Waterlines: Confluence and Hope through Environmental Communication. The 15th biennial Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE). June 17-21, 2019, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Articulating Geoengineering: Identifying an Understanding of Geoengineering Technology through the Crutzen +10 Special Issue Forum

Megan Cullinan's picture
Cullinan, Megan
Category of presentation: 
Scholarly papers

This essay explores the intertextuality, research questions, and lines of argument that climate scientists use to articulate and legitimize research in favor of geoengineering practices. I aim to advance research by scrutinizing a scientific debate through the sample provided by an academic forum: Earth’s Future: Crutzen +10 Special Issue, which highlights how the debates surrounding geoengineering have advanced and changed since the 2006 publication of atmospheric scientist Paul Crutzen’s editorial letter to climate journal Climactic Change. My goal is to better understand how scientists conceptualize what counts as “good science” and how they articulate and argue this in their own work. I employ critical discourse analysis to draw out patterns in the discourse, and make determinations about how geoengineering scientists legitimize their research as valid, necessary, and potentially beneficial to society. I argue that this project serves as a necessary first step toward clarifying how the process of scientific debate influences broader circles (policymakers, the public, and democracy), and the impact that these internal debates have on humans and the more-than-human world (Abram, 1997). This understanding of how decisions are made within technical spheres (Goodnight, 1982) is important for both science communication, environmental communication and activism, public participation, citizen engagement, and democracy at large.