Is climate catastrophe inevitable? In a world of extreme inequality, rising nationalism and mounting carbon emissions, the future looks gloomy. Yet one group of environmentalists, the ‘ecomodernists’, are optimistic. They argue that technological innovation and universal human development hold the keys to an ecologically vibrant future. However, this perspective, which advocates fighting climate change with all available technologies – including nuclear power, synthetic biology and others not yet invented – is deeply controversial because it rejects the Green movement’s calls for greater harmony with nature.
In this book, Jonathan Symons offers a qualified defence of the ecomodernist vision. Ecomodernism, he explains, is neither as radical or reactionary as its critics claim, but belongs in the social democratic tradition, promoting a third way between laissez-faire and anti-capitalism. Critiquing and extending ecomodernist ideas, Symons argues that states should defend against climate threats through transformative investments in technological innovation. A good Anthropocene is still possible – but only if we double down on science and humanism to push beyond the limits to growth.