247 pages, b/w illustrations, tables
Earthmasters: The Dawn of the Age of Climate Engineering goes to the heart of the unfolding reality of the twenty-first century: international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have all failed and before the end of the century Earth is projected to be warmer than it has been for 15 million years. The question, "can the crisis be avoided?" has been superseded by a more frightening one, "what can be done to prevent the devastation of the living world?". And the disturbing answer, now under wide discussion both within and outside the scientific community, is to seize control of the very climate of the Earth itself.
Clive Hamilton begins by exploring the range of technologies now being developed in the field of geoengineering – the intentional, enduring, large-scale manipulation of Earth's climate system. He lays out the arguments for and against climate engineering, and reveals the extent of vested interests linking researchers, venture capitalists, and corporations. He then examines what it means for human beings to be making plans to control the planet's atmosphere, probes the uneasiness we feel with the notion of exercising technological mastery over nature, and challenges the ways we think about ourselves and our place in the natural world.
"As we collectively contemplate upping the ante on the same arrogant logic that created the climate crisis, we could ask for no wisernor more trustworthy guide than Clive Hamilton. A dazzling, multilayered exploration of the strange and terrifying world of geoengineering."
– Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine
"Do not assume this book is merely an excellent treatment of the pros and cons of geoengineering schemes aimed at slowing climate change. What Earthmasters actually does is examine the dawn of climate engineering as the perilous, ethically fraught final frontier in our species' long drive to apply technology to control ever-more of the planet. And do not for a second think that the powerful coalition now gathering in support of planet-scale engineering is motivated just to save Mother Earth; as Hamilton observes, some do not even think there is a serious climate issue, and his description of geoengineering's proponents – who they are and what motivates them – is one of the strongest features of this remarkable book. Get ready for a brave new world, Hamilton urges, not by getting on the bandwagon but by questioning deeply the very underpinnings of the modernist project we call contemporary civilization."
– James Gustave Speth, author of Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment
"Clive Hamilton is one of the world's leading thinkers about the consequences and unsustainability of our hyper-consumption and materialism. His message is increasingly urgent and in Earthmasters, he clearly shows that we cannot expect megatechnological "solutions" to be problem-free when our knowledge of how the biosphere works is so limited. The only thing we can "manage" is ourselves and we haven't done a very good job on that."
– David Suzuki, author of The Legacy: An Elder's Vision for Our Sustainable Future
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Clive Hamilton is Vice-Chancellor's Chair and professor of public ethics, Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Charles Sturt University, Canberra. His previous books include three volumes devoted to climate change. He lives in Canberra, Australia.