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date: 24 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Two different general claims have been made about large-scale political transformations produced by responses to environmental change. One is the claim that we are witnessing the potential emergence of a “green state,” where states internalize an ecological function as a core state imperative. Another is that we are undergoing a transition to an “environmental state.” The former claim thus envisages a radical transformation and its theory of the state based on historical sociology, while the latter is more skeptical about the capacity of states to undergo radical transformation, being informed by neo-Marxist accounts of the state. This chapter uses responses to climate change—a key test case for claims about large-scale political transformation—to suggest that some substantial transformations in the state are occurring, but that the driving forces are indeed political–economic and thus existing accounts of the “green state” need to be reformulated in this light.

Keywords: political transformations, green state, historical sociology, neo-Marxist, climate change

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