#NegativeEmissions. Can Twitter publics participate in climate policy assessments?

Dr Laurie Waller (3S Research Group, UEA)

3S Seminar, 14th October, 16:00-17:00 BST on MS Teams (please email Mandy Harmer <Amanda.Hamer@uea.ac.uk> if you would like to attend, an invite will be sent the day before the seminar).

The large-scale removal of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CDR) is a central focus of contemporary climate policy. Assessing the “real-world” feasibility of future climate scenarios involving CDR is a priority not only for governments signed up to the Paris Agreement but for many social actors and publics concerned about climate change. What role can digital platforms like Twitter play in climate policy assessments? 

This presentation will report the preliminary results of research using Twitter to study two CDR approaches: afforestation and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). This research was developed within the multi-university FAB-GGR project, assessing the feasibility of afforestation and BECCS, hosted in the School of Environmental Sciences and involving researchers from both the Science, Society and Sustainability (3S) research group and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. Our mixed-methods approach combined an analysis of 18 months of data collected from Twitter about afforestation and BECCS with interviews involving 12 interdisciplinary researchers from across the FAB-GGR project.

The presentation will examine the kinds of engagement with afforestation and BECCS that take place on Twitter. I will show some interactive “issue mapping” visualisations used in interviews with the CDR researchers and discuss the role that different platform metrics and styles of visualisation can play in making CDR issues visible. The talk will offer some reflections on how the partial forms of public debate that emerge on digital platforms, like Twitter, might be deployed as an experimental resource for climate policy assessments.