The price is wrong: why capitalism won't save the planet

Hosted by the Department of Sociology

STC.S219, St Clements Building, LSE, Houghton Street London WC2A 2AE


Professor Brett Christophers

Professor Brett Christophers

Professor of Human Geography (Uppsala)


Dr Rebecca Elliot

Dr Rebecca Elliot

Associate Professor of Sociology (LSE)

What if our understanding of capitalism and climate is back to front? What if the problem is not that transitioning to renewables is too expensive, but that saving the planet is not sufficiently profitable?

Today's consensus is that the key to curbing climate change is to produce green electricity and electrify everything possible. The main economic barrier in that project has seemingly been removed. But while prices of solar and wind power have tumbled, the golden era of renewables has yet to materialise. The problem is that investment is driven by profit, not price, and operating solar and wind farms remains a marginal business, dependent everywhere on the state's financial support. The global economy is moving too slowly toward sustainability because the return on green investment is too low. We cannot expect markets and the private sector to solve the climate crisis while the profits that are their lifeblood remain unappetising. But there is an alternative to providing surrogate green profits through subsidies: to take energy out of the private sector's hands.

Meet the speaker: 

Brett Christophers is professor of human geography at Uppsala University's Institute for Housing and Urban Research. He received a BA from the University of Oxford in 1993, an MA from the University of British Columbia in 1995, and a PhD from the University of Auckland in 2008.


Rebecca Elliott is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at LSE and Research Associate at the Centre for the Analysis of Risk Regulation. Rebecca’s work explores the intersection of climate change adaptation with questions of moral economy, the welfare state, environmental politics, and social theory. Her current project examines the economic and political governance of climate change, with a focus on insurance. She has previously conducted research on sustainable consumption.


If you are planning to attend this event and would like details on how to get here and what time to arrive, as well as on accessibility and special requirements, please refer to LSE Events FAQ. LSE aims to ensure that people have equal access to these public events, but please contact the events organiser as far as possible in advance if you have any access requirements so that arrangements, where possible, can be made. If the event is ticketed, please ensure you get in touch in advance of the ticket release date. Access Guides to all our venues can be viewed online.


Photographs are regularly taken at LSE events both by LSE staff and members of the media. Photographs from events taken by LSE staff are often used on LSE's social media accounts.

Social Media

WIFI Access

LSE has now introduced wireless for guests and visitors in association with 'The Cloud', also in use at many other locations across the UK. If you are on campus visiting for the day or attending a conference or event, you can connect your device to wireless. See more information and create an account at Join the Cloud.

Visitors from other participating institutions are encouraged to use eduroam. If you are having trouble connecting to eduroam, please contact your home institution for assistance.
The Cloud is only intended for guest and visitor access to wifi. Existing LSE staff and students are encouraged to use eduroam instead.

From time to time there are changes to event details so we strongly recommend that if you plan to attend this event you check back on this listing on the day of the event. Whilst we are hosting this listing, LSE Events does not take responsibility for the running and administration of this event.

While we take responsible measures to ensure that accurate information is given here (for instance by checking the room has been booked) this event is ultimately the responsibility of the organisation presenting the event.