Carbon Capture and Storage in the United States: Perceptions, Preferences, and Lessons for Policy

Carbon Capture and Storage in the United States: Perceptions, Preferences, and Lessons for Policy

Pianta S., Rinscheid A., Weber E.U., (2021), Carbon Capture and Storage in the United States: Perceptions, Preferences, and Lessons for Policy, Energy Policy, Volume 151, April 2021, 112149, DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112149, webpage

Abstract

Although Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies can potentially play an important role in climate change mitigation efforts, commercial CCS projects are still rare. Knowledge about the technical challenges of these technologies is rapidly advancing, but the challenges related to their public acceptance are still underinvestigated. Here we try to close this research gap by investigating public perceptions of CCS and public attitudes towards policies to scale up these technologies in the United States, where most existing industrial-scale CCS projects are operating. Based on a demographically representative sample of US residents, we find that awareness of CCS is very low. Using a conjoint experiment, we show that policies that outlaw the construction of new coal- and gas-fired power plants without CCS find higher public support than CCS subsidies and increases in taxes on unabated fossil fuel power generation. Public support decreases with rising costs of CCS deployment and decreasing minimal distance requirements of CCS plants from residential areas. Our results provide insights into the political feasibility of a large-scale deployment of CCS and show that specific policy design choices play an important role in influencing public support for policies to scale up these technologies.

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