chapter  Chapter 9
Public perceptions of geoengineering
WithRose Cairns
Pages 4

Given that geoengineering technologies remain for the most part hypothetical ideas, geoengineering research has been described as being at an "upstream" moment. Thus there is a fair degree of consensus that eliciting public perceptions about geoengineering approaches is important, and that it should happen while research in this area is at an early stage. Given that geoengineering technologies remain for the most part hypothetical ideas, geoengineering research has been described as being at an "upstream" moment. First, there is a variety of rationales for eliciting public views about potentially controversial technological developments like geoengineering. Second, different way in which this imagined group called "the public"–a term which Laclau has called an "empty signifier"–are understood or constructed, have implications for the ways in which it would make sense to elicit their views. Third, given that geoengineering technologies do not yet exist, attempts to elicit public perceptions more directly, need to overcome a number of methodological complications and potential pitfalls.