Reply To: Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson

  • Susan Kaye Quinn

    February 7, 2024 at 10:35 am

    I’m glad to see you (Michael) put Carbon Coin and geoengineering both in the same bucket, because I have the same (negative) feelings about both of them. I see people get excited about these (and I do think of them as “technofixes”) because they think implementing them is “easier” than, say, wholesale change of the energy system or other social changes. Notably, neither of those requires any (substantial) change to the status quo of capitalism or even a fossil fuel usage. And they’re framed (especially geoengineering) as something we have to try because we’re “desperate” (but not desperate enough to have a wholesale reconfiguration of economies). I don’t have expertise to say what the risks are with a Carbon Coin, but one of the older geoengineering concepts (pumping sulfate aerosols in the atmosphere) is literally what I did my PhD research on — and I feel very safe in saying that humanity is nowhere near smart enough to do this without terrible unforeseen consequences. So that’s the side-eye I bring to almost any geoengineering proposal (and Carbon Coin feels like financial geoengineering): that it will cost an ungodly amount of money, has tremendous risks, and is fixing the wrong thing (while enabling the status quo to continue).

    Or we could just build out renewables and outlaw stock buybacks. 🙂