Happy New Year and best wishes for 2014!
A paper on public perceptions of CCS written by my colleagues and I – with input from social scientists at CSIRO in Australia – has just been published in Energy Policy. Our main finding is that public perceptions of CCS, in Scotland at least, come against a backdrop of strong support for renewable energy options.
The paper is based on a large group process we ran in Edinburgh in autumn 2011, where 99 members of the public spent a day learning about climate change, low-carbon energy and CCS with input from expert presenters and facilitators. At the start and end of the day participants were polled on their preferences for different energy options. The study was part of a larger international project, for which similar processes were run in Australia, Canada and the Netherlands.
Key points from the paper are:
- renewables were perceived very favourably by the members of the public in the sample, with mixed opinions towards CCS;
- support for CCS actually appeared to decline over the course of the workshop -although this finding is not unusual and may be attributable to people finding out more about CCS and thus being able to question risks and uncertainties;
- the breadth of factors that can drive public perceptions of energy technologies should never be underestimated, hence public engagement should allow for a broad-based discussion on a range of issues;
- emotions and seemingly ‘irrational’ viewpoints do affect how people feel, and as such should be taken seriously and not shut out of the discussion.
The full paper is at the link below. As always, should you be unable to access this, please contact me and I will arrange for you to view a copy of the text.
The full report on which the paper is based is downloadable from: