• Peer-Reviewed
Environmental Science & Technology · 2004

Initial Public Perceptions of Deep Geological and Oceanic Disposal of Carbon Dioxide

Claire R. Palmgren, M. Granger Morgan, Wändi Bruine de Bruin, and David W. Keith

Two studies were conducted to gauge likely public perceptions of proposals to avoid releasing carbon dioxide from power plants to the atmosphere by injecting it into deep geological formations or the deep ocean. Following a modified version of the mental model interview method, Study 1 involved face-to-face interviews with 18 nontechnical respondents. Respondents shared their beliefs after receiving basic information about the technologies and again after getting specific details. Many interviewees wanted to frame the issue in the broader context of alternative strategies for carbon management, but public understanding of mitigation strategies is limited. The second study, administered to a sample of 126 individuals, involved a closed-form survey that measured the prevalence of general beliefs revealed in study 1 and also assessed the respondent’s views of these technologies. Study results suggest that the public may develop misgivings about deep injection of carbon dioxide because it can be seen as temporizing and perhaps creating future problems. Ocean injection was seen as more problematic than geological injection. An approach to public communication and regulation that is open and respectful of public concerns is likely to be a prerequisite to the successful adoption of this technology.

Related Content