Ethical attitudes to underground CO2 storage: Points of convergence and potential faultlines

While awareness is growing that ethical and justice-based debates hold implications for the development of fair and effective climate policy, the specific ethical implications of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) deployment have received limited attention. Here, we present a preliminary assessment of ethical attitudes to CCS. The aim was to develop a methodology which can support a clear scoping out of potential issues and to lay the foundations from which to develop a fully deliberative approach. This article draws largely upon the empirical analysis and results with some reference to the method. An ethical matrix approach is used to provide a summary of a so-called ethical landscape, primarily from a European perspective, in which perspectives of CCS are mapped out as they relate to certain ethical principles. Opinions represented on the matrix begin to coalesce around compliance with the principle of providing benefits (a pre-requisite of pursuing development) while potential faultlines were observed for the following principles: environmental justice, preventing harm, scientific/technical competence, managerial/regulatory competence. Accountability (in the context of long term storage) was revealed to present a key challenge, exposing the current immaturity of legal and regulatory frameworks. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.