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Research seminar

Complexity, climate change, and the political meltdown

From climate censorship to condescending nationalism

Add to calendar 2023-04-21 15:00 2023-04-21 16:00 Europe/Rome Complexity, climate change, and the political meltdown Emeroteca (Badia) and on Zoom YYYY-MM-DD


21 April 2023

15:00 - 16:00 CEST


Emeroteca (Badia) and on Zoom

In this seminar, Professor Daniele Conversi (University of the Basque Country), author of the newly published book "Cambiamenti Climatici", will share his research on the effect nationalism may have on fighting the climate change.

The climate crisis is one of the nine "planetary boundaries" identified in the Earth Sciences since 2009. The critical threshold for climate change (350 ppm) has only recently been passed. Other boundaries, such as biodiversity loss, have been overrun — and we are reaching other critical thresholds as well. The global environmental crisis signals the likely entrance into the most turbulent period in human history, requiring unprecedented creativity, force and adaptive skills to act quickly and radically in order to curb the global crisis. But which are the main obstacles arising in front of us? 

Historians of science and investigative journalists plus some social and political scientists have studied in detail the way the fossil fuel lobbies hampered governmental action via disinformation, misinformation, and the "denial industry". However, these studies do not generally consider in detail the institutional scenario where lobbyists act, namely the nation-state. 

My research explores a different set of variables originating in the current division of the world into nation-states powered by their own ideology, nationalism. In an age in which boundaries cannot halt climate change, nationalism fully engages in erecting ever higher boundaries

Thus, we need to ask: if nationalism is the core ideological framework around which contemporary political relations are articulated, is it possible to involve it in the fight against climate change? I explore this answer via a few case studies arising within both stateless nations and nation-states. Riding the wave of nationalism, however, makes only senses if, at the same time, non-national solutions are also simultaneously considered, as condensed in the concept of "survival cosmopolitanism": Effective results can only be achieved when considering the plurality of possible solutions and avoiding fideistic responses such as 'techno-fixes' centred on the magic-irrational faith in technological innovation as the ultimate Holy Grail, which can easily be appropriated by nationalists. Salvation may come, not as much from technology, as from the abandonment of an economic system ruthlessly based on environmental destruction and the expansion of mass consumption. 

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