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3 Public Acceptance of Energy Technologies The history of the U.S. nuclear power industry demonstrates that public concerns can derail the implementation of energy technologies even when many technical experts believe them to be safe, effective, and economical. The implementation process in that industry involved a large expenditure of effort, money, and time, but resulted in much less energy production than originally anticipated. Some observers believe it also resulted in a long-standing mistrust of government and the industry. Now, as rapid expansion of domestic energy sources has become a major national policy objective and as public opposition is appearing to a wide variety of energy developmentsâfrom wind farms to natural gas drilling to carbon capture and storage (CCS)âit is useful to look for ways to avoid a repeat of the nuclear power history. In this chapter several leading scholars review the research on public reactions to newly emerging technologies, to the siting of potentially haz- ardous facilities, and to two specific energy technologies: offshore wind and CCS. The presentations showed that empirical research can help decision processes by identifying public concerns that are not otherwise obvious. Also, as the presentations indicated, the research reveals some recurrent themes, such as the importance of trust in the organizations that are pro- moting the technology and the need for two-way communication and the leadership and staff to follow through with it. The presentations also iden- tified a variety of unanswered empirical questions about the most effective processes for identifying and addressing public concerns. 4
46 FACILITATING CLIMATE CHANGE RESPONSES INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS Roger Kasperson Clark University Roger Kasperson opened the session by noting that some years ago, a workshop like this one (organized by the International Human Dimensions Program on Global Environmental Change) concluded that any major re- structuring of the U.S. energy system would require major social change. He noted that discussions of the development of low-carbon energy sys- tems seem to be proceeding with thinking largely restricted to technologi- cal questions and with little recognition of the history of nuclear power. Development of the new low-carbon technologies is at the first stage of a process, with little attention yet to social science issues. He expressed pes- simism about learning from experience, predicting that there will be very little interest in public acceptance until policy makers have been forced to face the experience of substantial public opposition. In his view, it will be hard to proceed with renewable energy developments without taking public acceptance issues into consideration. Kaspersonâs views were shaped by a couple of decades of work on nuclear power issues. Current analyses of wind technology proceed with concerns focused on a single issue (e.g., threats to birds and bats), with limited attention to other issues (e.g., visibility, community concerns). In the 1970s, with nuclear power, the technical community similarly focused heavily on reactor accidents and paid scarcely any attention to nuclear waste. The waste issue was missed because analysts were convinced that they knew what the key issues were. He sees the same thing happening with the new renewable technologies, Kasperson said, although he expressed hope that he is wrong. LESSONS FROM THE PAST: GOVERNANCE OF EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES Nicholas Pidgeon1 Cardiff University Nicholas Pidgeon began by stating that, although climate change has important social drivers, the solutions being offered are primarily techno- logical and economic. These will not succeed without some degree of public buy-in and acceptance. His comments focus on large-scale technologies, al- 1 Presentation is available at [url] http://www7.nationalacademies.org/hdgc/Governance%2 0of%20Emerging%20Energy%20Ttechnologies%20Nicholas%20Pidgeon%20Unidersity%2 0of%20Cardif.pdf [accessed September 2010].
