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Can Science Fix Climate Change?: A Case Against Climate Engineering

Series: New Human Frontiers

By: Mike Hulme (Author)

Polity Press

Paperback | Apr 2014 | #214393 | ISBN-13: 9780745682068
Availability: Usually dispatched within 48 hours
NHBS Price: £9.99 $12/€11 approx
Hardback | Apr 2014 | #214394 | ISBN-13: 9780745682051
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £34.99 $43/€39 approx

About this book

Climate change seems to be an insurmountable problem. Political solutions have so far had little impact. Some scientists are now advocating the so-called 'Plan B', a more direct way of reducing the rate of future warming by reflecting more sunlight back to space, creating a thermostat in the sky.

In Can Science Fix Climate Change?, Mike Hulme argues against this kind of hubristic techno-fix. Drawing upon a distinguished career studying the science, politics and ethics of climate change, he shows why using science to fix the global climate is undesirable, ungovernable and unattainable. Science and technology should instead serve the more pragmatic goals of increasing societal resilience to weather risks, improving regional air quality and driving forward an energy technology transition. Can Science Fix Climate Change? shows that seeking to reset the planet's thermostat is not the answer.

"Mike Hulme eloquently and rationally outlines the arguments against proposals to use stratospheric aerosols to cool the planet and questions the ethics of even researching them. Regardless of whether one agrees with his conclusions, there is no doubt that he definitively makes the case that must be answered by proponents."
- Steve Rayner, Oxford University

"In this slim volume, Mike Hulme takes aim at the proposal to fix the climate problem with a single engineering solution. He calls for a science that is more attentive to human ends, that serves humanity rather than seeking to rule it. This plea for humility from a world expert on climate change deserves close reading by anyone concerned with the fate of the planet."
- Sheila Jasanoff, Harvard University

"Few people talk as intelligently and compassionately about climate change as Mike Hulme. He is a rare voice of sanity and humility in an increasingly rancorous and megalomaniac debate."
- Fred Pearce, science writer and journalist


List of Acronyms

Chapter 1: Imagining an Engineered Climate
Chapter 2: Designing a Global Thermostat
Chapter 3: Governing the World's Temperature
Chapter 4: Living in an Experimental World
Chapter 5: Reframing the (Climate) Problem


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Mike Hulme is Professor of Climate and Culture in the Department of Geography at King's College London. His 2009 Why We Disagree about Climate Change won The Economist 's 'Book of the Year Award'. He has contributed to public debates in the UK and US, writing for The Guardian and the Wall Street Journal. From 2000 to 2007 he was the Founding Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

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