Response to the UK Parliament Energy and Climate Change Committee, Enquiry on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

Simon Shackley, Leslie Mabon , Benjamin Evar

Research output: Other contribution

Abstract

Our submission focuses upon public perceptions of, and engagement with, CCS. This issue has risen in importance since proposed CCS projects at Barendrecht (Netherlands), Beeskow (Germany) and Greenville (USA) stumbled in large part due to public opposition. The proposed Hunterston power plant + partial CCS development in Scotland encountered strong local and NGO opposition and partial CCS at the proposed new Kingsnorth coal power plant did not ameliorate NGO furore. Some claim that offshore CO2 storage will be of no (or minimal) concern to the public but this ignores Brent Spa, the legacy of the Gulf of Mexico drilling disaster, controversies over offshore renewables development, the necessary onshore infrastructure and the importance of values which do not correspond with land/sea boundaries. CCS has become a prism for the playing out of different values about our energy future – to what extent should it depend upon large centralized power plants rather than much more distributed generation? To what extent should it continue to depend upon coal? Will CCS lock us more deeply into the fossil fuel economy, beyond which we urgently need to progress according to many; or might CCS provide us with the breathing-space to develop renewables – a sort of bridge to a genuinely sustainable low-carbon energy future? How long should that bridge be and could it be forever extended as policy makers and industry invest more into expensive fossil fuel and CCS infrastructure? What is the risk of CO2 stores in rock formations leaking? Such questions rapidly emerge when members of the public participate in discussion and focus groups on CCS. Most of these questions cannot be answered by scientists and herein lies a problem since there are precious few avenues for the public to have a debate about what role CCS might have in the near and medium-term future and its relative importance vis-à-vis other low-carbon options such as renewables, energy efficiency, demand reduction and nuclear. We review what is known about public perceptions of CCS and provide recommendations to Government and developers on how to better engage with publics for more resilient decision-making in terms of both process and outcome.
Original languageEnglish
TypeEvidence to E&CC Committee, UK Parliament
Media of outputWebsite
PublisherUK Parliament
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2013

Keywords

  • CCS
  • public perceptions
  • policy needs

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