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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

Background to the Study


To date, a majority of the work studying the public perception of CCS has focused on the potential sensitivities associated with the storage of CO2. However, Europe does not have any experience of large scale CO2 pipeline construction or operation so this will be a new type of infrastructure for many to consider. As new projects develop that require the transportation of CO2 offshore, the public’s reaction in Europe (as well as internationally) to planning proposals for a CO2 pipeline running through their local area need to be taken into consideration. Europe does however, have pipeline experience from developing natural gas transportation infrastructure, which may have some case studies relevant to CO2 pipeline development. In the USA and Canada there is extensive experience of CO2 pipeline construction and operation; for example the new long distance pipelines like the one from Beulah, North Dakota to Weyburn in Saskatchewan. North America therefore has experience handling the public perception of CO2 pipeline construction, however, it must be noted that the population densities in Europe and the environmental sensitivities of the regional populations are very different and hence direct comparisons may be difficult.



This review aims to consider the public perceptions of CO2 pipelines in different regions, to further understand what the public’s concerns might be before construction of such pipelines begins. The study provides a synthesis of research to date and should act as an early reference point on issues of concern that could be used to build a public awareness campaign. Public engagement should begin in advance of the pipeline announcement and the review may act as a tool for project developers. This review will look at experience from natural gas pipeline developers and what issues may be translatable to CO2 pipelines as well as exploring what additional issues might arise from CO2 pipeline development.

This review is based on work published since the COOLTRANS project (funded by the National Grid in 2013) which is considered an important review of public perceptions of CCS at the time. International case studies, such as CO2 pipeline systems in the USA and Canada have provided a majority of the current research available for this review. European studies have also been reviewed including recent German study looking at the public awareness of CCS projects.

The aim of this review to consolidate the current understanding on the public perception of CO2 pipelines to help develop reference material for a public consultation activity related to a new pipeline development and indicate what information could be readily utilised. This includes the current understanding of how to develop a public engagement strategy and any new information that might be required specifically regarding CO2 pipelines for such a campaign.

The report is free to download.