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Local perceptions of the QICS experimental offshore CO2 release: results from social science research.

Mabon, Leslie; Shackley, Simon; Blackford, Jerry C.; Stahl, Henrik; Miller, Anuschka


Leslie Mabon

Simon Shackley

Jerry C. Blackford

Henrik Stahl

Anuschka Miller


This paper explores the social dimensions of an experimental release of carbon dioxide (CO2) carried out in Ardmucknish Bay, Argyll, United Kingdom. The experiment, which aimed to understand detectability and potential effects on the marine environment should there be any leakage from a CO2 storage site, provided a rare opportunity to study the social aspects of a carbon dioxide capture and storage-related event taking place in a lived-in environment. Qualitative research was carried out in the form of observation at public information events about the release, in-depth interviews with key project staff and local stakeholders/community members, and a review of online media coverage of the experiment. Focusing mainly on the observation and interview data, we discuss three key findings: the role of experience and analogues in learning about unfamiliar concepts like CO2 storage; the challenge of addressing questions of uncertainty in public engagement; and the issue of when to commence engagement and how to frame the discussion. We conclude that whilst there are clearly slippages between a small-scale experiment and full-scale CCS, the social research carried out for this project demonstrates that issues of public and stakeholder perception are as relevant for offshore CO2 storage as they are for onshore.


MABON, L., SHACKLEY, S., BLACKFORD, J.C., STAHL, H. and MILLER, A. 2015. Local perceptions of the QICS experimental offshore CO2 release: results from social science research. International journal of greenhouse gas control [online], 38, pages 18-25. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 17, 2014
Online Publication Date Dec 30, 2014
Publication Date Jul 31, 2015
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2015
Publicly Available Date Dec 31, 2015
Journal International journal of greenhouse gas control
Print ISSN 1750-5836
Electronic ISSN 1878-0148
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 38
Pages 18-25
Keywords Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS); Environmental risk; Environmental uncertainty; Offshore energy; Public engagement
Public URL