Geoengineering: Re-making Climate for Profit or Humanitarian Intervention?
Version of Record online: 21 FEB 2012
© 2012 International Institute of Social Studies
Development and Change
Volume 43, Issue 1, pages 253–270, January 2012
How to Cite
Jean Buck, H. (2012), Geoengineering: Re-making Climate for Profit or Humanitarian Intervention?. Development and Change, 43: 253–270. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7660.2011.01744.x
- Issue online: 21 FEB 2012
- Version of Record online: 21 FEB 2012
Climate engineering, or geoengineering, refers to large-scale climate interventions to lower the earth's temperature, either by blocking incoming sunlight or removing carbon dioxide from the biosphere. Regarded as ‘technofixes’ by critics, these strategies have evoked concern that they would extend the shelf life of fossil-fuel driven socio-ecological systems for far longer than they otherwise would, or should, endure. A critical reading views geoengineering as a class project that is designed to keep the climate system stable enough for existing production systems to continue operating. This article first examines these concerns, and then goes on to envision a regime driven by humanitarian agendas and concern for vulnerable populations, implemented through international development and aid institutions. The motivations of those who fund research and implement geoengineering techniques are important, as the rationale for developing geoengineering strategies will determine which techniques are pursued, and hence which ecologies are produced. The logic that shapes the geoengineering research process could potentially influence social ecologies centuries from now.