4 PUBLIC ACCEPTANCE OF ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES though public acceptance issues also exist with small-scale ones. He pointed to the recent report of the National Research Council (NRC) Americaâs Energy Future (National Research Council, 2009), which provides a list of technological possibilities. For these technologies, he said, a key issue in governance is differences between formal and lay understandings of risk. There are six issues, each with a lesson: 1. Risk has qualitative characteristics. Lay publics respond to more than the probability and consequence aspects of risk. Risk com- munication has to be a dialogue-based process if analysts are to speak to peopleâs concerns. 2. Cultural and institutional discourse matters, which implies that values matter. There are many ways to âframeâ the climate change issue or a new technology. There is no single public perception of risk. Choices can be framed as being about the environment, money, social movements, or global security. Pidgeon posed this question: Do the value differences about climate change drive dis- agreements about energy options? He cited data from a new study (Spence et al., 2010) indicating that concern about climate change is positively correlated with support for renewable energy, such as solar and wind, but not with support for building new nuclear power plants, even though nuclear power is largely carbon free (see Figure 3-1). . Social amplification of risk. Technological controversy is a dynamic social process that cannot be readily predicted or âmanaged.â Participants in controversies try to influence each other. In the British controversy about genetically modified foods, there were arguments over many issues, including equity, trade, and distrust in food regulation, as well as about the technology. Public beliefs were ambivalent on the topic, but the public questions were about social issues, such as who will regulate, the balance of benefits, and a more polarized, and more strongly opposed, set of views than was present in a representative sample of the British public (Pidgeon et al., 2005). 4. Risk and trust. The importance of trust implies that openness, transparency, and dialogue are important, alongside responsible risk management. Social agreement, structural attributes of re- sponsible agencies, and emotions are all related to trust. A recent British study shows that support for new construction at two exist- ing nuclear power sites was strongly related to place attachment and to trust in the nuclear industry and much more weakly related
4 FACILITATING CLIMATE CHANGE RESPONSES 100 90 83 Percentage Endorsing Statement 76 80 69 70 57 54 60 53 50 40 Not very / at all Fairly concerned Very concerned about concerned about about climate change climate change climate change I am willing to accept the building of new nuclear power stations if it would help to tackle climate change. Promoting renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, is a better way of tackling climate change than nuclear power. FIGURE 3-1 Attitudes to nuclear power and alternatives as a function of level of Attitudes concern about climate change (% replying âagreeâ or âstrongly agreeâ) (n = 1,491, (n United Kingdom, surveyed in 2005). SOURCE: Spence et al. (2010). Used with permssion. Figure 3-1 R01827 to perceived benefits, perceived risks, and concern about climate change (Pidgeon et editable vectors image al., 2008). . Properties of emerging technologies. Emerging technologies pres- ent deep forms of uncertainty and complexity, a fact that implies a need for innovative modes of risk governance in addition to con- ventional risk assessment. Knowledge about outcomes is different from knowledge about probabilities, and either can be more or less problematic. As knowledge about likelihoods becomes more problematic, decision makers respond with heuristics for coping with uncertainty, by using sensitivity analysis, and by creating more reflective institutions. As knowledge about outcomes becomes more problematic, decision makers have to rely more on scenarios; backcasting methods; and processes that include participation, de-
4 PUBLIC ACCEPTANCE OF ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES liberation, and accountability. As both kinds of knowledge become more problematic, reflexive governance; monitoring and surveil- lance; and strategies emphasizing flexibility, learning, diversity, and adaptation become more attractive. Emerging risk perceptions for new technologies are hard to study because people lack direct experience, mental models are ill formed, there are inherent un- certainties about technology and its regulation, and there is hype and hope from technology promoters. Nanotechnology has some similarities to genetically modified organisms in this respect. The technology is at stage zero, making it hard to have any form of public debate about it. Lack of awareness is a major challenge because the organizers of dialogue inevitably have to provide a cognitive frame for the technology. Pidgeon emphasized the need to address fundamental questions, such as Why this technology? Who needs it? Who owns it? Who will take responsibility? 6. Perceived benefits and use matter both to lay people and to people who want to âamplifyâ the risks. The proponents need to demon- strate that they are producing a real public good. Pidgeon reported that his research group did a U.S.-UK dialogue on nanotechnology and found cross-national similarities. The main issues that arose were about choice, control, and uncertainties. The application of the technology (i.e., health versus energy) mattered a lot. People did not easily see risks from nanotechnology energy applications, whereas nanotechnology health applications were seen to raise distinctive ethical questions (Pidgeon et al., 2009). Pidgeon and colleagues concluded that there is a need to move away from sterile debate on whether or not to be precautionary and to develop new ways to assess risk and uncertainty. In the brief discussion, Thomas Dietz asked whether it is known how people perceive the new industries and regulators that are promoting re- newable energy technologies. Pidgeon replied that people generally have a very positive attitude toward wind and other renewables, which might give proponents a reservoir of trust. Susanne Moser asked whether Pid- geonâs findings hold for a global intervention, such as climate geoengineer- ing. Pidgeon replied that whereas one can organize a public participation process about a site, for a global issue it is very hard to do because the interested parties are global. He noted that there is an emerging critique of public participation around emerging risk issues that emphasizes the need to do participation differently, in an appropriate way for the deci- sion context. Questions remain about the viability of public participation approaches for technologies on a global scale.
