Of washing machines, plumbing work and thermostats : An analysis of articles on climate engineering in German newspapers

University essay from Lunds universitet/Humanekologi

Abstract: This thesis aimed to identify what arguments are made and who is dominating the discourse about climate engineering in German newspapers. Climate engineering refers to methods that deliberately change the environment as a means to combat climate change. To answer these questions, the author conducted a Critical Discourse Analysis of articles about climate engineering published in German newspapers between January 2015 and March 2019. This analysis shows that the main argument in the articles is that climate engineering is necessary to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels, and thereby advert catastrophic consequences of climate change. At the same time, climate engineering is described as being ignored by politicians and questions related to justice and costs of the implementations are barely mentioned. The discourse is dominated by a small group of predominantly male researchers from Germany and the US, some of which have financial interests in large-scale climate engineering deployment. These findings point to a need for more actors, especially with a clear focus on justice, in the German public discourse about climate engineering to make sure the technologies contribute to achieving climate justice and are not used as an excuse to maintain business as usual.

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