127 Corwin Hall, Princeton University
Friday, September 20
Saturday, September 21


The fact we are living through a climate crisis seems to become more and more embodied every year, the metrics of emergency ever more well known. As months and years set records for warming, scholars, citizens, and policymakers look for new solutions to the mounting ecological catastrophe. The possibility of geoengineering – the deliberate large-scale manipulation of the earth to counteract the effects of global warming – has been among these proposals, and in its most ambitious form presents the possibility that humanity might put a pause on global warming to allow decarbonization without overshoot. Emerging from everincreasing fear of human life in a world of 2 or 3 degree C temperature rise, and steadfast political deadlock, many have come to take very seriously the idea of mimicking the cooling effect of volcanoes by spewing aerosols by airplane into the stratosphere. This Sci-Fi notion can hardly now be ignored, but neither can it be discussed without confronting head-on the ethical and political turmoil of the proposal as Harvard has come under fire from indigenous people for outdoor experiments and experts call for a moratorium on efforts to geoengineer.

Dale Jamieson first considered the ethics of intentional climate change 30 years ago, and since this early paper much more ink has been spilled on the topic. Yet, as the state of geoengineering science evolves and the socio-political context shifts, the need for sustained scholarly attention to the topic becomes clear. Hence, this conference will bring scholars from across the disciplines together in Princeton, New Jersey, to consider the various philosophical dimensions of the geoengineering idea, and especially the hypothetical technology of stratospheric aerosol injection. Together, we will scrutinize decades-long debates at the center of the geoengineering idea while also attending to bleeding-edge domains of the discussion. Participants from a range of backgrounds and beliefs will consider topics including the prospects for inclusive and non-hegemonic geoengineering research, the morality of a moratorium, issues at the eco-social intersection and implications of an engineered climate for the human/nature relationship, the outlook for using geoengineering as a tool to address the extinction crisis, and the prudence of thinking in terms of emergency at all.