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Perspectives on Carbon Capture and Sequestration in the United States


Overall, this dissertation examines a sequence of important interconnected issues: the perspectives of potential and actual CCS host communities, the perspectives of the environmental community on the rationality of CCS as viable mitigation solution for the United States, and strategies for engaging with the public on CCS. Much of the research in this dissertation is original work addressing major interdisciplinary gaps in existing literature as well as in industry and government public engagement practice. Each of the chapters is a stand-alone paper that provides a unique contribution to a series of different types of carbon management technologies and academic disciplines. They are assembled together to provide a unique integrated evaluation of these related problems. Collectively, these chapters capture some of the major challenges facing mitigation technology engagement from the potentially time consuming need for careful social site characterization to the opportunities for using citizen-guided marketing methods to identify factors that may enhance effective public engagement.

Chapters 2 and 3 are essays on the perspectives of potential and actual CCS host communities. Chapter 2 finds that host communities in California's Central Valley are more concerned with the social risks of hosting a CCS project (e.g. fear of neglect should something go wrong) rather than with the technical risks of the technology. Chapter 3 finds that host communities across the US are more concerned with social risks, and want a say in how those risks should be mitigated. This Chapter concludes with a discussion of how a `social site characterization' conducted along side a traditional site characterization when evaluating the potential for a CCS project may be a good way to both encourage positive relationships with community members and mitigate potential concerns.

Chapter 4 is an essay on the perspectives of the environmental community towards the potential of CCS as a viable mitigation solution in the US. This Chapter shows that environmental non-governmental organizations' position on CCS falls into one of four camps who believe: CCS should be developed and deployed in the near-term (Enthusiasts), CCS should be studied (Prudents), CCS will likely need to be deployed but only as a last resort (Reluctants), and CCS should not be deployed (Opponents). This Chapter finds that only Enthusiasts plan on educating the public about the technology in the near-term, however their ability to influence the public may be limited because they are more adept at targeting policymakers (not as experienced with the public) and receive much of their funding from industry (not seen as particularly trustworthy).

In this dissertation, Chapter 5 is an essay on using citizen-guided emotional messages about CCS as a way to effectively communicate with the energy veteran public. This Chapter finds that Wyoming citizens believe information about CCS presented within an emotionally self-referent framework is likely to be a more persuasive way to garner support for or rejection of the technology amongst the Wyoming public than just the presentation of the same information alone.

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