Climatic Change

, Volume 121, Issue 3, pp 567–577 | Cite as

Public engagement on solar radiation management and why it needs to happen now

  • Wylie A. Carr
  • Christopher J. Preston
  • Laurie Yung
  • Bronislaw Szerszynski
  • David W. Keith
  • Ashley M. Mercer


There have been a number of calls for public engagement in geoengineering in recent years. However, there has been limited discussion of why the public should have a say or what the public can be expected to contribute to geoengineering discussions. We explore how public engagement can contribute to the research, development, and governance of one branch of geoengineering, solar radiation management (SRM), in three key ways: 1. by fulfilling ethical requirements for the inclusion of affected parties in democratic decision making processes; 2. by contributing to improved dialogue and trust between scientists and the public; and 3. by ensuring that decisions about SRM research and possible deployment are informed by a broad set of societal interests, values, and framings. Finally, we argue that, despite the nascent state of many SRM technologies, the time is right for the public to participate in engagement processes.


Public Participation Public Perception Public Engagement Engagement Process Solar Radiation Management 



This work was supported by the US National Science Foundation (grant number SES 0958095) and the Center for Climate and Energy Decision Making (SES-0949710), through a cooperative agreement between the National Science Foundation, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Fund for Innovative Climate and Energy Research. W.C. is funded by a US Environmental Protection Agency STAR PhD Fellowship. The authors would like to thank Maialen Galarraga, Phil Macnaghten, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on earlier drafts.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wylie A. Carr
    • 1
  • Christopher J. Preston
    • 2
  • Laurie Yung
    • 1
  • Bronislaw Szerszynski
    • 3
  • David W. Keith
    • 4
  • Ashley M. Mercer
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Society and ConservationUniversity of MontanaMissoulaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of MontanaMissoulaUSA
  3. 3.Department of SociologyLancaster UniversityLancasterUK
  4. 4.School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Kennedy SchoolHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  5. 5.Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and EconomyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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