0 FACILITATING CLIMATE CHANGE RESPONSES LESSONS FROM THE PAST: ADDRESSING FACILITY SITING CONTROVERSIES Seth Tuler2 Social and Environmental Research Institute Seth Tuler conducted a review of literature across several types of tech- nology, emphasizing hazardous facilities and energy-related facilities and their associated infrastructure. He found almost no connection between the literatures on nuclear/hazardous and on renewable energy technologies. The literature is very large. Work on low-carbon energy sources is heavily skewed to wind, with very little recent work on siting solar arrays and only one study on geothermal energy. Studies use varied operational definitions of the key variable, which is variously defined as support, acceptance, tolerance, and success/failure. The studies are almost all site-specific or technology-specific. Influences on support or opposition include anticipated outcomes on various dimensions (e.g., health, economy, sense of place, quality of life), and characteristics and preferences related to the planning and decision- making processes. Other mediating factors are also reported, including characteristics of the technology and its design, qualitative aspects of risk, issues of the credibility and competence of the managing institutions and the motivations of the developers, values, degree of exposure to hazards, and prior experience with the technology or its developer. For hazardous facilities, worries about health and safety, risk dimen- sions, and hazard management dominate. For wind energy, the main factors are the transformation of the landscape and the place. Biomass and CCS facilities appear to be perceived somewhat like hazardous sites. Concerns about economic issues and quality of life play out differently with different technologies. Finally, perceptions of the local impacts tend to drive support more than concerns about national impacts, which are more of a focus in messages from technology supporters. This suggests that appealing to climate change might not be helpful in generating local support for a new energy facility. With wind energy, the effect of proximity is complex. Studies show that after turbines are in place, proximity increases support, whereas the reverse is true before siting. This is probably true because the worries are about the landscape, and many such concerns can be settled fairly quickly after the turbines go up. With hazardous sites, the concerns are not alleviated by short-term experience. The research shows that general opinions about 2 Presentation is available at [url] http://www7.nationalacademies.org/hdgc/Addressing%2 0Facility%20Siting%20Controversies%20Seth%20Tuler%20SERI.pdf [accessed September 2010].
1 PUBLIC ACCEPTANCE OF ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES a technology are not the same as opinions about a particular proposal; opinions are dynamic, and site-specific concerns are very important. The literature offers many claims about how support and opposition change. One claim is that change in institutional frameworks can affect trust and the distribution of benefits. For example, in Denmark, support for wind energy decreased when the turbines were no longer owned by the commu- nities. A second claim is that getting the process right is critical (National Research Council, 1996ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ). But there are studies of places where there was support even among people who saw the process as unfair. A third claim is that providing information will increase support. Interventions may change opinions, but the direction of change is not given. There is some evidence that opponents are less likely to change their minds than supporters. Little is known, however, about the large reservoir of unengaged people. Tuler summarized a few main points in this literature: that opinions are dynamic, that neither supporters nor opponents are all alike and that both can be ideological, that institutional frameworks and processes matter, and that context matters a lot. The key questions include what the right process and information are. There is not much in this literature to specify these for the new energy technologies now under consideration. In the following discussion, Jeremy Firestone asked about research on power transmission sites. Tuler replied that there is very little research on the topic. He noted that one set of studies concluded that siting of renewable energy facilities has proved hardest in states with renewable portfolio standards. Stewart Cohen noted that in the literature on climate change adap- tation there is research on pathologies and research visioning for new adaptation technologies. He asked about similar research on energy tech- nologies. Tuler said that there is a lot of experience with wind power, mostly in Europe, and some with CCS, mostly on visioning. Another participant asked whether people with experience from other wind sites have made a difference in acceptance. Tuler replied that some case studies assert that this does matter, but the evidence is mainly anecdotal. There was a short discussion of how the findings might apply to climate geoengineering. There has been very little research to date. Kasperson com- mented that huge financial commitments are made in the new technologies despite very little understanding of public reactions. There was also a brief discussion of state preemption of local involve- ment. Richard Andrews commented that in the 1980s with hazardous waste sites, the price of preemption to democracy was high and the benefits for siting were low.
