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What if the people seized the means of climate production?
Climate engineering is a dystopian project. But as the human species hurtles ever faster towards its own extinction, geoengineering as a temporary fix, to buy time for carbon removal, is a seductive idea. We are right to fear that geoengineering will be used to maintain the status quo, but is there another possible future after geoengineering? Can these technologies and practices be used to bring carbon levels back down to pre-industrial levels? Are there possibilities for massive intentional intervention in the climate that are democratic, decentralised, or participatory?
These questions are provocative, because they go against a binary that has become common sense: geoengineering is assumed to be on the side of industrial agriculture, inequality and ecomodernism, in opposition to degrowth, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and climate justice. The World After Geoengineering rejects this binary, to ask: what if the people seized the means of climate production? Both critical and utopian, After Geoengineering examines the possible futures after geoengineering. Rejecting the idea that geoengineering is some kind of easy work-around, Holly Buck outlines the kind of social transformation that would be necessary to enact a programme of geoengineering in the first place.
Holly Buck writes on emerging technologies in the Anthropocene, with work appearing in journals like Development and Change, Climatic Change, Annals of the American Association of Geographers and Hypatia. Since 2009, she has been working on geoengineering, including as a Faculty Fellow with the Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment in Washington DC, a project scientist with the Institute of Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam, Germany, and as a member of the Steering Committee for the international Climate Engineering Conference in Berlin. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute on the Environment at the University of California, Los Angeles.