Norwegians' attitudes towards CCS in Norway were investigated in a Gassnova-sponsored master's thesis by Anders Berg-Hansen, Institute of Psychology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Apparently, Norwegians have a neutral attitude towards this.
"Very few people show strong scepticism or are very positive. Many people are somewhere in the middle, a third of people are completely neutral," says Berg-Hansen.
On a survey in connection with the master's thesis, solar power, wind power and energy-saving equipment scored higher as measures for curbing climate change than CCS. Nuclear power scored lower.
A varied sample
For the survey, 999 Norwegians aged 18-75 answered questions via the internet in June 2010. The questions were partly prepared by Berg-Hansen, and partly based on a questionnaire developed by the research group FENCO-ERA which had previously been used by 7000 individuals in six European countries.
"The support from Gassnova meant I could use an analysis company and reach a much more varied sample than I would have done otherwise," says Berg-Hansen.
In addition to finding out about attitudes towards CCS in Norway, he investigated knowledge of climate issues, climate change and CCS.
Know of it, not about it
"People in Norway have heard about CCS more than in other countries where such surveys have been conducted. This may have something to do with the team having received attention in the news media and political circles," says Berg-Hansen.
More than 70 percent of those who took part in the survey say they have heard of CCS. 86.5 percent answered five of six questions related to CO2 increasing activities and climate change correctly. 68 percent feel we should implement measures against the climate changes.
But actual knowledge about CCS seems to be thin on the ground. Many people mix up different environmental issues. Over 40 percent of participants believe the greenhouse effect to be a result of holes in the atmosphere, and 46.8 percent believe CCS can reduce holes in the ozone layer. 46.8 percent believe it can also reduce acid rain. All this is wrong.
"We see the same tendency to misconceptions in other countries as well," says Berg-Hansen.
Profits speak more loudly
The relationship between perception of risk and profit is a variable often looked at in risk psychology. This was also investigated by Berg-Hansen.
"People's attitudes are usually connected to this. If the risk is perceived to be higher than the profit, attitudes towards a new technology will tend to be negative. If the profit is perceived to be higher, things will be more positive," he says.
People perceive the benefits of CCS as greater than the risks, the study shows. While personal risk is perceived as lowest, the profit to society scores highest.
"The profits are not perceived as very positive, but fairly moderate. Risk is perceived as below average, and lower than in other countries where such surveys have been conducted," says Berg-Hansen.
He thinks it has to do with the fact that Norway wants to store CO2 in the North Sea in stead of on land. In other countries, such as Germany and the Netherlands, the idea is to store CO2 below cities. Strong protests and demonstrations have led to the halting of large projects.
Berg-Hansen is of the opinion that many Norwegians have not yet made up their minds about CCS, and that people are not well-enough informed. This means there are good opportunities for the authorities to influence people's attitudes.
"This should be done by emphasising the benefits of CCS. In addition, more confidence should be built, particularly confidence in the authorities and the industry."
CLIMIT-contact: Liv Lønne Dille, Gassnova, email@example.com