Carbon Shock

Carbon Shock: A Tale of Risk and Calculus On The Front Lines of the Disrupted Global Economy by Mark Schapiro

Reviewed by Honor May Eldridge

Schapiro details the plethora of ways that our economy is dependent on carbon and the devastation that it’s having on our planet. This dependency and the resulting damage have been largely hidden from public view by traditional financial methods that allow externalities to remain unseen and therefore unaddressed.

The power of big corporations and the fear that governments have of them mean that, time after time, attempts to drive down emissions through taxes (or other measures) are thwarted or, at least, bogged down in international bureaucracy. While providing dramatic images for news media, disasters such as Exxon Valdez or Deepwater Horizon  only skim the surface of destruction caused by a carbon-based global economy. Even in massive-scale disasters such as those, governments demand little in terms of reparations from trans-nationals beyond a token gesture. In the case of the Prestige spill of 2002, the owner’s insurance paid only 1% of the clean-up costs.

Until governments are willing to disengage from energy conglomerates and hold them accountable, little can be done to halt the devastating damage of carbon emissions.