School of Social and Political Science

Dr Michael Albert

Job Title

Lecturer in Global Environmental Politics

M.Albert head shot

Room number


Building (Address)

19 George Square

Research interests

Research interests

My research explores the global politics of climate, energy, and food system transformations from a world-systems theory perspective. I am particularly interested in developing a critical, emancipatory approach to the study of global futures that is informed by International Relations (IR), critical political economy, and the natural sciences. While primarily based in the subfield of global environmental politics, my work is transdisciplinary - i.e. indifferent to disciplinary boundaries. My work has appeared in journals such as Global Environmental Politics, Review of International Political Economy, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Global Policy, Globalizations, and Theory & Event. 

My first book (due to be released by MIT Press in April 2024) is titled Navigating the Polycrisis: Mapping the Futures of Capitalism and the Earth. It brings complexity theory and world-systems theory together with insights from the earth system sciences, ecological economics, energy studies, and critical security studies to investigate the possible futures of the world-system - including both dystopian and concrete utopian futures. It argues that critical IR theorists and social scientists need to devote more systematic attention to possible futures in an age of intersecting and (often) mutually amplifying crises - encompassing crises of climate, capitalism, energy, food, geopolitics, and far-right populism. In doing so the book engages with ongoing debates on green capitalism, degrowth, renewable energy and technology futures, and police-prison abolition. 

I have also written articles about climate emergency discourse, the geopolitics of renewable energy, and the intersections between militarization and the energy transition. And I am currently writing new pieces on post-growth international relations, abolitionist perspectives on ecological security, the political economy of climate emotions, and the role of climate assemblies in democratically planning a just transition.

For my next book project I am interested in exploring the intersections between ecological crises and global mental health crises, which include global epidemics of depression, anxiety, and burnout. The spread of far-right populism, religious fundamentalism, and conspiracy thinking can also be viewed as symptomatic of these underlying mental health crises, which can also be called crises of "ontological insecurity" - involving the destabilization of existing forms of identity, meaning, and belonging. I want to illuminate the multidimensional drivers of these psychosocial crises, illustrate how they shape and constrain our capacities to emotionally process and respond to ecological crises (e.g. by promoting apathy, lack of care, or authoritarian responses), and investigate how we can develop collective responses that promote healing, alleviate polarization, and strengthen climate justice activism.

I love forests, rivers, mossy rocks and trees, cats, and Cuckoos Bakery. I also hope to encounter an otter sometime in Edinburgh.


I joined the University of Edinburgh in October 2022. Before that I was a Lecturer in International Relations at SOAS University of London. I completed my PhD in 2020 at Johns Hopkins University.

Staff Hours and Guidance

Thurs 1:00-2:00 and 4:15-5:15pm

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Albert M. Climate emergency and securitization politics: Towards a climate politics of the extraordinary. Globalizations. 2022 Sept 4;1-15. Epub 2022 Sept 4. doi: 10.1080/14747731.2022.2117501
Albert MJ. The global politics of the renewable energy transition and the non-substitutability hypothesis: Towards a ‘great transformation’? Review of International Political Economy. 2022 Sept 3;29(5):1766-1781. Epub 2021 Sept 17. doi: 10.1080/09692290.2021.1980418
Albert MJ. Ecosocialism for realists: Transitions, trade-offs, and authoritarian dangers. Capitalism Nature Socialism. 2022 Jul 28;1-20. Epub 2022 Jul 28. doi: 10.1080/10455752.2022.2106578
Albert M. COVID-19 and the planetary crisis multiplicity: From Marxist Crisis theory to Planetary Assemblage Theory. Theory and Event. 2022 Apr 30;25(2):332-363. doi: 10.1353/tae.2022.0015
Albert MJ. [Review of] Biopolitics of the More-Than-Human: Forensic Ecologies of Violence. Law, Culture and the Humanities. 2021 Dec 14;17(3):648-651. doi: 10.1177/1743872120970871c
Albert MJ. The climate crisis, renewable energy, and the changing landscape of global energy politics. Alternatives: Global, Local, Political. 2021 Aug;46(3):89-98. Epub 2021 Aug 25. doi: 10.1177/03043754211040698
Albert MJ. Beyond continuationism: Climate change, economic growth, and the future of world (dis)order. Cambridge Review of International Affairs. 2020 Oct 12;1-20. Epub 2020 Oct 12. doi: 10.1080/09557571.2020.1825334
Albert MJ. Capitalism and Earth System Governance: An ecological Marxist approach. Global Environmental Politics. 2020 May 1;20(2):37-56. doi: 10.1162/glep_a_00546
Albert MJ. The dangers of decoupling: Earth system crisis and the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’. Global Policy. 2020 Apr;11(2):245-254. Epub 2020 Apr 17. doi: 10.1111/1758-5899.12791