Uncertain Futures

How to Unlock the Climate Impasse

Coming August 2023 with Cambridge University Press

Political scientists Alexander F. Gazmararian at Princeton and Dustin Tingley at Harvard have a pathbreaking new book on climate politics.

Why is the world not moving fast enough to solve the climate crisis? Politics stand in the way, but experts hope that green investments, compensation, and retraining could unlock the impasse. However, these measures often lack credibility. Not only do communities fear these policies could be reversed, but they have seen promises broken before.

Uncertain Futures proposes solutions to make more credible promises that build support for the energy transition. It examines the perspectives of workers, communities, and companies, arguing that the climate impasse is best understood by viewing the problem from the ground up.

Featuring voices on the front lines such as a commissioner in Carbon County deciding whether to welcome wind, executives at energy companies searching for solutions, mayors and unions in Minnesota battling for local jobs, and fairgoers in coal country navigating their uncertain future, this book contends that making economic transitions work means making promises credible.

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Alex administering surveys at county fairs in Southwest Pennsylvania. Source: Colleen R. Nelson

Mural inside Bit Source, a company in Pikeville, Kentucky, that taught coal miners how to code. Source: Payton May/Bit Source