Engaging the public with low-carbon energy technologies: Results from a Scottish large group process

Howell, Rhys; Shackley, Simon; Mabon, Leslie; Ashworth, Peta and Jeanneret, Talia (2014). Engaging the public with low-carbon energy technologies: Results from a Scottish large group process. Energy Policy, 66 pp. 496–506.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2013.11.041

Abstract

This paper presents the results of a large group process conducted in Edinburgh, Scotland investigating public perceptions of climate change and low-carbon energy technologies, specifically carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS). The quantitative and qualitative results reported show that the participants were broadly supportive of efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and that there is an expressed preference for renewable energy technologies to be employed to achieve this. CCS was considered in detail during the research due to its climate mitigation potential; results show that the workshop participants were cautious about its deployment. The paper discusses a number of interrelated factors which appear to influence perceptions of CCS; factors such as the perceived costs and benefits of the technology, and people's personal values and trust in others all impacted upon participants’ attitudes towards the technology. The paper thus argues for the need to provide the public with broad-based, balanced and trustworthy information when discussing CCS, and to take seriously the full range of factors that influence public perceptions of low-carbon technologies.

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