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Introduction

  • Jeremy BaskinEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

Can global warming be reversed or kept within ‘safe’ limits? Since at least the late 1980s the standard answer is that it can be … but only if greenhouse gas emissions are cut significantly, and soon. This approach informed the Kyoto treaty. And it is now enshrined in the Paris climate agreement. In reality though, climate action to date has been underwhelming. National emissions targets are insufficiently ambitious. The United States (and now Brazil) are no longer committed to the Paris agreement and its goals. Average global surface temperatures are currently about 1°C above pre-industrial levels and rising. So are greenhouse gas emissions. In the face of this gloomy outlook there is a different kind of solution circulating in climate policymaking circles, but still largely out of public view, that it is the earth, not human behaviour which should be modified. Specifically, the argument is being put forth by some that a cooler climate could be engineered. This Chapter introduces the book as a whole. It outlines the basic idea of solar geoengineering (SGE). It argues that, as a highly controversial and not-yet-deployed technology, how SGE is imagined will shape (or prevent) its emergence. The focus of the book is to conduct a sociotechnical rather than a technoscientific analysis of SGE. It makes the argument for focusing on competing imaginaries of SGE and for looking at the assumptions about power relations, about what knowledge counts, and about which values matter which pervade the many ‘official’ assessments of SGE and the work of key knowledge-brokers.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Melbourne School of GovernmentUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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