Socio-cultural factors in risk perceptions of Carbon Capture and Storage

Faridoddin Karimi

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


A consensus exists that the current trend of energy consumption growth and CO2 emissions cannot continue if global warming is to be tackled. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) has been considered in many countries for addressing climate change. CCS is a technology that curbs CO2 emission by removing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it in carbon sinks, such as depleted oil and gas fields.

CCS is a controversial technology. Notable opposition to and different perceptions of the technology exist among stakeholders, including experts, politicians and laypeople. Therefore, it is important to understand these diverse perceptions and their roots. I have developed a means towards such an understanding. I show that national culture influences both laypeople and expert perceptions. Moreover, it seems likely that cultural orientation affects some of the other factors, such as trust. In addition, I show that although mainstream research and literature consider experts as unbiased and rational stakeholders, both laypeople and experts have similar underlying cultural features and thus their models of perception follow a similar trend in a society. I specify how cultural orientations and their characteristics shape the perception of CCS technology and influence the reactions of people. For instance, hierarchical nations with high uncertainty avoidance have a tendency towards a higher level of risk perception. In contrast, nations that are characterised by social harmony might have a lower level of risk perception of a technology that could increase the long-term quality of life.

This research is a comparative study; comparisons were performed between countries and between laypeople and experts. I used mixed methods to address the research questions. The quantitative part of the study is based on survey data analysis and the qualitative part involves both discourse analysis of interviews and Function of Innovations Systems (FIS) analysis.

This research contributes to risk governance of CCS by developing a new framework that policymakers and authorities can use as a tool to consider the unheeded issue of culture in their planning. I demonstrate who is concerned with what and why with respect to the technology. Finally, I discuss the implications of this study, including policy recommendations. For instance, the European Commission might plausibly benefit from the framework when considering its budget allocation and communication with member states to study CCS projects and to estimate the failure or success of a project.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationHelsinki
Print ISBNs978-951-51-3536-0
Electronic ISBNs978-951-51-3537-7
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Fields of Science

  • 5142 Social policy

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