2 FACILITATING CLIMATE CHANGE RESPONSES ACCEPTANCE OF OFFSHORE WIND: GETTING TO YES ON A WEDGE OF A WEDGE Jeremy Firestone University of Delaware Jeremy Firestone framed his presentation in terms of the role of wind power in reaching the goal of an 80-90 percent reduction in U.S. carbon emissions by 2050. In a conventional view, most of the U.S. wind resource is in the Great Plains, so large transmission lines would have to be built to get this power to the East Coast. However, there are strong offshore winds on the coasts, mainly near metropolitan centers. The wind resource off the Atlantic coast can produce 58 gigawatts (GW) at locations with 20m or less of water depth, with 340 GW available if turbines can be sited at up to 100m depth. This could produce all the power needed for the region, which is currently 139 GW of generating capacity and 73 GW of average output. But it would require 54,000 turbines to generate 73 GW, which would require substantial public acceptance. The turbines are largeâup to 417 ft to the top of the bladeâand so are the factories that produce them. Firestoneâs research group examined the public acceptance issues at two locations: Cape Cod and Delaware. The technology, while deployed off Europe for almost 20 years, is at stage zero or slightly beyond in U.S. waters, because there is no U.S. experience with offshore wind. In both study locations, much electric power now comes from a âdirtyâ plant (oil in Massachusetts, coal in Delaware). However, in Massachusetts, the existing power plant has not become an issue in the dis- cussion over the offshore wind project, whereas in Delaware coal appears to be no longer socially acceptable. There are also differences in how people think about place. In Massachusetts, although the proposed site was be- yond the 3-mile state limit, the site was in an area that was not considered open ocean because of nearby islands. The Delaware project is proposed to be 13 miles offshore, compared with 6ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ miles offshore in Massachusetts. Firestone presented results of a survey conducted in 2009 on samples of people in Delaware and Massachusetts who live on the coast and far- ther inland. The researchers provided photo simulations of the view of the proposed site and told people to hold the page at the proper distance to get the sense of the view as it would appear at actual size. Support for siting was stronger in Delaware than in Massachusetts, and it had increased in both places compared with earlier surveys conducted in 2005 and 2006ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ. In Delaware, even people who think they would see the project from 3 Presentation is available at [url] http://www7.nationalacademies.org/hdgc/Offshore%20 Wind%20Power%20Jeremy%20Firestone%20University%20of%20Delaware.pdf [accessed September 2010].
PUBLIC ACCEPTANCE OF ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES where they live were supportive, although this was not the case in Mas- sachusetts (see Table 3-1). There have been 8 years of decision process in Massachusettsâsomething the developer did not want, but is now benefit- ing from, as support has been increasing. Many people there perceive the developer as transparent and the planning process fair. In Delaware, there is greater positive feeling about the process, although a larger proportion of people express no opinion. Firestone reported that the main reasons for support are foreign oil de- pendence, especially in Massachusetts, and the possibility that wind power will mean stability in electricity rates. Strong majorities in both locations indicate they would be more supportive of their local project if it was the first project of some 300 offshore wind projectsâthat is, if it is part of a transformative energy policy. In a 2006ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ survey in Delaware, the same researchers found that people prefer the turbines to be out of sight, but willingness to pay for moving them farther from shore is low beyond 6ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ miles. The survey indicated that an offshore wind turbine could move as close as 1 mile from shore before people would prefer a coal plant. Firestone concluded that framing of the choices is important to public TABLE 3-1 Support and Opposition to Offshore Wind Energy Projects in Delaware and Massachusetts Related to Expected Visibility of the Project from Their Homes Visibility of Project Delaware Ocean Cape Cod Sound Respondents Think % of Stratum 12 percent 8 percent They Will See Project 69 Support (%) 26ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ 31 Oppose (%) 74 Unsure (%) 0 0 Unsure Whether They % of Stratum 11 percent 16ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ percent Will See Project 55 Support (%) 6ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ7 45 Oppose (%) 27 Unsure (%) 6ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ 0 SOURCE: Jeremy Firestone. Used with permission.
