In recent years, a number of scientists have proposed global‐scale engineering projects as ways of mitigating global warming. These geo‐engineering schemes would aim either to decrease the amount of sunlight reaching the earth or to increase the absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Such proposals include ocean fertilization, ocean pumps, injecting sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, erecting an array of discs in space, and moving the earth in its orbit. This paper will take a discourse analytic approach to examine how these speculative ideas are reported in the British media. It will pay particular attention to how science is positioned, how credibility is established or undermined, and how journalists signal scepticism, particularly through rhetorical devices such as metaphor and irony. The findings will be related to the broader issue of the media representation of scientific appeals to technological salvation.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Technological salvation
Geo‐engineering in the British media

Felicity Mellor   Imperial College London

In recent years, a number of scientists have proposed global‐scale engineering projects as ways of mitigating global warming. These geo‐engineering schemes would aim either to decrease the amount of sunlight reaching the earth or to increase the absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Such proposals include ocean fertilization, ocean pumps, injecting sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, erecting an array of discs in space, and moving the earth in its orbit. This paper will take a discourse analytic approach to examine how these speculative ideas are reported in the British media. It will pay particular attention to how science is positioned, how credibility is established or undermined, and how journalists signal scepticism, particularly through rhetorical devices such as metaphor and irony. The findings will be related to the broader issue of the media representation of scientific appeals to technological salvation.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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