Physics Today · 2011

Reshaping the energy landscape

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) may play a central role in managing carbon emissions from the power sector and industry, but public support for the technology is unclear. To address this knowledge gap, and to test the use of discrete choice analysis for determining public attitudes, two focus groups and a national survey were conducted in Canada to investigate the public’s perceptions of the benefits and risks of CCS, the likely determinants of public opinion, and overall support for the use of CCS. The results showed slight support for CCS development in Canada, and a belief that CCS is less risky than normal oil and gas industry operations, nuclear power, or coal-burning power plants. A majority of respondents indicate that they would support the use of CCS as part of a greenhouse gas reduction strategy, although it would likely have to be used in combination with energy efficiency and alternative energy technologies in order to retain public support.

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