Locomotive versions of the climate emergency


At first reading, it hypocritical to argue that, with the locomotive of the climate emergency heading right towards us (i.e., water drying up all over the place under increasing greenhouse gases), hugely energy-intensive technologies for ocean desalinization are criticized for promoting social and environmental injustices while hugely energy intensive technologies for carbon sequestration, just as grotesquely expensive, continue to be promoted as a key solution ahead notwithstanding.

Advocates of their respective technologies have, of course, their own versions of the climate emergency by way of justification. Just as clearly, what they have in common in chasing the government subsidy. That too is what the advocates of nuclear energy continue to do.

There’s no little irony in the fact that this Kafkaesque situation is best described by Kafka himself: These are the same people who need and want the locomotive to chase them. That way their particular storyline has a chance of surviving a bit longer in the run down.

Where but in volatility are profits to be made? How 20th century!


So what?

The challenge is to open the space for rethinking locomotive-versions of the climate emergency.

One way is to parse out the ways in which the climate emergency is not the sum total of the Anthropocene as an epoch. The Anthropocene is neither final nor totalizing. Its already differentiated provisionalities, materialities and mutabilities make the Anthropocene instantly more granular than the adjectives, “Kafkaesque” or “uncertain,” can convey on their own.


Dembicki, G. (2022). “Carbon capture” is no fix: Big oil’s known that for decades (accessed online at https://thetyee.ca/News/2022/07/07/Carbon-Capture-No-Fix-Big-Oil-Known-Decades/?s=09

foodandwaterwatch.org (2023). Big Ag, Big Oil, and the California Water Crisis (accessed online at https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/CalWaterCrisis.pdf)

Kafka, F. (2022). The Diaries. Trans: R. Benjamin, Schocken Books: New York: 18 – 19.

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