Post-covid freedom discourses and their influence on the politics of climate intervention

Wednesday, April 17, 2024 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)
Waterloo Climate Institute guest talk poster

 Join the Waterloo Climate Institute for a guest talk, Holly Buck from the University of Buffalo will draw upon multiple methods to explore what new political subcultures mean for climate politics broadly and the politics of solar geoengineering research in particular.

Public trust in science was already complex before covid.  But the response to the pandemic helped to spur new subcultures and modes of questioning the legitimacy and role of science in navigating tradeoffs between collective action and personal freedom. There is a spillover in discourses of “personal sovereignty” or “medical freedom” towards discussions of “climate lockdowns”, influenced by mistrust of elites and an overarching narrative of the “Great Reset” in which elites use crisis to curb liberties.  While these ideas are often viewed as fringe, they are influencing energy policy and broader electoral politics in several countries. They are also reshaping popular understanding of solar geoengineering, as these new discourses of climate/freedom are in some cases merging with and modifying pre-existing ideas about chemtrails.