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Consumers of Doubt: Engineers in Denial During the Ozone Crisis, 1974-1989

Saha, Abeer
Format
Thesis/Dissertation; Online
Author
Saha, Abeer
Advisor
Carlson, W
Abstract
An understanding of denial is crucial to environmental mitigation in the age of climate change. The depletion of the ozone layer from manmade chemicals, called CFCs, was met with widespread denial during 1970s and 80s; some of which lingers to this day. Members of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), were at the forefront of this denialism. This paper studies their rhetoric and response to the ozone crisis in order to understand the motivations that lay at the heart of denial. The paper argues that technological optimism catalyzed by a rhetoric of scientific “uncertainty” spurred the members of ASHRAE into denial and blinded them to the environmental impact of their own technology. This is the story of how engineers—ostensibly well versed in science—became consumers of doubt.
Language
English
Published
University of Virginia, Department of History, MA (Master of Arts), 2017
Published Date
2017-11-29
Degree
MA (Master of Arts)
Collection
Libra ETD Repository
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