Love Your Scapegoats

A response to Bruno Latour’s “Love Your Monsters: Why We Must Care for Our Technologies As We Do Our Children” [1] If Frankenstein is to serve as a parable for “political ecology” then Mary Shelley’s plot must be reworked. In the revised version Dr Frankenstein is no more than an inquisitive but anxious assistant to the […]

Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change

Global warming science has become a battleground in a wider cultural war, particularly in the United States where rejecting climate science has been seamlessly adopted by right-wing populism—notably by the Tea Party, the movement of those who demand their fair share of injustice. In these circumstances scientific facts are trumped by beliefs, so that climate […]

Ethical Anxieties About Geoengineering

Three main justifications are used to defend geoengineering research and possible deployment—it will allow us to buy time, it will allow us to respond to a climate emergency, and it may be the best option economically. Against these a number of ethical risks intrude: we may use the possibility of climate engineering to blind ourselves […]

Big Porn Inc.

“One of the more bizarre accusations made against people like the authors who appear in this powerful, new book, Big Porn Inc., is that they are anti-sex. This accusation is made by post-modern academics who style themselves pro-sex. Of course, the authors are not anti-sex. They are anti-degradation, anti-exploitation, anti-coercion and anti-trafficking. In truth these are […]

The Ethical Foundations of Climate Engineering

In the standard consequentialist view of climate ethics, the question of whether it is ethically justified intentionally to shift the planet to a warmer or cooler climate depends on an assessment of the costs and benefits of the new state compared to the old one. In this view the natural world is framed as a […]

Is Environmentalism Failing?

Environmentalism: The Way Forward A talk (by videolink) to the National Climate Action Summit University of Melbourne, 9 April 2011 Clive Hamilton The difficulty and importance of the global warming campaign is many times greater than every other environmental struggle. Controlling carbon pollution requires a wholesale industrial restructuring and defeat of the most powerful industry […]

In Praise of Boredom

A lecture at the “Idle Hours” exhibition National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, 5 February 2010 Clive Hamilton I am grateful to the National Portrait Gallery for inviting me to give this talk and particularly to Sarah Engledow for curating this subtle and arresting exhibition. It occurred to me too late that with my choice of title, […]

Psychological Adaptation to the Threats and Stresses of a Four Degree World

Extensive social scientific research into human reactions to threats provides some insights into the psychological strategies humans are likely to adopt in response to the stresses of living in a hotter world. These “coping strategies” are designed to defend against or manage the unpleasant emotions associated with “waking up” to the dangers of a warming […]

Nordhaus’s Carbon Tax: An Excuse to Do Nothing?

Yale economist William Nordhaus is an influential voice in the US climate policy debate. Although he writes that global warming is a serious problem, the whole tenor of his analysis is to urge caution and delay. His carbon tax proposal contravenes globally agreed principles and plays into the hands of those opposed to urgent action […]

Defending the Last Taboo

A contribution to the Art Censorship: the bigger picture forum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 12 June 2008 Clive Hamilton When I looked at the twenty or so Bill Henson photos on the Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery website just hours before they were taken down I could see immediately that they were not pornographic. They struck […]