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New Book: The Social Dynamics of Carbon Capture and Storage, edited by Nils Markusson, Simon Shackley and Benjamin Evar.
CO2 capture and storage (CCS) is a technology system designed to remove the carbon dioxide from flue gas emissions of power plants and large industrial processes in the chemicals and metals sectors, and store it in the deep geology (800m and deeper) in porous rock formations. The technology has been advocated by scientists, engineers and policymakers as an essential part of the global climate change mitigation solution.
Different reasons have been proposed for why CCS is needed, for example the likely continued reliance on fossil fuel energy and energy intensive-industries in decades to come and the potential for CCS to act as a bridge; towards inherently low-carbon, low-cost renewable energy. However, this kind of reasoning is also seen as controversial, in part because it legitimates the continued use of fossil fuels and raises the spectre of reinforcing lock-in to fossil fuels use for decades to come, may reallocate resources away from renewable technologies (wind, solar, biomass, wave), and in part because it opens up a new debate on costly infrastructure for carbon removal.
Responding to such concerns, local communities in the Netherlands, Germany and the USA have all campaigned against CO2 storage demonstration (and even research) projects being placed in their neighbourhoods. Public resistance was totally unanticipated by the industry. Hence there has been a rear-guard action in the past few years to engage the public, an activity that has created its own tensions as developers' instinct is to control and circumscribe public participation. Among environmental groups, different positions for and against the technology can be observed, such as the principled opposition of the Climate Camp social movement and NGOs such as Greenpeace, which contrasts with the pragmatic values of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in the USA.
Most people in the CCS field agree that the technology is now facing a tough time. From setbacks to planned demonstration projects, a dearth of financing from industry and national governments, and a heated debate on the responsibility and size of long-term liabilities, the future of CO2 capture and storage now appears to be far more uncertain than just a couple of years ago. A shortfall of cash is not particularly remarkable in times when the global economy is strained. Yet, it is interesting to observe how the CCS community is coping with this challenge and others. Such observations can also help identify best practice and lead to insights about where the field might be heading.
In a series of chapters written by social scientists, all of who have researched issues in CCS for years, The Social Dynamics of Carbon Capture and Storage explains the key drivers and debates which account for the shaping of the technology and how it has arrived at its present juncture. It considers the roles of key turning-points such as the 2005 publication of the landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report in providing a case for CCS; the iconic status of successful and attempted projects within the scientific community; the ways that the EU CCS Directive has shaped debates on liability and evidence of safe storage; and other major events that have promoted the technology or acted as stumbling blocks to a larger fleet of projects being rolled out worldwide.
However, social science analysis is often interested in more than simply pointing out the immediate challenges facing science, technology and policy communities and is more generally engaged with the matter of how different stakeholders set the terms of a debate, and how social action shapes technology. The book therefore also asks how governments, scientists, industry and NGOs have portrayed the prospects for CCS over the years; how research foci have evolved; why people may oppose local projects; how uncertainty in science is translated into risk in regulation; how actors learn from demonstration projects, and energy and climate change policy discourse fits with practical innovation challenges. In short, this book aims to put humans and the institutions they create centre stage in the unfolding CCS story.
While a number of collaborators have contributed with their own distinctive voices, the editors argue that the technology is undergoing a crisis and will need to find new rationales, applications and support among diverse social groups – more wide-ranging than those who have currently engaged with it. Until now, CCS policy has been dominated by a technocratic, expert-driven push, moderated by the dominant neo-liberal economic ideology of the last three decades. However, this approach is increasingly challenged in a number of arenas as politicians struggle to create policy frameworks that favour 'cost-effective' low-carbon technologies, often imagined as the product of bottom-up innovations. The reality is that innovation in CCS will require significant sources of public funding - hence high-level political support that includes the key power-brokers in a given political context. The position of CCS in relation to key societal agendas, including sustainability, energy security, energy poverty and equity, global governance and democracy itself may therefore have to evolve, to create wider support for the technology. The technology itself may have to change in the process.
