The new prometheans: Technological optimism in climate change mitigation modelling

Michael Keary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Technological change modelling (TCM) is quietly transforming the landscape of environmental debate. It provides a powerful new basis for technological optimism, which has long been a key battleground. The technique is at the heart of mainstream climate change mitigation policies and greatly strengthens environmentalism over ecologism. It seems to show that technological change can solve the problem. I argue that the models employ a flawed understanding of technological change and that policies based on them are a major gamble. The article aims to begin a wider debate on TCM, offering a defence of ecologism rooted in the history of technology and SCOT literatures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-28
Number of pages22
JournalEnvironmental Values
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


  • Ecologism
  • Social construction of technological change
  • Sustainable development
  • Technological change modelling
  • Technological optimism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Philosophy

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