Accepted paper:

Geoengineering, Neoliberalism, and the Ethics of Care

Author:

Tina Sikka (Newcastle University)

Paper short abstract:

In this talk, I provide a comparative, critical discourse driven analysis of activism for and against climate engineering.

Paper long abstract:

In this talk, I provide a comparative, critical discourse driven analysis of activism for and against climate engineering. Arguments in support of this approach to climate remediation are quintessentially neoliberal and can be found in discourses that fetishize entrepreneurialism, support a market driven ideology, and amplify creative destruction. Think tanks like the Cato Institute (whose funds come from oil and gas companies), billionaires like Bill Gates, and scientists that work with them, constitute some for the actors whose research and discourse I examine. I contrast this with the ways in which geoengineering is framed by organizations and individuals like Bill McKibbon, Vandana Shiva, The ETC Group, and H.O.M.E. who are opposed to their use. Their claims depart drastically from neoliberal discourse and towards one that is prosocial, ecologically egalitarian, and disruptive of the current socio-economic order. They tend to frame objections to geoengineering in terms of it constituting a slippery slope, posing unmanageable risks, and being ecologically irresponsible. The objective of this piece is twofold, first, to engage in and unpack the discursive frames behind what is a significant site of contestation over how to address climate change; and, second, to map out the practices and sites of resistance to climate engineering as it comes up against well-funded campaigns in support of its use. To conclude, I also make the argument, using social network theory, that the strategies, tactics, and modalities of activism used by those that oppose climate intervention are better equipped to shape public opinion.

panel B03
Examining inequalities in contexts of environmental degradation (Paper)