Public perceptions of Carbon Capture and Storage technology in Alberta: Applying an integrative framework

Date created
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has emerged as a technological option for meeting greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets in the Canadian province of Alberta. Public support is likely to affect the feasibility of widespread implementation of CCS projects. This study explores citizens’ perceptions of CCS, including knowledge, and stated support, and develops a method to characterize their attitudes towards CCS using a framework that includes psychological factors, values, environmental concerns, and socio-demographic variables. A web-based survey was conducted with a representative sample of Alberta citizens (n=1076) in 2013. The data suggest that respondents’ knowledge of CCS has increased over the last decade, though climate change knowledge remains limited. The majority (53%) of respondents support the use of CCS, and 85% consider CCS at least “somewhat important” for inclusion in the province’s emissions-reduction strategy. A minority of respondents (18%) are opposed to CCS. Regression analysis reveals that respondent support for CCS is associated with perceptions of outcome efficacy (belief that CCS is a useful climate change mitigation strategy), trust in the regulator and industry, and distributive fairness. Respondent support is also associated with beliefs of several benefits of CCS implementation, including the ability to balance economic development with emissions reductions, the continued ability to use fossil fuels, and the potential to export CCS technology to other countries in the future. On the other hand, respondent opposition to CCS is associated with perceptions of risk, including concern about potential groundwater contamination and that CCS would potentially displace investments in renewable energy. These empirical insights suggest that CCS outreach and engagement efforts could be enhanced by carefully considering citizen perceptions.
Copyright statement
Copyright is held by the author.
The author granted permission for the file to be printed, but not for the text to be copied and pasted.
Scholarly level
Attachment Size
etd8626_KMascarenhas.pdf 1.86 MB