Monday, March 20, 2023 | 12:00pm – 1:30pm | Social Science Matrix in SSB 820 | Featuring Dr. Patrick Bigger
In the midst of the cascading series of emergencies that commentators have termed the polycrisis, two of the most serious, pressing, and apparently intractable components are the impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities and sovereign fiscal crises. Perhaps no world region illustrates the complicated interactions of these crises as clearly as the Caribbean. Damaging colonial legacies and ongoing political economic relations of fiscal extraction are inextricably linked to existential threats of intensifying storms, sea level rise, and loss of marine biodiversity. This talk will present quantitative data on how fiscal resources are extracted from Caribbean countries through predatory debt service and tax rules, and how those fiscal flows compare to the projected costs of climate action. We survey existing financial flows designated for climate action and evaluate them against alternative visions of how climate finance could be allocated. Using this comparison, our project assesses “PACC 2030,” the primary US policy framework regarding Caribbean climate action. This largely retreads the failed climate finance approaches of the last 15 years, as opposed to building a more reparative, ‘worldmaking’ mode of climate action. We will conclude with some reflections on the next phase of this project, in particular, engaging with Caribbean civil society to articulate a worldmaking approach to reparative climate finance.
Patrick Bigger is the Research Director of the Climate and Community Project and a Research Policy Analyst at (SC)2. His current research and advocacy is focused on scaling up climate ambition through just transitions in US domestic and foreign policy. Prior to joining the Climate and Community Project he was a lecturer of Economic Geography at the Lancaster Environment Centre (UK), and a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow for the European Network on Political Ecology at Manchester University. His recent work includes leading two reports on the global political economy of sovereign debt and the environmental crisis: Debt Justice for Climate Reparations (2022, with Olufemi Taiwo) and Beyond the Gap: Placing Biodiversity Finance in Global Political Economy (2021, with Third World Network). His scholarly research has appeared in Science, Nature: Ecology & Evolution, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, and Progress in Human Geography among others.