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Public Perceptions of CCS: the results of NearCO2 European Focus Groups
Upham, P.; Roberts, T.; Best - Waldhober, M. de; Brunsting, S.; Desbarats, J.; Duetschke, E.; Oltra, C.; Reiner, D.; Riesch, H.
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Policy Studies 1-1-2011
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-O--11-064 Other
Number of pages: Full text:
32 Download PDF  

This report presents the findings from a study into European public perceptions of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) as determined through six focus groups, one held in each of the UK, the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Belgium and Spain. The development of opinion and the emergence of concerns were observed via phased exposure to a specially-commissioned DVD, which provided an overview of CCS technology, its rationale and associated debates, supplemented by additional information on national energy mixes. In general there was a high level of commonality in opinion and concerns across the six countries, with only minor differences. The concerns that emerged were not allayed by the information provided. On the contrary, there was evidence of a shift from initial uncertainty about CCS to negative positions. CCS was generally seen as an uncertain, end-of-pipe technology that will perpetuate fossil-fuel dependence. Furthermore, the participants were far from convinced that CO2 can be stored securely for thousands of years. We infer that the case for CCS as a bridging tool to a lower carbon future, and reassurance on the risks posed by CO2 leakage, will need to be made convincingly if the general public are going to accept CCS. The research also revealed that the majority of the participants were unfamiliar with the concept of CCS and sceptical of information that they consider originating from industry or government. An essential, though challenging lesson for communicating information about CCS is the need to improve the level of trust between the general public and the key advocates of CCS, namely government and industry.

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