Journal Article

Don't send us your waste gases: Public attitudes toward international carbon dioxide transportation and storage in Europe

Energy Research & Social Science, 87 (102450)

Large-scale deployment of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is part of the pathways for limiting global warming to 1.5C and yet, negative public perceptions of CCS have challenged the realization of several projects in Europe over the last decade. This study is the first to look at the effect of exporting or importing CO2 on public perceptions. We conducted a fractional factorial survey experiment in Germany and Norway varying the nationality of the CO2 source and of the storage site of a hypothetical CCS project. We find that respondents from both countries do not evaluate offshore and onshore storage differently but otherwise we find substantial differences between countries. Norwegian respondents react to the experimental manipulation: despite an overall more positive attitude toward CCS, they evaluate a project where foreign sourced CO2 is stored in Norway substantially more negatively compared to a project where domestically sourced CO2 is stored in Norway. By contrast, German respondents are not affected by the variation of the nationality of emissions or the storage site. We connect this finding to construal level theory, arguing that Germans are more psychologically distanced from CCS than Norwegians due to differences in general familiarity with CCS and the political support for CCS; this makes them less sensitive to our experimental manipulation. The uncovered decrease in public support for CCS when CO2 is exported from Germany to Norway challenges the feasibility of the current plans of Northern European states for a CO2 transport and storage infrastructure.

Authors

Åsta Dyrnes Nordø
Gisle Andersen
Ole Martin Lægreid
Endre Tvinnereim