8Technology to Combat Climate Change: the Hermeneutic Dimension of Climate Engineering

The example of climate engineering, which has been an object of discussion for several years, refers to how we handle climate change and is therefore very different in character from the other fields of RRI presented in this book. Nonetheless, climate engineering exhibits similar challenges for the RRI debate because of the relevance of temporally far-reaching and thus extremely uncertain technology futures. If the debate over responsibility is conducted in a consequentialist manner with reference to the presumable consequences of climate engineering, it too is threatened by epistemological nirvana (Chapter 3). Consideration of the technology futures of climate engineering from a hermeneutic perspective leads to a corresponding result.

8.1. Climate change and the ambivalence of technology

For decades, climate change has been a major topic in scientific, philosophical, public and political debates. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the regular international climate change conferences, most recently that held in Paris in 2015, are their most visible expression at a global level. The diagnoses of the causes, the attributions of responsibility, suggested solutions and problems of implementation have become a regular component of social conflict at the national, regional and local level. From today’s point of view, it is possible to distinguish three phases of the climate ...

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