Monday, January 30, 2017

Science & Technology: Geothermal Energy is Both Clean and Renewable

Clean energy or renewable energy? The label matters! (Energy Transition

A prominent German academic who works in the US is now making the rounds in Germany with a proposal: stop talking about renewables and start talking about “clean energy.” Craig Morris explains why the idea is counterproductive.

Elisabeth Wehling is a linguist working with George Lakoff at the University of California in Berkeley. Lakoff himself has been active in the political sphere since the early 90s at least. His main idea, which Wehling also presents to German audiences, is framing: how you contextualize something affects the debate. The title of Lakoff’s book Don’t think of an elephant itself shows how framing works: once you have said “elephant,” no one can’t think about it. The lesson is that myth-busting reinforces the basic idea claimed even though it is untrue.

Wehling said the Germans should stop talking about “renewables” and start saying “clean energy.” The problem, as the skeptical German journalist points out, is that no one knows what “clean” means.

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