The Nexus of Public Perceptions of Contemporary Energy Technologies in the Face of Climate Change

  • Author / Creator
    Mohammed, Abdul-Hamid
  • The pressure to achieve net-zero CO2 objectives has heightened the need to evaluate energy technologies in Canada, where the oil and gas industry remains essential to the economy. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a component of Canada’s net-zero CO2 strategies and can absorb up to 90% of the CO2 emissions from major point emitters. However, public perception and support for CCS remain controversial. Hydraulic fracturing (HF), on the other hand, is a non-conventional method of extracting oil and natural gas, with growing public concern about its impact on environmental quality and human health. This study investigated the reasons for the heterogeneity in acceptance and support for CCS and HF in Canada. Random effects and latent class models were applied to vignette experimental data to investigate the public's perceptions of CCS as a climate mitigation technology and HF, respectively. Our findings indicate that cross-border import of CO2 for storage has a strong effect on the acceptance of CCS plant scenarios. Consultation, compensation, proximity, knowledge, risks, and trust are key drivers of CCS acceptance. Public perceptions of HF have also varied. Economic benefits to the community, citizen consultation on HF, proximity, and the likelihood and severity of HF-induced seismicity had the largest effects on individuals’ support (ratings) for the proposed HF projects. Supporters of HF tend to be men living in rural areas who have a high level of education and knowledge about the energy sector, whereas HF protesters tend to be college-educated women who are worried about the negative effects of HF. The ratings of HF scenarios by clean energy supporters tend to hinge on proximity, community consultation, and HF-induced seismicity risks. The study concluded that communication efforts to improve public understanding and acceptance of CCS should focus on demystifying the risks of CCS instead of its technicalities and climate mitigation capacity. In addition, prioritising local firms and services in contracts and providing compensation directly to affected individuals can lead to greater public support for HF projects.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2023
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.