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Extramural Research

Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

Managing Sunlight: Exploring Underrepresented Populations’ Perspectives on Geoengineering

EPA Grant Number: FP917316
Title: Managing Sunlight: Exploring Underrepresented Populations’ Perspectives on Geoengineering
Investigators: Carr, Wylie A
Institution: University of Montana
EPA Project Officer: Zambrana, Jose
Project Period: September 1, 2011 through August 31, 2014
Project Amount: $126,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2011)
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Emerging Environmental Approaches and Challenges: Social Sciences



This research will examine opportunities for expanding public dialog about geoengineering to include broader cultural perspectives. The two primary research questions are: (1) How do populations that are currently underrepresented in discussions about geoengineering, but who may be significantly impacted by various geoengineering research or deployment proposals, feel about geoengineering? (2) How could such populations be more effectively included in future discussions about geoengineering research and governance?


This research will utilize qualitative social science data to answer the primary research questions. Data collection will include indepth interviews and participant observation. Research participants will be selected from regions both within and outside of the United States that current climate models indicate may be significantly impacted by various geoengineering proposals. Data analysis will be informed by sociological theory, more specifically a science and technology studies perspective.

Expected Results:

The results of this research will point towards more inclusive, transparent and democratic modes of public engagement on geoengineering. By incorporating geographically and culturally diverse perspectives, this research will indicate concerns related to geoengineering that have not yet been raised or recognized. This research also will indicate how certain populations that will possibly be significantly impacted by geoengineering can be more effectively included in future discussions about geoengineering research and governance.

Potential to Further Environmental /Human Health Protection

Geoengineering proposals are predominately global in scale, meaning that they have potentially wide ranging impacts on both environmental and human health. Various geoengineering proposals may help to lessen potentially severe impacts from climate change; however, many of the potential impacts to the environment and human health from geoengineering currently are unknown. Additionally, current discussions about geoengineering are primarily limited to scientists and politicians in wealthy, developed nations. This research project is designed to help broaden the discussion about the potential impacts of geoengineering on both human and environmental health to include more diverse perspectives. By diversifying the discussion, this research has the potential to make geoengineering efforts aimed at protecting environmental and human health more transparent and democratic.

Supplemental Keywords:

geoengineering, qualitative social science, public engagement

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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