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

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

Mike Hulme

ISBN: 978-0-745-68205-1

Jun 2014, Polity

144 pages

In Stock

$64.95

Description

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 this book, 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. Seeking to reset the planet’s thermostat is not the answer. 
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 this book, 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. Seeking to reset the planet’s thermostat is not the answer. 

Acknowledgements page vi

Acronyms page vii

Preface viii

1 Imagining an Engineered Climate 1

2 Designing a Global Thermostat 32

3 Governing the World’s Temperature 57

4 Living in an Experimental World 89

5 Reframing the (Climate) Problem 114

Notes 141

Bibliography 144

Index 150

"A very clear read and a good introduction to an extremely important topic."
Morning Star


"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


"This small book packs a big punch. Hulme's book is readable, affordable and rich in ideas."
Progress in Physical Geography

"Professor Mike Hulme is one of the most distinguished academics writing about climate change science, policy and culture today, so when he has something to say about this subject, his peers, politicians, policymakers and the general public should sit up and take notice ... this book has mass readership appeal, not only because Hulme discusses an issue that affects everyone of us, but also because of the style in which the book is written. What is a complicated and uncertain science is explained in a straightforward, easy to read manner. This book can be enjoyed by academics, students and the lay general public alike."
Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning