The Price is Wrong

The Price is Wrong:Why Capitalism Won't Save the Planet

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Why the market will never solve the Climate Crisis

What if our understanding of capitalism and climate is back to front? What if the problem is not that transitioning to renewables is too expensive, but that saving the planet is not sufficiently profitable?

This is Brett Christophers' claim. The global economy is moving too slowly toward sustainability because the return on green investment is too low.

Today's consensus is that the key to curbing climate change is to produce green electricity and electrify everything possible. The main economic barrier in that project has seemingly been removed. But while prices of solar and wind power have tumbled, the golden era of renewables has yet to materialize.

The problem is that investment is driven by profit, not price, and operating solar and wind farms remains a marginal business, dependent everywhere on the state's financial support.

We cannot expect markets and the private sector to solve the climate crisis while the profits that are their lifeblood remain unappetizing. But there is an alternative to providing surrogate green profits through subsidies: to take energy out of the private sector's hands.

An essential intervention, The Price Is Wrong is as politically far-reaching as it is factually illuminating.

Reviews

  • [Christophers] turns his sceptical gaze on climate change, and the attempts of western governments to nudge consumers away from fossil fuels ... masterly

    Jonathan FordFinancial Times
  • The Price Is Wrong rejects the orthodox reasoning that a mix of technological innovation and market wizardry will be enough to save the Earth.

    Randeep RameshGuardian
  • Christophers’s provocative yet persuasive thesis posits that the low profitability of renewables is a feature not a bug of our energy systems ... The problem is not that grubby capitalists are growing fat off the free fruits of the land and sea but that there is not enough profit guaranteed in renewables to satisfy investors and, most significantly, bankers.

    Peter GeogheganTimes Literary Supplement