Carbon Capture and Storage – A Roadmap for Scotland
Public acceptance of CCS is likely to be an important factor in its development as a safe and effective means of reducing CO2 emissions. A number of surveys (Reiner et al16 and Palmgren et al17) suggest that current public perception of CCS is uncertain and unfavourable when compared with other technologies that could help in reducing emissions.
But given the future crucial role that CCS is likely to play, it is important to consider how we can take steps to communicate information which will better inform the public and other key stakeholders about CCS (building upon the wider and connected issue of climate change) by providing unbiased factual and concise information on the role of CCS in reducing emissions.
Governments will have a crucial role in helping to facilitate and encourage engagement and discussion between all the various stakeholders who are likely to be involved in the development of CCS. For example, information and discussions can be held with local communities where projects may be developed.
While Government can play a role, it will be necessary to build a broad coalition comprising of government, Non-Governmental Organisations, academia and industry. It will also be important to ensure that the information provided strikes the necessary balance between being technically robust and ensuring that it is communicated in an engaging and easy to understand manner to the general public. Recent developments in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, often relating to onshore storage, does give us some element of possible advantage in this area, but we need to ensure that some of the key questions likely to be raised regarding leakage and safety are tackled.
The successor project group is currently taking forward some work on considering the issue of public engagement. Given the broad range of interests represented in the Scottish study group, both for the original study and the follow up work, this is an excellent forum for considering proposals in this area. This work is due to be completed by the end of 2010.
16 Reiner*, D.M., et al., American exceptionalism? Similarities and differences in national attitudes toward energy policy and global warming. Environmental Science & Technology, 2006. 40(7): p. 2093-2098.
17 Palmgren, C.R., et al., Initial Public Perceptions of Deep Geological and Oceanic Disposal of Carbon Dioxide. Environmental Science & Technology, 2004. 38(24): p. 6441-6450.