New publication: Climate Engineering as a Communication Challenge

*New publication on responsibility in climate engineering expert discourses.*


Matzner, Nils; Barben, Daniel (2020): Climate Engineering as a Communication Challenge: Contested Notions of Responsibility Across Expert Arenas of Science and Policy. In: Science Communication 42 (1), 107554701989940. DOI: 10.1177/1075547019899408.

*please ask for pdf*

_Abstract_ Climate engineering (CE) is often said to bring about significant opportunities as well as risks. The pursuit of CE measures can be framed as either responsible or irresponsible, resulting in contentious and ambiguous communication. This article starts out from a notion of responsibility regarding subjects, objects, norms, and authorities. It will identify and analyze discursive patterns of responsibility across six expert arenas and provide a comparative mapping of these patterns. Better understanding controversy may help in finding common ground for designing research and policy strategies around CE. Taking on the challenges of communicating CE-related responsibilities would support CE governance.


See also our German publication on discourses responsibility and uncertainty in the field of climate engineering research and policy.

Matzner, Nils; Barben, Daniel (2018): Verantwortungsvoll das Klima manipulieren? Unsicherheit und Verantwortung im Diskurs um Climate Engineering. In: Nina Janich und Lisa Rhein (Hg.): Unsicherheit als Herausforderung für die Wissenschaft. Berlin: Peter Lang, S. 143–178.

*open access*

_Abstract_ At the Paris Conference 2015, international climate policy reached an agreement to limit global warming to a maximum of 2°C (if possible 1.5°C). As this ambitious goal may not be met with conventional mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, it could require the development of new climate engineering (CE) technologies. CE is defined as the intentional, large-scale intervention into planetary systems in order to slow down global warming. Two key issues pertaining to CE that have been raised to date are uncertainty and responsibility (e.g., different kinds of uncertainty CE will bring about, different approaches to responsibly dealing with global warming and CE, respectively). In this article, we will conduct a discourse analysis of “uncertainty” and “responsibility” in five discourse arenas – i.e., science, policy, science-policy interface, NGOs and think tanks – showing how articulations of uncertainty and responsibility vary between as well as within arenas. We will conclude that neither “uncertainty” nor “responsibility” provide any clear guidance on how to deal with CE and global warming but that, instead, one has to comprehend how divergent aspects of uncertainty and responsibility are articulated and framed such that they constitute competing approaches to governing CE and global warming.