Liberal democracies can't solve climate change

Carl Schmitt and the climate state of exception

It’s a truth that’s increasingly staring us in the face: Liberal democracies seem unable to take the necessary steps to prevent further, potentially catastrophic climate change. If we continue our consumption of fossil fuels along the current trajectory, the political conflicts and disruption that will emerge will call for emergency politics and the temporary suspension of constitutional rights. We need to stop pretending we can hold on to both constitutional, liberal democracy and prevent further ecological catastrophe – we need to think of alternatives now, argues Larry Alan Busk.


In the two decades since the enactment of the Patriot Act, the concept of the “state of exception” has become common parlance in the humanities and social sciences. We know it as the temporary suspension of constitutional rights and civic safeguards in the name of an emergency political situation. Under normal circumstances, the story goes, we live in a society

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