On 14 June 2023, the “CCUS in Central and Eastern Europe” workshop, co-organised by the Ministry of Climate and Environment and the WiseEuropa Foundation, took place in Warsaw. The workshop was an extension of the periodic meeting held by the technical group as part of the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF). The interactive part that concluded the workshop involved a group discussion on the public acceptance of the CCS/CCUS technologies.
The discussion was held by participants seated at four tables – each group was asked to address a different bias or attitude that we had identified in relation to the CCS/CCUS technologies, i.e. to discuss a given issue, prepare 1-3 recommendations in regard to overcoming social concerns and present these recommendations to the other participants. Just like the entire meeting, the group work was carried out in English.
Each table was assigned a moderator:
1) “The CCS/CCUS technology competes with renewable energy sources and supports further use of fossil fuels” – Michał Wendołowski, Bellona Europa;
2) “The CCS/CCUS technology should not be located in my neighbourhood (i.e. NIMBY – Not in My Back Yard)” – Maciej Giers, WiseEuropa;
3) “CO2 leakage can affect ecosystems and human health” – Paweł Gładysz, AGH University of Kraków;
4) “Distributive justice – who will benefit from the CCS/CCUS projects and who will be endangered by them” – Dawid Janulek, the Ministry of Climate and Environment.
As many recommendations were made in relation to each of the issues raised, it would be impossible to discuss the ideas separately. The common denominator for the solutions to all identified problems was thoughtful and proactive communication at every stage, targeting the various social groups that may be affected by the CCS/CCUS investments.
Particular emphasis was placed on the educational aspect, which involves the factual refutation of misconceptions, by means of understandable language, adapted to the target audience. It is also important to choose an appropriate person to deliver the message – it needs to be someone who is credible and represents a trustworthy and neutral organisation. Such organisations should be seen as a source of potential allies.
Other highlighted aspects included the careful assessment and mitigation of risk as well as the transparency in this respect.
Finally, the communication should be based on the so-called language of benefits – it is recommended for all benefits of CCS/CCUS for people to be named and, preferably, also quantified (e.g. cleaner air, increase in the number of new jobs, development of industrial tourism, local education, expertise). It would also be advisable to draw on positive experiences from other countries in this regard.
The meeting and workshop were attended by, among others, experts from the European Commission, the USA, Canada, Norway, the UK, France, Brazil, China, Japan and Saudi Arabia, as well as representatives of numerous organisations, research institutions and companies involved in the development of the CCUS technology.