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Public unconvinced on climate engineering: New Zealand, Australia survey

English.news.cn   2014-01-13 16:16:48            

WELLINGTON, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Members of the public in New Zealand and Australia are strongly opposed to scientific climate engineering to counter the effects of climate change, New Zealand researchers announced Monday.

A trans-Tasman survey by Massey University found "strong negative views" on climate engineering proposals for large-scale manipulation of the environment to combat the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).

Climate engineering could involve techniques that reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere or approaches that slow temperature rise by reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface.

Lead author Professor Malcolm Wright said in a statement that the research consulted large representative samples in both Australia and New Zealand, with 30 in-depth interviews and an on- line survey of more than 2,000 participants.

"The results show that the public has strong negative views towards climate engineering," Wright said.

"Where there are positive reactions, they favor approaches that reduce carbon dioxide over those that reflected sunlight."

Interventions such as putting mirrors in space or fine particles into the stratosphere were not well received.

"More natural processes of cloud brightening or enhanced weathering are less likely to raise objections," he said.

Giving the public a voice so early in technological development was unusual, but increasingly necessary, said Wright.

"If these techniques are developed the public must be consulted. Our methods can be employed to evaluate the responses in other countries, and reapplied in the future to measure changes in public opinion as these potential new technologies are discussed and developed."

Editor: Fu Peng
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