cover image Overheated: How Capitalism Broke the Planet—and How We Can Fight Back

Overheated: How Capitalism Broke the Planet—and How We Can Fight Back

Kate Aronoff. Bold Type, $30 (304p) ISBN 978-1-56858-947-3

Aronoff (co-editor, We Own the Future), a staff writer at the New Republic, delivers an urgent and persuasive study of the links between neoliberal economics and climate change. According to Aronoff, every presidential administration since Ronald Reagan’s has prioritized market-based solutions to environmental issues, and has sought the fossil fuel industry’s input on its own regulation. The result, Aronoff argues, has been little to no progress on an existential threat to humankind. She critiques the notion that carbon taxes alone can curb greenhouse gas emissions to the degree necessary, and details how Waxman-Markey, a 2009 bill that would have established a cap-and-trade program in the U.S., was undermined by poor messaging from the Obama administration and handouts to fossil fuel companies and Wall Street. Aronoff also sketches the history of the New Deal to argue that the Green New Deal can restore the economy after the Covid-19 pandemic and help Democrats build an electoral coalition to “bat off challenges from the right,” and examines grassroots campaigns to “reassert democratic control” over publicly owned energy utilities. Though Aronoff covers familiar ground, she does so from a fresh angle, and offers brisk yet detailed analysis of why the U.S. approach to climate change has fallen short. Policy makers and environmental activists will find much food for thought. Agent: Ian Bonaparte, Janklow & Nesbit. (Apr.)