UKCCSC Theme D – Social processes in relation to CCS

This work programme will explore the broader social and political implications of, and conditions for, the implementation of CCS technology through the engagement of specific stakeholder and public groups.

Page contents:

  • D1 – Media and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
  • D2 – Stakeholder Analysis and Business Model
  • D3 – Responsiveness to Events

D1 Media and Non-Governmental Organisations

Leader: Sarah Mander, University of Manchester

While there is ongoing work in public perceptions (Shackley et al, 2004; Curry et al 2004), and, to a lesser extent, in assessing NGO and industry perceptions, the role of the media has received scant attention. The way in which the media report any new technology can radically affect the success of its implementation – how it is received by the public and other stakeholders as well as decision-makers in government and business. Potential risks of a new technology can be subject to ‘risk amplification’ (Pidgeon et al. 2003) as a consequence of media reports. The language used to describe the technology and the associated risks also can have an effect on public discourse. This work package aims to understand how media representatives perceive CCS within the broader energy and environmental debate, what processes affect these perceptions and what key risk issues journalists may seize upon. Equally important is the role NGOs play in the introduction of a new technology. We will convene three structured workshops: one at a national scale involving high level print and broadcast media representatives to be held in London and two regional workshops involving representatives of the local press and community groups. We will select two different regions likely to be most affected by the adoption of CCS and explore the responses of the NGO community in these regions. The workshops will be cooperative and interactive allowing the content to respond to the needs and concerns of participants and to accommodate developments in the research and political landscape.

D2 Stakeholder Analysis and Business Model

Leader: David Reiner, University of Cambridge

A critical question to the future of CCS will be the path to commercialisation, which requires an assessment of the political, institutional and firm drivers. Potential business models for generation, capture, transport, and storage include:

  1. a purely private model,
  2. a sectoral model where one or more components is developed as part of an intra-industry consortium,
  3. publicly-owned pipelines or reservoirs, licensed or leased to private entities.

The model chosen will depend critically on the incentives provided by government and perceptions by industry of the public acceptability, economic viability and likely incentives of alternative strategies. The first question is whether CCS fits into the current business model used by the oil and gas industry and the electric utility industries that would take the lead in developing CCS. The assessment must also take into account exogenous forces including the development of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in the North Sea, the carbon price that emerges from the first and second periods of the EU ETS and from the Kyoto process (and emerging estimates for subsequent. periods) Interviews will be conducted with key stakeholders that will influence the process, including those in industry, government, and NGOs. After alternative models have been developed, a stakeholder forum will be held to test the desirability of the various alternatives and look at the barriers and opportunities associated with each model.

D3 Responsiveness to Events

Leader: David Reiner, University of Cambridge

The time horizon of the project (2005-2008) coincides with a critical period in the evolution of CCS. Addressing climate change, inevitably including CCS, will be a key theme of the UK’s G8 Presidency. The IPCC Special Report will be published in 2005 setting the stage for consideration of the role of CCS in the international framework, as the rules for the first Kyoto commitment period are finalised and the second commitment period negotiated. The first period of the EU emissions trading scheme will be completed and the second phase commencing. The strategy set out in the UK Energy White Paper will also face re-evaluation, with inevitable calls for new investment in nuclear power. Prospective EOR activities in the North Sea will confront critical decision points. Pilot projects in the US, Norway, Algeria, and elsewhere will begin to yield results. Each event will yield observable results in terms of media coverage, shifts in government policy and changes in attitudes of the public and of key opinion leaders. Specifying the specific trigger in advance is impossible, but at least one such opportunity will likely present itself each year. Monitoring baseline views via media analysis will allow the team to analyse resulting shifts in media coverage, corporate investment, or government policy or incentives.