A socioecological fix to capitalist crisis and climate change? The possibilities and limits of renewable energy
Many have argued that the burning of fossil fuels is an essential component of the socionatural metabolism of capitalism as we know it, and that the anthropogenic climate change it is causing may finally bring about capitalism’s end. In this paper, I explore the potential for, instead, a societal shift towards renewable energy sources as the dominant components of global energy supplies to provide a socioecological ‘fix’ to current forms of crisis. In so doing, I develop a notion of an integrated socioecological fix that combines the central elements of Harvey’s ‘spatial fix’ and of neoliberal environmental ‘fixes’ that maintain accumulation by enrolling new elements of nonhuman nature into circuits of capital. I argue, first, that the capital intensiveness and spatial extensiveness of any such transition could provide a global-scale, if temporary, socioecological fix to capitalist crisis tendencies; and, second, that the creation of global scale geographies of renewable energy production, distribution, and consumption would necessarily involve powerful new rounds of investment in, and claims on, rural areas. These impacts would likely fall disproportionately on rural areas, where land values are lowest and existing users often have less power and fewer formal land rights.
Environment and Planning A
McCarthy, James, "A socioecological fix to capitalist crisis and climate change? The possibilities and limits of renewable energy" (2015). Geography. 148.