Overshoot:How the World Surrendered to Climate Breakdown

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A scathing critique of proposals to geoengineer our way out of climate disaster, by the bestselling author of How to Blow Up a Pipeline

The world is on the cusp of one and a half degrees of warming – just the rise it has committed itself to avoiding. Heat at such levels would be intolerable. Even before one and a half, seasons of climate disaster have struck with ever more devastating force, and yet a notion has taken hold that the cause is now lost: the intolerable has become unavoidable. The limit will be overshot – perhaps two degrees as well – and the best we can do is cool down the Earth at some later point, towards the end of the century, by means of technologies not yet proven.

How did this happen? How could the idea of overshoot gain such traction? What forces are driving us into a climate that people – particularly poor people in the global South – won’t be able to cope with? In Overshoot: How the World Surrendered to Climate Breakdown, Andreas Malm and Wim Carton present a history of the present phase of the crisis, likely to extend decades into the future, as the fossil fuel industry swims in the largest profits ever made. Money continues to flow into the construction of pipelines, platforms, terminals, mines – assets that will have to be destroyed for the planet to remain liveable. Too much heat has become officially acceptable because such revolutionary destruction is not. But should the rest of us abide by that priority?

Unflinchingly critical of business-as-usual and the calls for surrender to it, sweeping in scope, stirring and sobering, Overshoot lays out the stakes for the climate struggle in the years ahead.


  • The world has surrendered to climate breakdown. But that failure does not require us to continue surrendering to the power of fossil capital. In this brilliant and urgent analysis, Malm and Carton show how the failure came about, explore moments when it might have been resisted, explode the myth of "overshoot" that sustains business-as-usual, and lay out the challenge that a revolutionary climate politics must take on.

    Timothy Mitchell, author of Carbon Democracy
  • Malm and Carton expose how the harsh reality of the financial and physical infrastructures of fossil fuels, in partnership with unrealistic models reliant on 'negative' emissions, continue to trap us on the highway to hellish warming.

    Professor of Societal Challenges of Climate Change at the University of Lausanne
  • A brilliant and impassioned book, which explains why greenhouse gas reduction targets are repeatedly missed–and why they will never be met until the demon of fossil capital is laid to rest.

    Nancy Fraser, author of Cannibal Capitalism