Academic Resources

Academic Papers on the Climate Crisis and Climate Activism

This page contains a selection of published academic articles and preprints that might be useful or of interest to environmental activists.  Suggestions for additions may be sent to:

Climate Science Articles

The contribution of global aviation to anthropogenic climate forcing for 2000 to 2018

Authors: D.S. Lee et al

Journal: Atmospheric Environment, Volume 244, 1 January 2021, 117834

Short Summary: Global aviation warms Earth’s surface through both CO2 and net non-CO2contributions, Non-CO2 impacts comprise about 2/3 of the net radiative forcing.

Learning from mistakes in climate research

Authors: Rasmus E. Benestad, Dana Nuccitelli, Stephan Lewandowsky, Katharine Hayhoe, Hans Olav Hygen, Rob van Dorland & John Cook

Journal: Theoretical and Applied Climatology volume 126, pages 699–703 (2016)

Short Summary: Establishes that 97% of published climate science papers identify human activity as the primary cause of global heating, and identifies flaws in papers that don’t.

Global warming in the pipeline

Authors: James Hansen et al.

Journal: preprint on ArXiv, also submitted for publication

Short Summary: Argues that Earth’s Climate Sensitivity is at least at least 4°C as opposed to the IPCC estimate of 3°C, and therefore there is much more warming in the pipeline due to present GHG concentrations than previously thought.

Young people’s burden: requirement of negative CO2 emissions

Authors: James Hansen et al.

Journal: Earth System Dynamics 8, 577–616, 2017

Short Summary: Gives a readable account of the state of the climate crisis and discusses solutions

Social Science & Humanities Articles

Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens

Authors: Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page

Journal: Perspectives on Politics 12, 564-581, 2014

Short Summary: Considers the question of which sets of actors have the most influence over public policy: average citizens; economic elites; and organized interest groups, mass-based or business-oriented. The conclusion is that average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.

The Kaleidoscope of Catastrophe – On the Clarities and Blind Spots of Andreas Malm

Author: Bue Rübner Hansen

Journal: Viewpoint Magazine, April 14, 2021

Short Summary: An extended essay on the works of Andreas Malm

The Role of Neoliberalism in Capitalism’s Destruction of Nature and Society

Author: Ken Boettcher

Journal: Preprint on

Short Summary: Outlines the disastrous political and ecological effects of the rapid globalization of US capitalist hegemony after WWII under the banner of neoliberalism.

East Asian Nationalism, Developmental States and the Climate Crisis: An Ecosocialist View

Author: Ken Boettcher

Journal: Preprint on

Short Summary: Shows that state planning even under bureaucratic despotism led to vast changes on the order of what is needed to recast human society and survive the climate crisis.

Behind the Inaction on Accelerating Climate Change: Denialist Collusion and Systemic Failure

Author: Ken Boettcher

Journal: Preprint on

Short Summary: Delivers a short history of industry and government lies and deceit about the climate crisis in service to capitalist private profit interests.

Capitalism, Bureaucratic State Despotism and the Global Ecological Crisis: Can Ecosocialism Offer Hope for a Sustainable Future?

Author: Ken Boettcher

Journal: Preprint on

Short Summary: Shows that capitalism and the bureaucratic, despotic (and so-called socialist) states shared the same destructive approach to nature and posits that only real ecosocialism offers a sustainable future in the age of the climate crisis

Class Struggle and the Ecosocialist Movement to End the Climate Crisis

Author: Ken Boettcher

Journal: Preprint on

Short Summary: Shows that the class struggle under capitalism and the bureaucratic despotic states produced the conditions that brought on the climate crisis, and that the class struggle must be ended in order to effectively and sustainably address the crisis.

Beyond ‘Prometheanism’: A Short History of Marxist Ecology

Author: Ken Boettcher

Journal: Preprint on

Short Summary: Outlines the history of ecological thinking by Marx and others that show the integral nature of socialist thought and ecological sustainability.

From personal responsibility to an eco-socialist state: Political economy, popular discourses and the climate crisis

Authors: Erin Flanagan and Dennis Raphael

Journal: Human Geography, Online 2022

Short Summary: Surveys public discourses of climate change, including proposals for a post-capitalist society. 

Challenges for Social-Change Organizing in Rural Areas

Author: Maura Stephens

Journal:  American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Inc., Vol. 75, No. 3, Fighting for Rural America: Overcoming the Contempt for Small Places (May 2016), pp. 721-761 (41 pages)

Short Summary: Argues that ramped-up activism is essential to protect the rights of rural residents, the natural environment, and the farmlands that feed the majority of the U.S. population — because rural dwellers are among those most affected by corporate criminality, chemical contamination, and fossil fuel exploitation, as well as the absence of relevant media coverage, marginalization by governments, and the loss of cherished places and ways of life.

Action needed to make carbon offsets from tropical forest conservation work for climate change mitigation

Authors: Thales A. P. West et al

Journal: preprint on ArXiv, also submitted for publication

Short Summary: Shows that most of the investigated carbon offsets projects have not reduced deforestation (see also: Revealed: more than 90% of rainforest carbon offsets by biggest certifier are worthless, analysis shows  The Guardian 18 Jan 2023)

Photo credit: Jose Mesa/Mataparda/flickr CC BY 2.0

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On Sept 19, 2023 ahead of the Climate Ambition Summit in New York City, climate activists gathered for a rally and civil disobedience outside Bank of America Tower in Midtown Manhattan as part of the March to End Fossil Fuels wave of actions resulting in multiple arrests. Activists demand Bank of America to “Defund Climate Chaos and Defend Human Rights” Photo: Erik McGregor (CC BY-NC 2.0 Deed)

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Let’s Save Each Other

Illustration by Stephanie McMillan. Used with permission