Research questions

Previous research has covered public awareness of CCS and public opinion about CCS technology.

Research on public awareness has shown that in general public awareness of CCS technology and its implications is limited, although levels of public awareness differ across the EU Member States. However, the general public is likely to become interested if CCS projects are to become operational in their own environments.

Research on determinants of public opinion toward CCS is scant. In particular, little is known about:

  • The type of information the public actually needs in order to establish an opinion.
  • Demographic aspects of public knowledge (age, gender, education) and correlation with level of environmental awareness and motivation to participate
  • Underlying determinants of public opinion and attitudes on CCS, such as the message source, communication channel used, characteristics of the message itself (e.g., risk characterization), characteristics of the process (e.g., procedural justice), context (e.g., history of a planned CCS project site, local contingencies) and finally, characteristics of the public itself (e.g., motivation, ability and opportunity to process information and to participate in debates on CCS).
  • Possibilities to engage the public in decision-making on CCS operations. So far no serious attempts have been made to systematically inventory possible approaches to engage the public in decision-making on CCS operations, nor have principles been defined that would need to be common to any public participation strategy for CCS.

In this project, we address these gaps in the following ways:

  • We will investigate how public opinion of CCS is shaped, which target groups to focus on in the communication of the advantages and risks of CCS, and investigate about which aspects of CCS the public needs information to reach an informed opinion all the implications for society, the local and global environment. These insights will be crucial to effectively involve the general public in any decision making related to CCS projects.
  • We will analyze the regulatory context for public participation, public information needs and mechanisms shaping public opinion. Several of these factors will be studied in-depth.
  • We will derive currently applied strategies for public participation from a number of case studies. These strategies may serve as blueprints for approaches to involve the public in the vicinity of any other newly planned CCS operations, both in countries adjacent to the North Sea and in member states in Southern or Central Europe.

Findings will feed into the development and assessment of public participation strategies and communication materials on CCS. These will eventually be disseminated to local stakeholders and the larger public.