The political economy of technical fixes : the (mis)alignment of clean fossil and political regimes

Markusson, Nils Olof and Gjefsen, Mads Dahl and Stephens, Jennie and Tyfield, David Peter (2017) The political economy of technical fixes : the (mis)alignment of clean fossil and political regimes. Energy Research and Social Science, 23. pp. 1-10. ISSN 2214-6296

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This paper argues that existing critiques of technical fixes are unable to explain our simultaneous enamourment and distrust with technical fixes, and that to do so, we need a political economy analysis. We develop a critical, theoretically grounded conceptualisation of technical fixes as imagined defensive spatio-temporal fixes of specific political economic regimes, and apply it to the case of geoengineering, or ‘clean fossil’, as an attempted technical fix of the climate change problem. We map the promises of clean fossil as proposed solutions to the problem of climate change in discrete episodes since the 1960s. The paper shows that clean fossil promises have been surprisingly poorly aligned with the neoliberal regime, and explains how they have been moderately stable due to those misalignments. We also show that different liberal capitalisms could be supported by different clean fossil technologies, but also that illiberal or more egalitarian regimes remain possible alongside particular, perhaps radically re-envisioned, versions of clean fossil. Ambivalence towards clean fossil technical fix promises is intelligible, given the inherent instability of their co-evolution with neoliberalism and future political regimes.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Energy Research and Social Science
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Energy Research and Social Science. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Energy Research and Social Science, 23, 2017 DOI: 10.1016/j.erss.2016.11.004
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? neoliberalismcarbon capture and storage (ccs)geoengineeringclimate engineeringtechnical fixrenewable energy, sustainability and the environmentenergy engineering and power technologynuclear energy and engineeringfuel technologysocial sciences (miscellaneo ??
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Deposited On:
15 Nov 2016 15:58
Last Modified:
08 Dec 2023 01:32