On November 4, 2013, the Washington Geoengineering Consortium organized a meeting for civil society actors based in Washington DC.
The meeting brought together around 40 people from major environmental, development, and justice NGOs, to consider the challenges and opportunities presented by geoengineering technologies. There was much rich conversation throughout the day.
Civil Society Reluctance to Engage with Geoengineering
Three main reasons were advanced by meeting participants for civil society’s relative reticence about discussing climate geoengineering as a climate policymaking option:
- Geoengineering is a dangerous distraction — it redirects attention away from the main drivers of climate change and away from more important types of response.
- Geoengineering is important but simply off the radar — there’s no funding for civil society engagement with the subject, as the science races ahead of public attention.
- Geoengineering is being avoided for strategic reasons — it’s too complex a subject area, and civic society groups are wary about “normalizing the discussion.”
How Should Civil Society Actors Frame Geoengineering?
Some suggested that the dominant framing for geoengineering now is as a “solution” to climate change. Few scientists would make such a claim, but the general public may still construe the promise of geoengineering as “this will make climate change go away and, so, we don’t have to change our behaviors.” A few suggested that, to shift the conversation in productive ways, geoengineering should be characterized publicly as a “terrible choice.” Geoengineering, in other words, can be viewed by civil society organizations as a strategic opening, as a way to bring home the horrors of climate change to policymakers and the public.
Read more on: Civil Society Meeting Report | Forum for Climate Engineering
The full report can be found here.