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But they told us it was safe! Carbon dioxide removal, fracking, and ripple effects in risk perceptions

Cox, Emily ORCID:, Pidgeon, Nick ORCID: and Spence, Elspeth ORCID: 2022. But they told us it was safe! Carbon dioxide removal, fracking, and ripple effects in risk perceptions. Risk Analysis 42 (7) , pp. 1472-1487. 10.1111/risa.13717

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Reaching net‐zero for global greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050 will require a portfolio of new technologies and approaches, potentially requiring direct removal and sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide using negative emissions technologies (NETs). Since energy and climate systems are fundamentally interconnected it is important that we understand the impacts of policy decisions and their associated controversies in other related technologies and sectors. Using a secondary analysis of data from a series of deliberative workshops conducted with lay publics in the United Kingdom, we suggest that perceptions of CO2 removal technologies were negatively impacted by risk perceptions and recent policy decisions surrounding shale gas and fracking. Using the social amplification of risk framework, we argue that heightened risk perceptions have extended via “ripple effects” across these technologies. Participants’ attitudes were underpinned by deeper misgivings regarding the actions and motives of experts and policymakers; a pervasive discourse of “but they told us it was safe” regarding fracking negatively affected people's trust in assurances of the safety and efficacy of CO2 removal. This has the potential to undermine attempts to build societal agreement around future deployment of CO2 removal technologies.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0272-4332
Funders: EPSRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 February 2021
Date of Acceptance: 29 January 2021
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 09:58

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