Organizations and Global Warming

Publication Date: 
January 2010
Constance Lever-Tracy, ed., Routledge Handbook of Climate Change and Society. 2010, New York: Routledge. 59-77



This essay examines the two biggest environmental polluters, the oil and coal industries, and the possibilities of renewable energy that could replace them. I see the masters of these organisations, CEOs and top officials in the case of corporations, and state leaders in the case of command economies such as China or Saudi Arabia, as responding to nearterm demands and interests at the expense of long-term ones, thus endangering the planet. In the case of democratic nations, the firms seek to manipulate public opinion to ignore warnings about their emissions, and government representatives and officials to forestall changes that would threaten their interests. Meanwhile, because of their success in the areas of public opinion and legislation, there is insufficient funding for promising energy alternatives that are carbon-free.