Thursday, July 16, 2009

CCS - Not safe for urban areas ?

Excerpts on this page come from the report below.
To read the entire abstract please click on the link below -

The Role of Social Factors in Shaping Public Perceptions of CCS: Results of
Multi-State Focus Group Interviews in the U.S.

Judith Bradbury1* Isha Ray2 Tarla Peterson3 Sarah Wade4 Gabrielle Wong-Parodi2
Andrea Feldpausch
"Over the last decade, many of the experts and advocates working in climate change have recommended further research into whether carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and sequestration (CCS) may be a viable and important technological response to climate change. However, all new technologies face challenges with respect to social acceptability, especially those that may involve new risks, large-scale infrastructure, and significant government involvement—all features of CCS. Some of the most critical challenges to social acceptability may come from theperceptions and preferences of communities near whom CCS infrastructure may be located. Thus, it is important to evaluate what might explain and influence the views of communities that may be directly impacted by the siting of this technology."

"Public acceptability is recognized as an important aspect of the program; outreach activities and research into public perceptions of the technology are a funded component. This paper reports on a collaborative social research effort among three partnerships—the West Coast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership, (WESTCARB), Southwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (SWP), and the Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP).
Researchers from these three partnerships conducted a series of focus groups in the states of California, Ohio, Texas, New Mexico and a test interview in Washington, D.C. The results were considered for their insights into particular concerns within each region, and they were also compared to see if common themes emerged from the multi-state effort."

"In all cases, social factors, such as existing low socioeconomic status, desire for compensation, benefits to the community and past experience with government were of greater concern than concern about the risks of the technology itself."

"MRCSP selected a community that would be unlikely to host a sequestration project because of population and urban density but was located in a state with significant sequestration potential and historically dependent on coal for electrical power generation. MRCSP conducted two focus groups in Columbus, Ohio."

"The focus group communities differed in demographic characteristics. The WESTCARB and SWP communities were rural; MRCSP’s was urban".
It should be noted that MRCSP's study was done in a urban area with well-educated individuals- a "community that would be unlikely to host a sequestration project because of population and urban density", I question how these individuals could speak for, or reflect,the values of acommunity that must deal with the reality of a CCS project as these projects are clearly put in community's that are rural and have a much different demographic composition.

Additionally, as one who lives in a community that has been selected for a Phase III, large-scale CO2 sequestration experiment, I find it very offensive to suggest that an urban area would be an unlikely host because of "population and urban density" - suggesting their lives, health, safety, environment and economy should have a higher priority than those of us who live in the communities in which these risky experiments are conducted!

Read the entire article here