Past Event

Holly Jean Buck - Climate Tech: Why It Needs the Humanities and Social Sciences

March 28, 2023
4:15 PM - 6:15 PM
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Online and in-person: Heyman Center (Second Floor Common Room), Columbia University, New York

Event Description

Climate tech — technologies to respond to climate change — gathered over $50 billion of startup funding in recent years and billions more in public support. Carbon tech is a subset of climate tech, denoting both technologies to suck carbon out of the atmosphere and use and store it as well as platforms to exchange abstractions of all this carbon. Successfully scaling some forms of climate tech and carbon tech will be critical for confronting climate change.

However, these technologies will fail to be deployed without incorporating theories and practices from both the humanities and social sciences. This is due to a lack of demand and public support, the scarcity of visions of alternative business or ownership models, a failure to understand factors that would enable individuals and institutions to adopt the tech, contestation around the infrastructure to support these technologies, poor governance, and more.

This talk makes a case for why humanities and social science practitioners should bother to engage with the development of these emerging technologies. Speakers will discuss what forms and methods generative engagement could take, how to avoid the pitfalls of instrumentalization by capital, and what's at stake if these fields continue to be on the sidelines of climate tech investment and debate.

Event Speaker

Holly Jean Buck, Assistant Professor of Environment and Sustainability at the University at Buffalo

Event Information

Free and open to the public; registration required. For more information, please visit the event webpage or email [email protected]. Please visit the Heyman’s Center website for directions. All in-person attendees must follow Columbia's COVID-19 policies. Visitors will be asked to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Hosted by the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University. Co-sponsored by the Columbia Climate School, Center for Science and Society, and the Decarbonization, Climate Resilience and Climate Justice Network.