Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What do your newspapers say about geoengineering?

By Oscar A. Escobar

Note: This is the english form of the article "¿Que dicen tus periódicos sobre la geoingeniería?

“Typically, surveys of public opinion find that less than 5 % of respondents claim any substantive knowledge about the issue, although a somewhat higher number are able to offer a broadly accurate definition of the term ‘climate engineering’ (Mercer et al. 2011).”
From: Like artificial trees? The effect of framing by natural analogy on public perceptions of geoengineeringAdam Corner & Nick Pidgeon (May 2014) [1]
Although there is a very short and incomplete definition for ‘geoingeniería’ or ‘ingenieria climatica’ in Wikipedia  (written by me) the term ‘geoingenieria’ has no meaning in the dictionary from the ‘Real Academia Española’ (RAE)

A search in (RAE) results in a message saying that the word is not in the dicctionary.
Given that the concept itself has no official ‘word’ and much less a definition in the spanish language I would think that for spanish speaking societies the number of people with ‘any substantive knowledge about the issue’ would be far below 5%.

Searches on Google ngram viewer for the term ‘geoingenieria’ and the term ‘captura de carbono’ also yield zero results.                  

These terms (‘geoingenieria’ and ‘captura de carbono’) and their concepts may appear in some articles, studies or books. But searches on various Spanish speaking written newspapers in the majority of cases yield zero returns; with very few exceptions e.g. El País (Spain) [2], ABC (Spain) [3], El Universal (Mexico) [4].

It is notable that carbon capture and sequestration (captura y almacenamiento de carbono) technologies are being developed in some Ibero-American countries e.g. Mexico, [5] Brazil [6] and in Spain [7] as well, but the term geoengineering (geoingenieria) is being carefully avoided, no doubt for fear of negative backlash, and aided by the lack of official language concepts.

But to be fair, here in the United States, ‘news purveyors’ of high profile e.g. The Drudge Report also seem to be involved in a concerted effort to not-to-inform the public.

Over the past two years repeated searches on the Drudge Report web site with the term ‘geoengineering’ netted zero results. This continues to be the case as of today May 21, 2014

Searching for the term ‘geo engineering’ yields 2 results:

STUDY: Geo-engineering solutions for 'global warming' ineffective... ^
From the February 25, 2014 19:20:47 GMT edition of the Drudge Report.

STUDY: Geo-engineering proposals for 'global warming' ineffective... ^
From the February 25, 2014 18:20:28 GMT edition of the Drudge Report.

Alas, following the links, a message indicating that the page does not exist or it is unavailable.

Searching for ‘carbon capture’, ‘carbon sequestration, ‘beccs’, ‘biochar’or ‘afforestation’ also yields zero results.

A search for ‘biofuel’ yielded 14 results dating from 2007 to 2014.

16:20 pm May 21, 2014 Update- 

Searching for 'climate engineering' nets 1 result with an active link:

'Human Engineering' Could Combat Climate Change... ^
From the March 12, 2012 21:20:35 GMT edition of the Drudge Report.

End of update. 

Efforts like these by the fossil fuel industry, or entities supportive of it and from its detractors as well, to keep the public ‘un-informed’ reek of manipulation.

This should be unacceptable.

It is for that reason that efforts to not only ‘open up’ the global-public’s participation in the geoengineering debate, but to also intelligently inform that debate should be welcomed, regardless of how averse ‘we’ may feel towards the issue.

Thus, even though no single technology has been scientifically proven to be safe and feasible, climate engineering has moved from the realm of science fiction to concrete political, academic and economic considerations.“Climate engineering thus warrants attention from Pacific island and other states for two reasons. First, given the possible severity of climate impacts, a sober and serious consideration is needed regarding the potentials, limits and risks of climate engineering. Second – and perhaps more importantly to be informed and able to make sound decisions should the Pacific island states be approached by governments, business people, activists, or others (including scientists in search of research platforms) with regard to the topic.”
Workshop Report - Perspectives on Climate Engineering from Pacific Small Island States [9]

So, let us hope for the vigorous, civil and well informed ‘climate geoengineering’ debate!
And in all languages!

Conscious of my limitations as a ‘lay person’ but hoping to contribute to the debate in a positive way, I have written this post, prompted by a general invitation that appears in the Washington Geoengineering Consortium web site [8] for articles and publications, in spanish, on the subject of ‘geoingenieria’.

An invitation that is certainly welcomed and accepted!

Below the references I have included translations to some articles and links to other sites, as well as a few of my own perspectives from the blog.

Best regards,

Oscar Escobar
A #Geoengineering #Climate Issues Blog – Geoingeniería (A biligual blog)

[1] Like artificial trees? The effect of framing by natural analogy on public perceptions of geoengineering
[2] ‘geoingeniería’ search @ Diario el País (Spain)
[3] ‘geoingeniería’ search @ (Spain)
[4] ‘geoingeniería’ search @ El Universal (Mexico)
[5] Proteak – Captura de Carbono – (Aforestation - Mexico)
[6] Petrobras Lula Oil Field CCS Project (CO2 enhanced oil recovery Brasil)
[7] Fundación Ciudad de la Energía (CIUDEN) (“is the main public sponsor in Spain of capture, transport and geological storage of CO2 technologies”)
[9] Perspectives on Climate Engineering from Pacific Small Island States
Beyerl, K., Maas, A. ( Eds. ) (2014): Perspectives on Climate Engineering from Pacific Small Island States. - IASS Working Paper, April 2014, 10.2312/iass.2014.008.

Geoingeniería : Un breve historial (Traducción libre de artículo en la revista Foreingn Policy - Septiembre - Octubre 2013)

20 razones por las que la geoingeniería podría ser una mala idea (Traducción libre)

Cruz Roja/Media Luna Roja, Centro sobre el Clima. Geoingeniería: encontrar una voz para los trabajadores humanitarios (Traducción libre)

Profecías auto realizadas de la Geoingeniería y otros argumentos caducos en contra de su investigación (Opinion)

En detrimento de los estudios de geoingeniería: Apocalipsis-mo vs. Paliativismo (Opinion)

Una alternativa más segura que la Gestión de Radiación Solar ( Geoingeniería) para combatir el Cambio Climático-Calentamiento Global


MIT Technology Review (Español) (occasional geoengineering articles, carbon capture, bioenergy, etc.)

Environment 360 (Español) (occasional geoengineering articles, carbon capture, bioenergy, etc.)

RAM 3ª Etapa (Magazine for the meteorology aficionado) (occasional articles)
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A #Geoengineering #Climate Issues blog - Geoingeniería by Oscar and Jocelyn Escobar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.Licencia Creative Commons
A #Geoengineering #Climate Issues blog por Oscar y Jocelyn Escobar se distribuye bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial 4.0 Internacional.