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Scientists criticise handling of pilot project to 'geoengineer' climate

Advisers call into question decision to announce test date before sufficient public discussion of the project's implications

Source:  Copyright 2011, Guardian
Date:  November 17, 2011
Original URL: Status ONLINE
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Governance of the UK's first geoengineering project, which aims to inject particles into the stratosphere to cool the planet, is in need of improvement and researchers should have done more to explain its aims to NGOs and the public, say scientists.

The date and location for the controversial pilot project were announced with great fanfare at the British Science Festival in September, but the scientific advisers to its funding council have criticised the decision to make the test date public before sufficient public discussion about the nature and future implications of the project.

Writing in the journal Nature, Prof Phil Macnaghten, chair of the advisory panel, and Prof Richard Owen, architect of the project's governance process, said that aspects "could have been improved".

"It is vital that we make space to listen to and discuss these questions, and that the debate transparently influences the decisons that are taken," they wrote.

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