Monday, January 13, 2014

The public is against geoengineering the climate

Science 2.0: Members of the public generally have a negative view of climate engineering, the deliberate large-scale manipulation of the environment to counteract climate change, according to a new paper. This makes some sense. If we can't predict the weather a week from now, it's very difficult to say we can predict the far more complicated climate after physical changes are made to the inputs.

Climate engineering is one idea to combat the rise in atmospheric CO2 due to the burning of fossil fuels. While emissions in the US and some other nations have dropped, places like China, India and Mexico are all exempt from climate treaties and have continued to rise. Climate engineering could involve techniques that reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere or approaches that slow temperature rise by reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface.

The authors did representative to undertake what they say is the first systematic large-scale evaluation of the public reaction to climate engineering. Co-author Professor Damon Teagle of the University of Southampton said: "Because even the concept of climate engineering is highly controversial, there is pressing need to consult the public and understand their concerns before policy decisions are made."

Lead author, Professor Malcolm Wright of Massey University, said: "Previous attempts to engage the public with climate engineering have been exploratory and small scale. In our study, we have drawn on commercial methods used to evaluate brands and new product concepts to develop a comparative approach for evaluating the public reaction to a variety of climate engineering concepts."

The results show that the public has strong negative views towards climate engineering. Where there are positive reactions, they favor approaches that reduce carbon dioxide over those that reflected sunlight....

Drawing of actor T.P. Cooke as Frankenstein's monster in an 1823 theatrical production

No comments: