1st Edition

Imagining Climate Engineering Dreaming of the Designer Climate

By Jeroen Oomen Copyright 2021
    232 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    232 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book highlights the increasing attention for climate engineering, a set of speculative technologies aimed to counter global warming. What is the future of the global climate? And who gets to decide—or even design—this future?

    Imagining Climate Engineering explores how and why climate engineering became a potential approach to anthropogenic climate change. Specifically, it showcases how views on the future of climate change and climate engineering evolved by addressing the ways in which climate engineers view its respective physical, political, and moral domains. Tracing the intellectual and political history of dreams to control the weather and climate as well as the discovery of climate change, Jeroen Oomen examines the imaginative parameters within which contemporary climate engineering research takes place. Introducing the analytical metaphor ‘ways of seeing’ to describe explicit or implicit visions, understandings, and foci that facilitate a particular understanding of what is at stake, Imagining Climate Engineering shows how visions on the knowability of climate tie into moral and political convictions about the possibility and desirability of engineering the climate.

    Marrying science and technology studies and the environmental humanities, Oomen provides crucial insights for the future of the climate change debate for scholars and students.

    1. Introduction

    2. Dreaming the Designer Climate

    3. Renormalizing Climate Intervention

    4. Ways of Seeing the Climate

    5. Ways of Seeing Power and Authority

    6. Ways of Seeing Intervention and Control

    7. Radical Solutions and Consistent Imaginations


    Jeroen Oomen is a Researcher at the Urban Futures Studio of Utrecht University, the Netherlands.

    "The novelist J.G. Ballard once said that the earth was the only truly alien world. Climate engineering promises to make it both more alien and more familiar. By deliberately intervening in atmospheric processes, such "geoengineering" could create an artificially managed climate but one that ideally would be cooler and calmer than our present fevered state. But — to what end?

    In this gripping, wide-ranging and erudite study, we are reminded that technologists and skeptics—plus all of us between those poles—hold perspectives based on stories we may not even know we tell ourselves. Yet such stories—their metaphors, their ways of looking, their assumptions about morality—are deeply imbricated in the possible futures of a planet that may have to embrace—or endure—climate engineering.

    Combining history, policy, philosophy and more, Jeroen Ooomen’s Imagining Climate Engineering is an eye-opening account of the climate-engineering community that could play an outsized role in determining the vitality of the planet and the durability of civilization.

    This nuanced book on climate engineering is the book I’ve been waiting for. Anyone who cares about climate change needs to read it."Christopher Cokinos, Professor of English, University of Arizona, author of Hope Is the Thing with Feathers: A Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds.

    "Imagining Climate Engineering is an important book that that properly situates the history of climate engineering research in international context, and shows how different ways of seeing shape battles about the future of the world. Oomen cleverly combines insights from Science and Technology Studies, history, sociology, and humanities to provide the first ethnologically informed assessment of climate engineering. The book is essential reading for scholars of Science and Technology Studies/ sociology of science and climate governance."Silke Beck, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ Leipzig

    "Meet the climate engineers: This timely and lucid study explores the dreams and the disagreements of climate engineering researchers about technological solutions to anthropogenic climate change. Jeroen Oomen innovatively combines historical, sociological and ethnographic approaches to the imaginary of a stable climate shaped by large-scale climate interventions. The outcome is a compelling investigation into the vital question of how selective climate futures can become collective, and which political, ethical and environmental tradeoffs these visions entail to appear rational, reliable, and desirable."Sabine Höhler, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, author of Spaceship Earth in the Environmental Age, 1960-1990