Skip to content

From the Literature: We Don’t Want Carbon Disposal. We Want Carbon Management. Not That We Care.

June 11, 2011

This is part of a series of posts I’m calling “From the Literature”, where I digest an academic article related to my future graduate school research.


Initial Public Perceptions of Deep Geological and Oceanic Disposal of Carbon Dioxide

Palmgren, C., Morgan, M. G., Bruine de Bruin, W., and D. Keith. “Initial Public Perceptions of Deep Geological and Oceanic Disposal of Carbon Dioxide” Environmental Science and Technology, 2004; 38:6441-6450.


The People don’t actually care about climate change. But don’t put CO2 in the ocean. You can put it in the ground if you HAVE to.


This study was conducted in two parts. First they interviewed 18 people to identify mental models related to carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). They found that in general, people tended to couch a discussion of CCS in the context of other options for managing the carbon problem. This information was used to design a survey that was administered to many more people in order to achieve statistical significance.

The survey asked participants to identify their opinions related to environmental issues, rate their willingness-to-pay for various carbon management scenarios and tested how individuals changed their opinions when given more information on a subject.

Overall, the participants rated climate change at the bottom of their list of concerns that the government should focus on. Most people rated CCS technologies as the least favorable carbon management scheme, with geological disposal pulling slightly ahead of oceanic disposal. Renewable technologies were the most preferred methods for reducing carbon release into the atmosphere.


I had a summer job in undergrad for a power company where I spent some time preparing a report to describe the economic feasibility of CCS. Or at least, I did that until they realized that I didn’t know anything about economics and decided to put me on a software project instead. That was probably smart of them.

In the mean time, I think CCS is scary/dangerous/bad. It totally seems like one of those things that is going to bite us in the ass later. And putting it in the ocean is definitely a bad idea.

But it’s being considered seriously because it probably is a cost-effective way to continue using coal/oil without increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. Lame-sauce.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: