Technology and Sustainability in the Age of the Anthropogenic Earth. Roy F. Weston Lecture University of Wisconsin November 20, 2008 Brad Allenby Founding Director, Center for Earth Systems Engineering and Management Lincoln Professor of Ethics and Engineering
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Roy F. Weston Lecture
University of Wisconsin
November 20, 2008
Founding Director, Center for Earth Systems Engineering and Management
Lincoln Professor of Ethics and Engineering
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Arizona State University
“We are as gods, and we might as well get good at it.” Anthropogenic Earth
Stewart Brand, 1968, Whole Earth Catalogue
“The future is already here; it’s just unevenly distributed.”
“Now I am become Death, destroyer of worlds.”
Vishnu, Bhagavad Gita, Robert Oppenheimer at Trinity Test, 1945, White Sands, New Mexico
So long as we do not, through thinking, experience what is, we can never belong to what will be.
The flight into tradition, out of a combination of humility and presumption, can bring about nothing in itself other than self deception and blindness in relation to the historical moment.
Source: M. Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, translation by W. Lovitt (New York, Harper Torchbooks, 1977), “The Turning,” p. 49; “The Age of the World Picture,” p. 136.
Technology for ambient air capture of CO2 being commercialized (approx. $200-$150 per ton CO2)
Global climate change is not inevitable, but a pricepoint issue.
Focus on fossil fuel use is obsolete, as is existing regulatory/treaty process (strong institutional and individual opposition as a result)
Undermines use of global climate change as lever for social engineering
Relevant question becomes much more fundamental: what kind of world do you want – 280 ppm equivalent? 360? 550? - and who gets to choose? Distributional effects are potentially significant.