Following on from the IEAGHG 5th Social Research Network Meeting on ‘2015 Energy Transformations and the Role of Social Science,’ the UKCCSRC Workshop ‘Issues of Governance and Ethics of CCS: Setting the Research Agenda’ took place at St. Catharine’s College, the University of Cambridge, on 7th July 2015. This workshop brought together a truly international group of social scientists, scholars and researchers, as well as practitioners, who work on CCS or other complimentary areas. Whilst often treated as an add-on at more traditional CCS meetings, were the focus is primarily on more scientific and technical issues related to CCS, this workshop provided a unique and much needed opportunity to delve much deeper into the governance and social issues. Following a briefing on the key messages from the previous day, David Reiner from the University of Cambridge welcomed those in attendance to a very informative and productive day of learning and discussion. David’s sentiments were then echoed by Claire Gough from Manchester University’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, who brought everyone up to date on the feedback from the previous UKCCSRC social research meeting and set the scene for the day’s activities, whilst encouraging open discussion and aspirations for future CCS research in the social sciences. Topics and discussions addressed the international, national and local governance issues of CCS, the perspectives of and interactions between the multitude of CCS stakeholders and issues related to the interface between CCS technologies and their societal impact.
Beginning with a truly global context, Tim Dixon from the IEAGHG R&D Programme provided an introduction to the current status of international CCS projects and recent policy developments. Throughout the day this international theme continued with Peta Ashworth from the University of Queensland sharing the latest developments on CCS from the Australian finance and environment NGO sectors. Karl McAlinden from the University of Nottingham introduced his work on the diffusion of CCS through international cooperation and CCS adoption by Chinese stakeholders. Emma ter Mors, from Leiden University introduced the comparative preferences of Dutch citizens and local government authorities on CCS-related compensation. Attendees were also able to learn from Elin Lerum Boasson from the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo, via video conferencing, of the historical and current developments and challenges of CCS in Norway. Stepping in at short notice, Jennifer Roberts from the University of Strathclyde introduced recent activities from the Scottish ClimateXchange on mini-publics and citizens’ juries on wind farm development in Scotland. Of particular importance was how such international knowledge, learning and activities could be shared and adapted to the global CCS context, which may lead the way for interesting discussions on new directions of CCS research activities. This theme was then continued by Nils Markusson from the Lancaster Environment Centre at the Lancaster University who introduced climate engineering, whilst drawing comparisons with CCS as technical climate fixes. Whilst not only providing an important forum to learn of global and local developments of CCS and current CCS research in the social sciences over the past year, this meeting facilitated an invaluable opportunity for all attendees to discuss issues in a public forum and to build connections during networking sessions. These activities will undoubtedly build upon current CCS research and inspire future interesting opportunities in the social sciences.