Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature, Department of Romance Studies, Cornell University. Please join us for a lecture with Karen Pinkus titled “Thinking Decarbonization with Literature”.
Only a few years ago, "geoengineering"--both the solar side and carbon dioxide removal or negative emissions technologies--was taboo, associated with a "moral hazard." Yet as various scientific bodies consider pathways to keeping warming below 2 degrees, such technologies are becoming mainstream: They simply need to be financed or scaled up, according to the a certain logic. My talk takes seriously the probability that such technologies will be implemented, but rather than critique them on ethical grounds, as some humanists do, I attempt to think geoengineering through literature. Drawing on a text from dawn of the fossil fuel era by Jules Verne, I ask what narrative (as opposed to scenarios or "story telling" produced by industry) and language brought together can offer to a discussion of climate change mitigation, today, in the time of 415+ ppm of atmospheric C02.