Headline: Tools of the trade. Practices and politics of researching the future in climate engineering

Making sense of the implications of climate engineering approaches (solar radiation management, SRM; and carbon dioxide removal, CDR) at planetary scales occurs via a host of methods that calculate, project, and imagine the future in distinct ways. We take a systemic and synthesizing view of some of the (inter)disciplinary methods by which these futures are derived: climate and integrated assessment modeling, ‘deductive’ modes of social science inquiry, deliberative stakeholder engagement, and foresight-based scenarios. We speak to the epistemologies, objectives, and user communities surrounding these research practices, highlighting that different modes of constructing and interpreting evidence about an unformed future yield different kinds of results and signals for actions to be taken. We show how different methods for exploring ‘futures’ form an evolving history of how the risks of CE have been assessed (or constructed), and conclude by echoing calls for a stronger shared understanding of the practices and politics that underpin future-oriented research.

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Academic Articles

Low, S., Schäfer, S. (2019 online): Tools of the trade. Practices and politics of researching the future in climate engineering. - Sustainability science.DOI: http://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-019-00692-x

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Climate Engineering in Science, Society and Politics