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John Barry

Queen's University Belfast

Based in

United Kingdom

John Barry is a father, a recovering politician and Professor of Green Political Economy in the Centre for Sustainability, Equality and Climate Action at Queens University Belfast. He is also co-chair of the Belfast Climate Commission, a member of the UK Parliament’s Committee on Climate Change Economics Advisory Group on Adaptation and Resilience, and a member of the Sustainable Future Committee of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. What keeps him awake at night is the life opportunities and future wellbeing of his and other children in this age of the planetary crisis, and why it is easier for most people to believe in the end of the world than the end of capitalism and economic growth. His areas of academic research include post-growth and heterodox political economy; the politics, policy and political economy of climate breakdown and climate resilience; socio-technical analyses of low carbon just energy and sustainability transitions; and the overlap between conflict transformation and these sustainability and energy transitions. His last book was The Politics of Actually Existing Unsustainability: Human Flourishing in a Climate-Changed, Carbon-Constrained World (2012, Oxford University Press).

Country(ies) of Specialty

Ireland United Kingdom

Focus areas of expertise

Climate policy and politics Climate Justice Renewable energy Social movements

How to Connect



McGeown, C and Barry, J. (2023), ‘Agents of (Un)Sustainability: democratising universities for the planetary crisis’, Frontiers in Sustainability, https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/frsus.2023.1166642/full 

McIlroy, D., Brennan, S. and Barry, J. (2022) ‘Just transition: a conflict transformation approach’, in Pellizzoni, L., Leonard, E. & Asara, V. (eds.).  Elgar Handbook of Critical Environmental Politics. Edward Elgar, pp. 416-430.

Fearon, S. & Barry, J., (2022), ‘Beyond growth and partition: post-growth and ecological perspectives on the political economy of Irish reunification’, Irish Studies in International Affairs. 33, 2, pp. 373-405.

Slevin, A., Barry, J., Hill, T., Orr, J., O’Flynn, P., Sullivan, L. & McLernon, R., (2022),’Local climate praxis in practice: Community Climate Action in Belfast’, in Slevin, A., Howarth, C. & Lane, M. (eds.), Addressing the climate crisis: local action in theory and practice. (Palgrave Macmillan), pp. 3-13

Revez, A., Dunphy, N., Harris, C., Rogan, F., Byrne, E., McGookin, C., Bolger, P., Ó Gallachóir, B., Barry, J., Ellis, G., O’Dwyer, B., Boyle, E., Flood, S., Glynn, J. & Mullally, G., (2022), ‘Mapping emergent public engagement in societal transitions: a scoping review’, Energy, Sustainability and Society. 12; 2.

Barry, J. (2021), ‘A Just Transition to a Sustainable Economy: Green political economy, labour republicanism, and the liberation from economic growth’, in Breen, K. & Deranty, J-P. (eds.), The Politics and Ethics of Contemporary Work; Whither Work?. (Routledge), pp.166-182.

Argiou, I. and Barry, J. (2021), ‘The political economy of socio-technical transitions: A relational view of the state and bus system decarbonization in the United Kingdom’, Energy Research and Social Science. 79, 102174.

Barry, J. (2021), ‘Green republicanism and a ‘Just Transition’ from the tyranny of economic growth’, Critical Review of international Social and Political Philosophy, 24:4, pp. 725-42.

McFarlane, R., Barry, J et al, (2020) ‘Sustainable Development Goal 3 Good Health and Wellbeing: framing targets to maximise co-benefits for forests and people’, (2020), in Katila, P et al (eds), Sustainable Development Goals: Their Impacts on Forests and People, Cambridge University Press, pp.72-108.

Barry, J., (2019), ‘Planning in and for a post-growth and post-carbon economy’, in Cowell, R. (ed.). Routledge Companion to Environmental Planning and Sustainability, (Routledge_, pp.120-129.

Barry, J., (2019), ‘The Anthropocene: or Welcome to our Fluxed Futures’. in: M. Arias-Maldonado, M. and Z. Trachtenberg (eds). Rethinking the Environment for the Anthropocene. (Routledge), pp.201-216.

Barry, J., (2018), ‘A Genealogy of Economic Growth as Ideology and Cold War Core State Imperative’, New Political Economy, https://doi.org/10.1080/13563467.2018.1526268.

Healy, N. and Barry, J., (2017), ‘Politicizing energy justice and energy system transitions: Fossil fuel divestment and a ‘just transition’’, Energy Policy, 108 (4), pp.451-459.

Barry, J. (2016), ‘Bio-fuelling the hummer?: transdisciplinary thoughts on techo-optimism and innovation in the transition from unsustainability’, in Byrne, E., Mullally, G. & Sage, C. (eds), Transdisciplinary Perspectives on the Transition to Sustainability, (Routledge), pp. 106-124.

Barry, J. (2015), ‘Green Political Economy: beyond orthodox economic growth as a permanent feature of the economy’, in Gabrielson, T., Hall, C., Meyer, J. & Schlosberg, D. (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Environmental Political Theory. Oxford University Press

Barry, J. Hume, T., Ellis, G. and Curry, R. (2015), ‘Low carbon transitions and post-fossil fuel energy transformations as political struggles: analysing and overcoming ‘carbon lock in’’, in Kalanztos, S. (ed), Energy & Environmental Transformations in a Globalizing World.. Athens: Nomiki Bibliothiki, pp. 3-23

Barry, J. & 21 others (2014), ‘Changing the Intellectual climate’, Nature Climate Change. 4, 9, pp. 763-768