Has the grand idea of geoengineering as Plan B run out of steam?

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     Has the grand idea of geoengineering as Plan B run out of steam?


    1. Jonas Anshelm
    2. Anders Hansson

    1. Linköping University, Sweden
    1. Anders Hansson, Department of Thematic Studies, Technology and Social Change, Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden. Email: anders.n.hansson@liu.se


    Paul Crutzen’s 2006 call for geoengineering research triggered public debate in the mass media of several countries. Since then, a common belief among numerous involved scientists has been that more geoengineering experimentation or research is needed and that geoengineering should be carefully considered in a precautionary way as an emergency option or ‘Plan B’. Despite the controversial potential of geoengineering in terms of mega-risks, ethical dilemmas and governance challenges, public geoengineering debate in the daily press from 2006 to 2013 was heavily dominated by accounts of scientists’ arguments for more geoengineering research or even deployment, only about 8% of mass media articles expressing criticism of geoengineering. However, based on a reading of 700 articles published worldwide in 2014 and 2015, we demonstrate a gradual shift in the coverage, and the daily press now primarily reports critical views of geoengineering technologies. The patterns outlined here point in the same direction: It seems as though the grand idea of geoengineering as Plan B is fading.

    1. The Anthropocene Review October 29, 2015 2053019615614592

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