An Analysis of the Connection Between Climate Change, Technological Solutions and Potential Disaster Management: The Contribution of Geoengineering Research

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Abstract

In this article, the author uses a critical political economy approach to provide a basic topology of the current state of geoengineering research, funding and testing. The central argument is that the material and discursive monopolisation of geoengineering research and discussion by elite groups—political, economic and scientific-technological—has led to the marginalisation of the public from this debate and has presented a distorted view of its (geoengineering’s) need. Its connection to the main theme of this conference is located in the very clear nexus between climate change, the potentially disastrous outcomes of increased global warming and an examination of the potentially equally dangerous consequences of technologically intensive solutions (like geoengineering) that do not address but disregard the core problem: overconsumption based a resource-extractive and energy-intensive economic system. This piece begins with a brief introduction to geoengineering technologies. I then outline the critical political economy approach which is, at its core, a historically and socially reflexive method that focuses on unpacking the “production and reproduction of…structures” (Mosco 1996, 29) of privilege, followed by a brief justification of why it is pertinent in this context. Following this, the author delivers a critical snapshot of some of the most striking, and simultaneously troubling, geoengineering research currently taking place worldwide. The paper ends with a call for the public to get aggressively involved in learning about geoengineering and engaging in critically informed geoengineering activism, both online and offline.