Blog post

Earth Day: A Verso Reading List

Books that offer radical political solutions to the climate crisis. 

Verso Books20 April 2023

Illustration credit: Stephanie Monohan (IG: @shdwbxng)

Business-as-usual cannot continue! In the face of climate disaster and mass extinction, the only ‘solutions’ on offer – from our world leaders and corporations – are catastrophic geoengineering schemes, privatized conservation, and ‘net-zero targets’ that will do little to reverse the damage. These mainstream approaches assume that hyper-consumerism in the Global North can continue unabated.

Instead, Andreas Malm’s How To Blow Up A Pipeline asks the pertinent questions: When do we start physically attacking the things that devour our planet? When do we begin to destroy them with our own hands? Is there a good reason for having waited this long? Now adapted into a movie (get tickets here), and into a guide for the next generation of activists, these questions are being brought to a wider audience than ever.

These books propose radical climate solutions rooted in radical political change.

Enjoy 80% off ALL ebooks on our site until April 26th.

Plus download your free ebook, Half-Earth Socialism (details below).

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A plan to save the earth and bring the good life to all. The ebook is FREE until April 26th!

This book covers:

• Rewilding half the earth to absorb carbon emissions and restore biodiversity
• A rapid transition to renewable energy, paired with drastic cuts in consumption by the world’s wealthiest
• Global veganism to cut down on energy and land use
• Worldwide socialist planning to efficiently and equitably manage production
• The involvement of everyone—even you!

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Why resisting climate change means combatting the fossil fuel industry.

In this lyrical manifesto, noted climate scholar (and saboteur of SUV tires and coal mines) Andreas Malm makes an impassioned call for the climate movement to escalate its tactics in the face of ecological collapse. We need, he argues, to force fossil fuel extraction to stop—with our actions, with our bodies, and by defusing and destroying its tools. We need, in short, to start blowing up some oil pipelines.

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A post-capitalist manifesto for conservation.

Conservation needs a revolution. This is the only way it can contribute to the drastic transformations needed to come to a truly sustainable model of development. Building a razor-sharp critique of current conservation proposals and their contradictions, Büscher and Fletcher argue that the Anthropocene challenge demands something bigger, better and bolder. Something truly revolutionary. They propose convivial conservation as the way forward.

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A radical manifesto for how to deal with environmental breakdown.

Laurie Laybourn-Langton and Mathew Lawrence argue that it is not enough merely to spend our way out of the crisis; we must also rapidly reshape the economy to create a new way of life that can foster a healthy and flourishing environment for all.

Download our free companion ebook, Beyond the Ruins: The Fight Against Environmental Breakdown.

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Ending the Fossil Fuel Industry is the only credible path for climate policy.

Around the world, countries and companies are setting net-zero carbon emissions targets. But what will it mean if those targets are achieved? One possibility is that fossil fuel companies will continue to produce billions of tons of atmospheric CO2 while relying on a symbiotic industry to scrub the air clean. Focusing on emissions draws our attention away from the real problem:  the point of production.  

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What does the COVID 19 tell us about the climate breakdown, and what should we do about it?

In Corona, Climate, Chronic Emergency, leading environmental thinker, Andreas Malm demands that this war-footing state should be applied on a permanent basis to the ongoing climate front line. He offers proposals on how the climate movement should use this present emergency to make that case. There can be no excuse for inaction any longer.

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In the twenty-first century, all politics are climate politics.

A Planet to Win explores the political potential and concrete first steps of a Green New Deal. It calls for dismantling the fossil fuel industry, building beautiful landscapes of renewable energy, and guaranteeing climate-friendly work, no-carbon housing, and free public transit. And it shows how a Green New Deal in the United States can strengthen climate justice movements worldwide.

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Why the wind, and energy it produces, should not be private property.

The energy transition has begun. To succeed—to replace fossil fuels with wind and solar power—that process must be fair. David McDermott Hughes examines that anti-industrial, anti-corporate resistance, drawing on his time spent conducting field research in a Spanish village surrounded by wind turbines.

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Facing irreversible climate change, the planet is en route to apocalypse.

The Tragedy of the Worker is a brilliant, stringently argued pamphlet reflecting on capitalism’s death drive, the left’s complicated entanglements with fossil fuels, and the rising tide of fascism.

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What if the people seized the means of climate production?

Both critical and utopian, speculative and realistic, After Geoengineering presents a series of possible futures. Rejecting the idea that technological solutions are some kind of easy workaround, Holly Jean Buck outlines the kind of social transformation that will be necessary to repair our relationship to the earth if we are to continue living here.

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Climate change: watershed or endgame?

In this compelling new book, Noam Chomsky, the world’s leading public intellectual, and Robert Pollin, a renowned progressive economist, map out the catastrophic consequences of unchecked climate change—and present a realistic blueprint for change: the Green New Deal.

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How has capitalism devastated the planet—and what can we do about it?

Bringing the latest ecological research together with histories of colonialism, indigenous struggles, slave revolts, and other rebellions and uprisings, Patel and Moore demonstrate that throughout history crises have always prompted fresh strategies to make the world cheap and safe for capitalism.

