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This article is about engineering and geosciences. For intervention in the Earth’s climate system, see climate engineering.

Geoengineering, geological engineering, engineering geology, or geotechnical engineering deals with the discovery, development, and production and use of subsurface earth resources, as well as the design and construction of earth works. Geoengineering is the application of geosciences, where mechanics, mathematics, physics, chemistry, and geology are used to understand and shape our interaction with the earth. Geoengineers work in areas of (1) mining, including surface and subsurface excavations, and rock burst mitigation; (2) energy, including hydraulic fracturing and drilling for exploration and production of water, oil, or gas; (3) infrastructure, including underground transportation systems and isolation of nuclear and hazardous wastes; and (4) environment, including groundwater flow, contaminant transport and remediation, and hydraulic structures.

Professional geoscience organizations such as the American Rock Mechanics Association or the Geo-Institute and academic degrees such as the bachelor of geoengineering accredited by ABET acknowledge the broad scope of work practiced by geoengineers and stress fundamentals of science and engineering methods for the solution of complex problems. Geoengineers study the mechanics of rock, soil, and fluids to improve the sustainable use of earth’s finite resources, where problems appear with competing interests, for example, groundwater and waste isolation, off-shore oil drilling and risk of spills, natural gas production and induced seismicity.

Widespread concern has arisen that the concept of geoengineering presents a moral hazard, particularly in relation to climate engineering.[1] The UK government has called for the regulation of geoengineering based on a grade which considers factors including the trans-boundary effects, hazardous materials dispersion and effects on ecosystems.[2]

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  1. ^ Lenton, Timothy M.; Naomi E. Vaughan (2012). "Introduction". Geoengineering Responses to Climate Change: Selected Entries from the Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 1. ISBN 146145770X. Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Science and Technology Committee (2010). The Regulation of Geoengineering: Fifth Report of Session 2009-10, Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence. The Stationery Office. p. 3. ISBN 0215544919. Retrieved 20 April 2015.