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Framing effects on public support for carbon capture and storage

Whitmarsh, Lorraine, Xenias, Dimitrios and Jones, Christopher R 2019. Framing effects on public support for carbon capture and storage. Palgrave Communications 5 , 17. 10.1057/s41599-019-0217-x

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Abstract

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) involves trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) from power generation and heavy industrial processes and directing it into long-term geological storage (e.g., in depleted oil fields or saline aquifers). In doing so, CCS could facilitate global carbon abatement efforts. Yet, it remains controversial with high-profile public opposition to particular CCS developments. For instrumental, normative and substantive reasons, it is increasingly recognised that public acceptance of CCS as a vital precondition for its commercial-scale rollout. While much is known about factors influencing public support for CCS, relatively few cross-national studies have so far been undertaken. Here, we present findings from a large-scale international experimental study of public perceptions of CCS, to examine how individual, geographical and informational factors influence support for CCS. In particular, we compare the lens through which CCS is seen – as a ‘techno-fix’ climate change solution, as reusing a waste product (through Carbon Dioxide Utilisation [CDU]), or as part of a systemic approach to climate change mitigation. Pairing CCS with CDU led to higher support for CCS, although information frames interacted with national and individual-level factors. Depending on which CCS lens is chosen, different groups will be more or less likely to support CCS implementation. As with other issues, targeting CCS information to audience values is likely to be more effective than untargeted communication. Our findings also show mentioning (modest) costs of deploying CCS can lead to lower support. Discussing CCS costs should be done in the context of costs of broader energy system transformation and of not mitigating climate change so that the public can deliberate over the relative risks and benefits of CCS and alternatives in the context of broader sustainability pathways.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan: Palgrave Communications / Palgrave Macmillan
ISSN: 2055-1045
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 January 2019
Date of Acceptance: 20 December 2018
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2019 16:39
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/118212

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