Climate Futures (and Pasts)
Time is important in climate and sustainability work. Much research is focused on peering into the future and exploring scenarios. Scientific understanding of climate change relies on evidence of past climates. Yet today's climate is also a product of the past, especially in terms of the origins of rising greenhouse gas levels in colonialism, slavery and industrialisation.
In ongoing unfunded work, I seek to explore how we can better relate to, and conceive of, such temporality in climate and sustainability. I am interested in what we can learn from current attitudes to the legacy of slavery, as a way of putting ourselves in the shoes of future people facing severe climate impacts. I am keen to improve methodologies for stimulating deliberation and reflection over scenarios of possible futures. And I want to think more about the 'chronopolitics' (the politics and sociology of conceptions of time) involved in climate change and climate geoengineering.
In 2021 I presented some of this thinking about chronopolitics - particularly inspired by Priya Satia's historical work on empire and conscience - at a seminar convened by Wim Carton, Eva Lövbrand and Silke Beck, 'Making Climate Futures: What Role for the Social Sciences?'
And in 2020 I discussed the scenario methods used in the AMDEG project at a CUSP seminar at Goldsmiths' College, with the title "Are all your Utopias so Grim?"