NEARCO2 – New participation and communication strategies for neighbours of CO2 capture and storage operations

CO2 capture and storage is increasingly being considered as a serious option to mitigate climate change. While industry and governments, mostly in North Western Europe, have taken on the effort of realizing large scale CCS operations, the option has started to attract the attention from the larger public as well. The degree to which the public is engaged in the development of CCS operations increases over time, both in terms of stakeholder groups participating, and in the degree to which groups are engaged involved. Important factors shaping public opinions are the trust placed in more knowledgeable stakeholders, the communication media used, and the way the information is framed.

Recently, various surveys on public perceptions of CCS have been carried out to inventory current views on the option, and these have shown that among large groups of stakeholders knowledge on CCS is still limited. The overall objective of this project will therefore be to develop effective strategies to communicate in an objective manner to stakeholders and the public at large the advantages and risks of CO2 capture and storage, and to involve these parties in local decision-making on CCS projects. The focus of this proposal will be on the mechanisms that will determine and influence the attitude of the general public through the CCS lifecycle: from the policy stage, through to planning application and on to deployment.

Sub-objectives of the project include:
– Provide insight into the regulatory contexts and practices in public participation in selected EU Member States, and infer relevance for participation in CCS projects;
– Unravel the factors shaping public opinion in general in so far as these may relate to CCS;
– Develop and assess participation strategies for involving the public in the vicinity of planned CCS operations;
– Develop, test and use multi-media communication materials on CCS to investigate public perceptions.