A Tale of Risk and Calculus on the Front Lines of the Disrupted Global Economy
"With his skill as a writer and long experience as an investigative reporter, Mark Schapiro brings alive some unexpected angles of the most important story of our time. I thought I knew the basics of carbon and climate change, but reading this lively and intriguing book made me aware of much I didn't know—both fascinating and disturbing."
—Adam Hochschild, Author of To End All Wars
How Carbon Is Changing the Cost of Everything
Journalist Mark Schapiro’s multi-year investigation into the economic disruption caused by climate change, delves deep into a new kind of chaos—one where carbon, the stand-in for all greenhouse gases, rules.
At the heart of that disruption, questions swirl around how to establish a price for carbon. To find answers, Schapiro deftly explores the key axis points of economic change, records the shifting economic and political powers, unveils new understandings of financial risk, and shows readers the costs of carbon in their everyday lives.
In the drought-ridden farmland of California, higher temperatures are driving up the price of the food we eat, the prices farmers pay for crop insurance, and the impact on taxpayers, who cover their losses. In the jungles of Brazil, foreign polluters are paying to keep “offset” trees standing at a fraction of the cost they are worth to nearby, struggling communities. In Guangzhou, the world’s greatest manufacturing center, Schapiro asks who should pay for the pollution—Chinese producers or Western consumers?
Schapiro also directs our attention skyward, where efforts to put a price tag on the carbon left by airplanes have created a quiet but powerful global trade war, and to the carbon-trading capital of Europe, where economists try to establish a price for a bizarre new commodity—a ton of carbon that will not be emitted.
These are the potent stories behind the headlines. For almost two decades, global climate talks have focused on how to make polluters pay for the carbon they emit and yet, as Carbon Shock reveals, it remains an unfolding financial mystery: What are the costs? Who will pay for them? Who do you pay? How do you pay? And what are the potential impacts?
The answers to these questions, and more, are crucial to understanding how the turmoil in the atmosphere is shifting the economic ground beneath our feet.