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Perceptions of enhanced weathering as a biological negative emissions option

Pidgeon, Nicholas ORCID: and Spence, Elspeth ORCID: 2017. Perceptions of enhanced weathering as a biological negative emissions option. Biology Letters 13 (4) , 20170024. 10.1098/rsbl.2017.0024

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This paper addresses the social acceptability of enhanced weathering, a technology which would involve spreading silicate particles over terrestrial surfaces in order to boost the biological processes which currently sequester CO2 as part of the earth’s natural carbon cycle. We present the first exploration of British attitudes towards enhanced weathering, using an online survey (n=935) of a representative quota sample of the public. Baseline awareness of weathering was extremely low. Many respondents remained undecided or neutral about risks, although more people support than oppose weathering. Factors predicting support for weathering and its research included feelings about the technology and trust in scientists. Over half of the sample agree that scientists should be able to conduct research into effectiveness and risks, but with conditions also placed upon how research is conducted; including the need for scientific independence, small-scale trials, strict monitoring, risk minimisation, and transparency of results. Public engagement is needed to explore in more detail why particular individuals feel either positive or negative about weathering, and why they believe particular conditions should be applied to research, as part of wider responsible research and innovation processes for biological and other types of negative emissions technologies.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: public perceptions; enhanced weathering; biological negative emissions
Publisher: The Royal Society
ISSN: 1744-9561
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 March 2017
Date of Acceptance: 1 March 2017
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 10:36

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