Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: A Climate of Injustice: Global Inequality, North-South Politics, and Climate Policy

Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: A Climate of Injustice: Global Inequality, North-South Politics, and Climate Policy

Article excerpt

Review: A Climate of Injustice: Global Inequality, North-South Politics, and Climate Policy By J. Timmons Roberts and Bradley C. Parks Reviewed by Byron Anderson Northern Illinois University, USA J. Timmons Roberts and Bradley C. Parks. A Climate of Injustice: Global Inequality, North-South Politics, and Climate Policy. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2007. xi, 404 pp. ISBN: 978-0-262-68161-2 (paperback); US$26.00. Printed on recycled paper.

In studies conducted from 1990 to 1998, the World Bank established that 94 percent of the world's disaster deaths occurred in developing countries, and that when geographically plotted these deaths showed a major North-South divide. Roberts, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Mellon Environmental Studies Program at the College of William and Mary, and Parks, Development Policy Officer in the Department of Policy and International Relations at the Millennium Challenge Corporation, examine broad patterns in climate disasters over the last two decades focusing on hydrometerological disasters, including windstorms, drought, floods, and heat waves.

The authors attempt to synthesize theories, examining both political causes and social and historical determinants of vulnerability to climate disasters. Authority is enhanced throughout by referencing one or more of the twenty-eight indices used that present intervening variables in climate change, such as the Total Carbon Emissions by Nation, Gini Index of Income Inequality, and GDP per Capita. From these indices, disasters are modeled, using multivariate analysis and correlations, standardized regression coefficients, and other rubrics. Synthesizing theories and modeling disasters, while effective, may be suspect to some researchers and challenging to lay readers.

The book's premise is that "the issue of global climate change is fundamentally about injustice and inequality," causing poor countries to suffer "the effect of a problem to which they contributed virtually nothing" (p. …

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