Apocalyptic thinking in global climate politics

Dr. Delf Rothe

Natural disasters, famines, epidemics, and mass extinction: climate change is often depicted in apocalyptic terms. In his article “Governing the End Times? Planet Politics and the Secular Eschatology of the Anthropocene” Delf Rothe studies the political implications of such end time imaginaries in global climate politics. In the age of the Anthropocene, the international community increasingly faces irreversible threats – such as mass extinction or the melting of the poles. Rothe identifies three major discourses that develop competing answers to these major challenges of our times. Eco-catastrophism understands climate change as a looming global catastrophe and promotes a planetary emergency management under the umbrella of the United Nations to cope with it. Eco-modernists, on the contrary, understand climate change as a gradual long-term process that humans could steer through technological innovation and progress. Planetary realists, finally, hold that the climate catastrophe has already arrived. They call for a global realpolitik that propagates adaptation and the promotion of resilience of vulnerable communities across the globe. Rothe’s article was published open access in Millennium: Journal of International Studies.

Read more: