Public Perception of geoengineering and its consequences for public debate

Abstract

Reviewing the existing studies of public perception and drawing analogies from other risk technologies, this paper explores the public positions on research and implementation of geoengineering as a means to combat climate change. Existing studies on geoengineering perceptions show low levels of awareness and a lack of knowledge. Hence, existing attitudes on geoengineering can be judged instable and stimulus-dependent. When judged in isolation, at least one third favors the use of geoengineering technologies preferring CDR over SRM technologies; when judged in comparison to other climate mitigation options, approval rates lose considerably support. Moreover, people seem to cautiously support research but oppose deployment while attitude formation depends on personal values and belief systems. The results of the empirical studies were fed into a Delphi workshop with experts for reflecting on the future development of public opinion and for designing a communication and public involvement process that corresponds to the empirical insights gained from the perception studies.

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Acknowledgment

The authors want to thank all participating experts for their help. They also wish to acknowledge the meaningful comments and reviews of anonymous referees and the support of Climatic Change editors. This research was made possible through funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

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Correspondence to Dirk Scheer.

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Scheer, D., Renn, O. Public Perception of geoengineering and its consequences for public debate. Climatic Change 125, 305–318 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-014-1177-1

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Keywords

  • Solar Radiation Management
  • Sulphur Particle
  • Carbon Dioxide Removal
  • Cloud Seeding
  • Climate Engineering