Crossroads in Alberta: Climate Capitalism or Ecological Democracy


  • Laurie Adkin University of Alberta



fossil capitalism, neoliberal globalization, Alberta, ecological democracy, climate change, climate capitalism, decarbonization


This paper situates the current political moment in Alberta, Canada, within a broader analysis of the global crisis of fossil capitalism. Alberta’s political economy and ecology are deeply riven by the conflict between its heavy dependence for revenue and employment on the exportation of fossil fuels, on the one hand, and the multiple harms, risks, and forms of opposition to this development model, on the other hand. With the election in May 2015 of a social democratic party, a rare window for change has opened, and much is at stake in the choices and strategies that the new government will adopt. Two potential paths –which parallel what is emerging globally--are becoming clearer:  rapid and deep decarbonisation underpinned by an equally deep democratization of citizenship and societal-decision making (ecological democracy), or a “climate capitalist” project to prolong the carbon extractive model.  

Author Biography

Laurie Adkin, University of Alberta

Associate Professor,

Comparative Politics and Environmental Studies


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