This book will therefore be of interest to anyone who is engaged with the study of energy technologies, carbon reduction and climate change policy more widely, and concerned with questions about the political, policy and social context in which the technology develops and is governed.
The Social Dynamics of Carbon Capture and Storage: Understanding CCS Representations, Governance and Innovation, is published by Routledge in The Earthscan Science in Society Series and is also available from Amazon in both hardcover and paperback versions.
Markusson, N., Shackley, S. and Evar, B. (Eds.) (2012) The social dynamics of carbon capture and storage: Understanding representation, governance and innovation, Routledge, London and New York.
Table of contents
1 Introduction, Nils Markusson, Simon Shackley and Benjamin Evar
2 An introduction to key developments and concepts in CCS: history, technology, economics and law, Benjamin Evar, Chiara Armeni and Vivian Scott
PART I - Perceptions and representations
3 Introduction to Part I – Perceptions and representations, Nils Markusson and Simon Shackley
4 Public understanding of and engagement with CCS, Judith A. Bradbury
5 Colonizing the future: the case of CCS, Anders Hansson
6 Beyond ‘for or against’: environmental NGO-evaluations of CCS as a climate change solution, Olaf Corry and Hauke Riesch
PART II - Governance
7 Introduction to Part II – Governance, Simon Shackley
8 The evolving international CCS community, Jennie C. Stephens and Yue Liu
9 Up and down with CCS: the issue-attention cycle and the political dynamics of decarbonisation, Simon Shackley and Benjamin Evar
10 Technology management in the face of scientific uncertainty: a case study of the CCS Test Centre Mongstad, Benjamin Evar and Simon Shackley
PART III - Innovation
11 Introduction to Part III – Innovation, Nils Markusson
12 CCS: a disruptive technology for innovation theory, Mark Winskel
13 Learning in CCS demonstration projects: social and political dimensions, Nils Markusson, Atsushi Ishii and Jennie C. Stephens
14 Conclusions, Nils Markusson, Simon Shackley and Benjamin Evar
Nils Markusson, PhD has 16 years’ experience in the area of innovation and technology studies. After working for the Swedish government, he undertook a PhD at the University of Edinburgh on cleaner technology and firm organisation. He currently works as a Research Associate at the Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage research centre at the University of Edinburgh on several projects on aspects of CCS innovation. Throughout he has sought to understand how we use technology in society with as little environmental impact as possible, and what policy is needed to that end. He has published in journals such as Global Environmental Change, Energy Policy and Journal of Cleaner Production.
Simon Shackley, PhD has a long-standing interest in low-carbon technologies with a special interest in carbon dioxide capture, removal and storage – both via CCS and biochar. He has undertaken a number of public and stakeholder CCS perception and engagement studies in the UK and is interested in how to design projects to more effectively incorporate community preferences. He is also interested in the relationship between energy and climate policy, particularly the appropriate balance between market-based, community and government-led mechanisms.
Benjamin Evar is a PhD student at the Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage research centre at the University of Edinburgh. His research focuses on emerging trends in carbon dioxide capture and storage governance, and the role of expert advice in technology policy. During his PhD he has worked as a research consultant for the Scottish Government on behalf of the Global CCS Institute and contributed to research on public perceptions of CCS for the International Energy Agency. He has previous experience as a management and research consultant and holds an MSc with distinction in Carbon Management from the University of Edinburgh.
Chiara Armeni is an environmental lawyer and has been a Research Associate with the University College London Carbon Capture Legal Programme (CCLP) since 2009. She holds degrees in Comparative Law (LLB), Public International Law (LLM) and Environmental Law and Policy (LLM). She is currently Deputy Director of the CCLP. Since 2010 she has been leading the CCLP project on the implementation of the CCS Directive in selected European countries. Chiara’s main research interests lie in international and European environmental law, with special focus on Carbon Capture and Storage and the law and policy of climate change.
