse Development Rights Framework. Tom is now the director of EcoEquity.

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Recall one version of the peaker story – peak oil as a repository of hope.  This is the take in which, despairing of other avenues to rapid, large-scale changes, we look to peak oil to at least save us from the more extreme forms of climate disaster. 

The idea is that, as we burn our way through the peak, fossil fuels will get more expensive and this will tip the competitive balance to low-carbon energy sources.  So that despite the obvious reality of the day – let’s just say “governance failure” for the moment, and leave it at that – in which it’s all but impossible to price carbon at anything like its true social cost, its price will nevertheless rise, maybe even fast enough to save our bacon.

Does anyone still believe this?  They won’t after reading the Carbon Bubble report, which was just released by the impeccably capitalist Carbon Tracker Initiative, which describes itself as “the first project of Investor Watch, a non-profit company established by its directors to align the capital markets with efforts to tackle climate change.”  This report, which is unfortunately based on ... Read more

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