NOT AVAILABLE IN NORTH AMERICA

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How capitalism first promoted fossil fuels with the rise of steam power.

The more we know about the catastrophic implications of climate change, the more fossil fuels we burn. How did we end up in this mess? In this masterful new history, Andreas Malm claims it all began in Britain with the rise of steam power.

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What does the rise of the far right mean for the battle against climate change?

In the first study of the far right’s role in the climate crisis, White Skin, Black Fuel presents an eye-opening sweep of a novel political constellation, revealing its deep historical roots.

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Why the struggle against climate change is a class struggle  

The climate crisis is not primarily a problem of ‘believing science’ or individual ‘carbon footprints’—it is a class problem rooted in who owns, controls and profits from material production. As such, it will take a class struggle to solve.

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We need to break free from the capitalist economy. Degrowth gives us the tools to bend its bars.

Economic growth isn’t working, and it cannot be made to work. Offering a counter-history of how economic growth emerged in the context of colonialism, fossil-fueled industrialization, and capitalist modernity, The Future Is Degrowth argues that the ideology of growth conceals the rising inequalities and ecological destructions associated with capitalism, and points to desirable alternatives to it.

Further reading on Earth Day:

Property does not stand above the Earth: Andreas Malm makes an impassioned call for the climate movement to escalate its tactics in the face of ecological collapse.

How To Blow Up A Pipeline, A Verso Roundtable: These articles expand the debate and introduce Malm's key ideas to new readers.

Five Book Plan from the filmmakers behind How To Blow Up A Pipeline: Director/co-writer Daniel Goldhaber, producers/co-writers Jordan Sjol and Ariela Barer, and editor Daniel Garber provide a five book plan for confronting the looming climate apocalypse.

Further resources / Verso reading lists:

Theorizing the Climate Crisis: a reading list around how different theories of the climate crisis shape our understanding of what must be done.

The Climate Crisis and COVID-19: an activist focused reading list looking at what we need to do to move beyond these interconnected crises. 

Environment and Ecology: Verso student reading (incorporating books looking at the climate crisis and political economy, the global green new deal, and more).

Half-Earth Socialism
‘Building a society that operates within ecological constraints requires an unleashing of our political imaginations, and this book helps us do just that’—Astra Taylor, author of The Age of Insecur...
How to Blow Up a Pipeline
The science on climate change has been clear for a very long time now. Yet despite decades of appeals, mass street protests, petition campaigns, and peaceful demonstrations, we are still facing a...
The Conservation Revolution
Conservation needs a revolution. This is the only way it can contribute to the drastic transformations needed to come to a truly sustainable model of development. The good news is that conservation...
Planet on Fire
As we rebuild our lives in the wake of Covid-19 and face the challenges of ecological disaster, how can the left win a world fit for life? Planet on Fire is an urgent manifesto for a fundamental ...
Ending Fossil Fuels
Around the world, countries and companies are setting net-zero carbon emissions targets. But “net-zero” is a term that conveniently obscures multiple futures. There could be a version of net-zero w...
Corona, Climate, Chronic Emergency
The economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been unprecedented. Governments have spoken of being at war and find themselves forced to seek new powers in order to maintain social ...
A Planet to Win
All politics are climate politics in the twenty-first century - and this bold book argues for a Green New Deal that confronts both climate change and inequalityThe age of climate gradualism is over...
Who Owns the Wind?
The energy transition has begun. To succeed – to replace fossil fuels with wind and solar power – that process must be fair. Otherwise, mounting popular protest against wind farms will prolong ca...
The Tragedy of the Worker
To understand the scale of what faces us and how it ramifies through every corner of our lives is to marvel at our inaction. Why aren’t we holding emergency meetings in every city, town and village...
After Geoengineering
Climate engineering is a dystopian project. But as the human species hurtles ever faster towards its own extinction, geoengineering as a temporary fix, to buy time for carbon removal, is a seductiv...
Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal
The environmental crisis under way is unique in human history. It is a true existential crisis. Those alive today will decide the fate of humanity. Meanwhile, the leaders of the most powerful stat...
A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things
Nature, money, work, care, food, energy, and lives: these are the seven things that have made our world and will shape its future. In making these things cheap, modern commerce has transformed, gov...
Paperback
Fossil Capital
The more we know about the catastrophic implications of climate change, the more fossil fuels we burn. How did we end up in this mess?In this masterful new history, Andreas Malm claims it all began...
White Skin, Black Fuel
In recent years, the far right has done everything in its power to accelerate the heating: an American president who believes it is a hoax has removed limits on fossil fuel production. The Brazilia...
Climate Change as Class War
The climate crisis is not primarily a problem of ‘believing science’ or individual ‘carbon footprints’ – it is a class problem rooted in who owns, controls and profits from material production. As ...
The Future is Degrowth
Economic growth isn’t working, and it cannot be made to work. Offering a counter-history of how economic growth emerged in the context of colonialism, fossil-fueled industrialization, and capitalis...

Filed under: climate-change, climate-crisis, climate-politics