Public acceptance of carbon sequestration; impacts of public perception

Sallie E. Greenberg, Judith Bradbury, Sarah M. Wade

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Public perception of carbon capture and geologic sequestration (CCS) is considered a major potential barrier to the implementation of CCS as a climate change mitigation technology. The need for active public engagement is recognized as key to building public understanding and, potentially, acceptance of a largely unknown technology. Yet, informing the public about a subject does not insure acceptance. Formed in 2003, the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium and Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership have been examining issues related to public acceptance of CCS projects throughout the Midwest region while engaging multiple stakeholder groups in outreach about CCS. A theory of social site characterization, a primary means of understanding the social dynamics in a project host community, will be discussed in the context of building public acceptance. Social site characterization, like technical site characterization, seeks to improve processes for project selection and building public acceptance by understanding the social character of a potential sequestration site and by building increased engagement as a project moves toward deployment. Key to the successful deployment of CCS in a community are understanding the economic and social context, understanding the multiple "publics" present, and engaging with different groups within the public. In order to conduct outreach at this level, in-depth work must be undertaken to understand stakeholder groups and multiple public groups near where a project is planned. Concurrently, national and regional CCS general education is needed. Communication about CCS is inherently complicated because it draws on varied disciplines such as, global climate change, geology, energy production, energy consumption, coal, clean coal technologies, environmental protection, and social issues. Legal, regulatory, and financial issues also come to bear in public understanding and acceptance of CCS. Examples of impacts from public reaction to CCS and related topics will be discussed from recent projects throughout the region, including FutureGen, the Illinois Basin-Decatur project, the Michigan Basin Pilot project, the Greenville Ohio project, East Bend project, and R. E. Burger project.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAbstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America
PublisherGeological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States (USA)
ISBN (Print)0016-7592
StatePublished - 2009


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