Public perceptions of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage under different policy instrument framings
(University of Oxford)
Paper short abstract:
There is a growing need to responsibly incentivise research and development into negative emissions technologies by accounting for public values. We describe an experimental deliberative method designed to explore how public perceptions might change under different policy instrument framings.
Paper long abstract:
The Paris Agreement on climate change has set out near universal ambitions to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5°C. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has concluded that this is possible, but nearly all of their scenarios rely on the extensive deployment of negative emissions technologies - principally bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). Despite growing recognition of the likely need for BECCS, it is far from resembling the sort of complete sociotechnical system - assemblage of technical artefacts and social arrangements - that would be needed for deployment. There is therefore a clear need to responsibly incentivise research and development into BECCS with policy instruments. The key to responsibly incentivising BECCS lies in accounting for public values. We convened a one-day deliberative workshop in Oxford, UK, with 30 politically diverse and sociodemographically representative citizens to explore how public perceptions of BECCS - and of climate change itself - might change under different policy instrument framings. We operationalised a three-fold typology of policy instruments to generate three framing conditions: 'coercive', 'supportive' and 'persuasive'. The workshop was composed of several sessions designed to quantitatively measure and qualitatively explore how public perceptions of BECCS and climate change might alter under the different framings. We found that policy instruments that were not congruent with participants' political values lowered the acceptability of BECCS. We conclude by exploring the prospects for developing policy instrument mixes that appeal to plural political worldviews.
The politics of negative emissions