Technological Utopianism – the Momentum of Ignorance

By May 28, 2010 February 21st, 2013 Deniers and Delayers

A paper by a University of Alberta researcher "System Failure: Oil, Futurity, and the Anticipation of Disaster," published in the South Atlantic Quarterly, finds that most people have a dream, unsupported by fact, that we can, because of our advanced technology, outsmart anything. The paper finds that there are many things blocking non-climate specialists understanding of climate science and the impacts of climate change. What I mean is, or what the author meant is that we fool ourselves, we lie to ourselves and we are arrogantly over-confident. What we have come to understand with other sciences, that with knowledge comes behavioral change, is not necessarily so with climate.  The author says "there are three social narratives that prevent people from acting on the knowledge they have concerning the effects of oil on the environment: strategic realism, the notion that oil production is good because it supports economic security; eco-apocalypse, which the author explains as our incapacity to act on knowledge we have; and technological utopianism, the belief that technology will solve environmental problems resulting from oil and its usage." Technological Utopianism. While this may be a great name for a band, it sure is making it tough to get the truth about the climate crisis understood. While the citizenry is out there thinking that global warming will probably end up being a good thing, and if it’s not, we can fix it like we fixed the ozone hole. (By the way, We set an all time record large ozone holes in 2006, in case you have bought in to that one too. – see here. The ozone hole in 2009 was 22 million square kilometers, only 18% smaller than its largest ever size. Yeah, the Montreal Protocol worked. It kept us from losing the zone layer complete and frying like an earthworm on the surface of Venus. The size of the ozone hole in 1978 was only slightly larger than zero million square kilometers…)

Szeman, System Failure: Oil, Futurity, and the Anticipation of Disaster, South Atlantic Quarterly, May 2009.