Controversy in technology innovation: Contrasting media and expert risk perceptions of the alleged leakage at the Weyburn carbon dioxide storage demonstration project

Amanda D. Boyd, Yue Liu, Jennie C. Stephens, Elizabeth J Wilson, Melisa Pollak, Tarla Rai Peterson, Edna Einsiedel, James Meadowcroft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

On January 11, 2011 a local farm couple from Saskatchewan held a press conference claiming CO2 had leaked from the Weyburn project onto their land. This first public reporting of potential leakage from a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project provides an opportunity to analyze media coverage and expert perspectives to advance understanding of risk perceptions and communication of emerging energy technologies. Risk perceptions of new and emerging technologies play an influential role in innovation processes. The Weyburn project has recently been the subject of controversy as local residents alleged that CO2 leaked from the underground storage formation and affected their surface property. The public were presented with conflicting assessments of whether the CO2 was or was not leaking, and communication about the alleged leakage and its risks reflected this uncertainty. We analyze media coverage of the controversy and interviews with CCS professionals to explore differences in media and expert risk perception and framing. This study considers the influence of public controversy on perceptions of emerging technologies and provides insights on responses and influences of both the media and technology experts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-269
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control
Volume14
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Andrea Feldpausch-Parker and Israel Parker for their assistance in data collection at the Calgary CCS conference. This research was funded by Carbon Management Canada .

Keywords

  • CCS
  • CO leak
  • Carbon capture and storage
  • Expert interviews
  • Media

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