Course: Atmospheric Sciences in the Anthropocene

ESST specialization, University of Strasbourg (3 ECTS)

The aim of the course is twofold: On the one hand, it will provide students with elements of the history of the environmental sciences and geo- and climate engineering, and second, it will provide an introduction into the recent debates about geoengineering.  

The historical part will deal with the emergence of environmental sciences and environmentalism during the Cold War, and examine the links between military research on nuclear weapons and the environmental sciences, particularly the atmospheric sciences. It will also treat the more recent debates about climate change. The course will then trace the main actors and arguments for and against climate engineering. Since 2006, the possibility of geoengineering has been subject to vigorous debates among scientists, involving mahor institutions, like the IPCC, the American Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of London, and the French Agence Nationale de Recherche.

There will be also a course on methodology. Teaching will take place in February and March. The courses will be in English.

Crutzen, Paul J. (2006), “Albedo enhancement by stratospheric sulfur injections: A contribution to resolve a policy dilemma?”, Climatic Change 77, 211-220.

Fleming, James Rodger (2010), Fixing the Sky. The checkered History of Weather and Climate Control (New York: Columbia University Press).

Fleming, James Rodger and Vladimir Jankovic (2011) eds., “Klima,” OSIRIS 26.

Hamblin, Jacob Darwin (2013), Arming Mother Nature. The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Miller, Clark A. Miller and Paul Edwards (2001) eds., Changing the Atmosphere. Expert Knowledge and Environmental Governance (Cambridge: MIT Press).

Robock, Alan, “20 reasons why geoengineering may be a bad idea,” Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, 64, 2 (2008), pp. 14-18.

Weart, Spencer (2008), The Discovery of Global Warming, second edition (Cambridge, Harvard University Press).

Courses will be taught by Prof. Matthias Dörries (dorries@unistra.fr)