Judith A. Bradbury, PhD was born and initially educated in the UK, with a degree in sociology from the London School of Economics followed by a PhD in Public and International Aff airs from the University of Pittsburgh. In her work, she has emphasised the relevance of social science insights and tools to the analysis and resolution of science policy issues. She has extensive experience in the research and practice of public involvement in hazardous technologies, including nuclear waste storage and transportation and chemical demilitarisation. Her most recent experience has been in managing public outreach activities for the Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership Program, sponsored by t he US Department of Energy.
Olaf Corry, PhD is Lecturer in International Studies at the Open University specialising in global environmental politics. He also teaches International Relations at the University of Cambridge and has recently completed a research project at Cambridge University Judge Business School on CCS communications and CCS and the European environmental movement. He has a PhD in International Relations from the University of Copenhagen and an MPhil in politics and sociology from the University of Cambridge. He previously worked as energy and climate policy advisor to the Danish Social Democratic Party.
Anders Hansson, PhD is Assistant Professor at the Unit of Technology and Social Change at Linköping University, Sweden. His research has mainly focused on critical analyses of Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage. The aim of his doctoral thesis was to scrutinise the scientific and political efforts behind claims that CCS is a rational and viable solution to the global climate change problem.
Atsushi Ishii is an Associate Professor at the Center for Northeast Asian Studies, Tohoku University. His research interests include global environmental and resource politics, science and technology studies, and Japanese environmental politics. His recent publications include ‘Toward policy integration: assessing carbon dioxide capture and storage policies in Japan and Norway’, in Global Environmental Change and ‘Scientists learn not only science but also diplomacy: learning processes in the European transboundary air pollution regime’ in Governing the Air: Science-Policy-Citizens Dynamics in International Environmental Governance (MIT Press). Other articles have appeared in, among other journals, Climate Policy, RECIEL, and numerous Japanese books and journals.
Yue Liu currently is a research assistant at the Centre for Research in Energy and Minerals Economics (CREME) at Curtin University, Australia. She has been awarded the Curtin Strategic International Research Scholarship and will start her PhD study from the beginning of 2012 at Curtin University. Her research interests focus on the economic and policy study of carbon dioxide capture and storage and the renewable energy technologies. She received her bachelor degree from China Agricultural University, Beijing, China, and obtained her MA degree from Clark University, Massachusetts, USA.
Hauke Riesch, PhD received a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from University College London in 2008 and has since worked on the public understanding of risk and public and stakeholder perceptions of CCS at the University of Cambridge. Since August 2011 he has been working on public engagement with environmental sciences at the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College, London.
Vivian Scott, PhD. Trained as a physicist, Vivian Scott has a PhD in climate modelling where he studied models of the ocean carbon cycle used in global circulation models to predict the future climate. He works on CCS as a climate mitigation technology, researching policy and commercial progress towards the large-scale testing and deployment of the technology. He is currently engaged in policy development relating to the delivery of the EU CCS demonstration programme as part of Europe’s wider climate mitigation and energy strategies, collaborating with representatives of the EU Commission, national and regional governments, industry, environmental NGOs and academic colleagues.
Jennie C. Stephens, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at Clark University’s Department of International Development, Community and Environment. She is also a research affiliate of the Energy Technology Innovation Policy Group at Harvard’s Kennedy School. Jennie’s teaching, research and community engagement focus on socio-political aspects of energy technology innovation, deployment of renewable energy, public perception of energy technologies and climate change education/awareness. She received her BA (1997) from Harvard University in Environmental Science and Public Policy and then earned her MS (1998) and PhD (2002) at the California Institute of Technology in Environmental Science and Engineering.
Mark Winskel, PhD a Senior Research Fellow in the Institute for Energy Systems, University of Edinburgh, and the Research Co-ordinator of the UK Energy Research Centre. An applied social scientist, Mark’s research addresses the dynamics of innovation in energy systems, especially for supply technologies, and he has held a number of research grants in this area, often working in cross-disciplinary research teams. His own education spans the physical, environmental and social sciences, and his doctoral thesis analysed technological change in the UK electricity supply sector. Outside academia, he has advised organisations such as the Carbon Trust and the International Energy Agency.
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