4 FACILITATING CLIMATE CHANGE RESPONSES acceptance. The choice is not between wind and nothing, but between wind and other energy production options. He said it is important to frame the choice in ways that get people to compare the options for meeting demand. In the discussion, a participant asked if there is research on wave power. Firestone said that one study in Oregon shows public acceptance, but it is not clear if this indicates general or site-specific support. He noted that wave power is an issue on the West Coast because the continental shelf drops off quickly, making it difficult to site wind turbines at a distance using conventional technology. Another participant asked if differences in acceptance at the two sites are due to the characteristics of the site (people pass through it in Nantucket Sound), the demographics and economics of the areas (e.g., Cape Cod is a high-income area), or the history, which made coal unacceptable in Delaware. Firestone replied that the first and third explanations resonate, but that the second does not. The place attachment of the coastal people is higher in Delaware. However, boating issues are relatively important in Massachusetts. He suggested that part of the difference may be that the Delaware culture values good governmentâpeople respond to the need to do the right thing. John Dernbach asked if wind could be compared to Marcellus gas shale in terms of how fast it is to be brought online as an energy source for the East Coast. Firestone said offshore wind is unlikely to represent a significant fraction of electricity within the next 10 years, but it can be game-changing in the longer term for the East Coast. He noted that the Midwest wants transmission lines and suggested that they would be more controversial than offshore wind. PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS OF CARBON CAPTURE AND STORAGE WÃ¤ndi Bruine de Bruin4 Carnegie Mellon University WÃ¤ndi Bruine de Bruin presented research that she did in collaboration with Lauren Fleishman and Granger Morgan, based mostly on Fleishmanâs dissertation. She began with the comment that, according to experts, CCS could reduce CO2 emissions if the public accepts it. The few available studies suggest that people are lukewarm about the technology. However, the results are hard to interpret because the ratings were given after only a 4 Presentation is available at [url] http://www7.nationalacademies.org/hdgc/Carbon%20 Capture%20and%20Storage%20Wandi%20Bruine%20de%20Bruin%20Carnegie%20Mell on%20University.pdf [accessed September 2010].
PUBLIC ACCEPTANCE OF ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES very brief description and because there was not a comparison with other options. Effective communications are therefore needed to lead to more informed decisions. Effective communications are based on input from experts to ensure balance and accuracy, as well as on formative research with the audience to ensure their understanding. The latter is usually not done. There have been few efforts to communicate about CCS, and they do not reflect best practice in risk communication. They have been developed without input from audience members and may therefore be ineffective or harmful. Her research group has tried to (1) elicit the audienceâs mental models of CCS in qualitative interviews, to identify relevant context and wording; (2) conduct quantitative surveys to compare intervieweesâ beliefs with those of a larger, representative sample; and (3) develop and evaluate risk communication materials with input from experts and nonexperts. In the case of CCS, people began with too little knowledge to provide mental models, so the researchers had to provide some basic information before eliciting beliefs. Among a small group of interviewees, prevalent concerns were about negative side effects, efficacy, and costs. One-third referred to nuclear waste or âpollution.â One-third wanted to compare CCS with other options, such as wind and solar energy. The quantitative survey (Palmgren et al., 2004) used wording taken from the interviews and reviewed by experts for accuracy and by nonexperts for comprehen- sion. Respondents rated how much they favored or did not favor CCS and ranked nine low-carbon options. The ratings were below neutral and de- creased after people were given detailed information. Compared with other technologies, CCS ranked far below renewables and even further below nuclear power. However, these results may not give an accurate picture, as the respondents were not given equally detailed information about the other options or about realistic portfolios combining various options. In another study (Fleishman et al., 2010), the researchers developed materials about 10 technologies and 7 portfolios, again with input from ex- perts and nonexperts. The research group produced a technology informa- tion sheet for each technology, discussing how it works, carbon emissions, other pollution, costs, reliability, and safety, and they prepared comparison sheets that allowed respondents to compare them on each dimension. They also provided seven portfolios of technologies, each of which would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 70 percent compared with pulverized coal power plants. A total of 54 participants studied the material at home, were given more information in a session at their community organizations, and then held a group discussion. After this process, participants answered 86ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ percent of the factual knowledge (true-false) statements correctly. People felt they understood the issues, and the group discussion did not change attitudes much. People preferred coal plants with CCS over coal plants
6 FACILITATING CLIMATE CHANGE RESPONSES without it. Acceptance depended on the type of coal plants as well as on whether CCS was in the portfolio. The next steps in the research will be to use national samples and to try a decision tool that will allow people to build their own portfolios. At this point, the results suggest that better information and risk communication may actually increase acceptance of CCS. A remaining question concerns what to do with people who will not study the material in detail. The group may try to put the information on the Internet with hypertext links. In the discussion, Tuler noted that Judith Bradburyâs study of CCS emphasized the importance of trust, for example, in the U.S. Department of Energy, as a determinant of acceptance. Bruine de Bruin noted that trust did not become an issue in her research, possibly because it did not discuss siting but only addressed the technology in general. Pidgeon questioned why the initial reaction to CCS is negative, whereas the initial reaction to nanotechnology is positive, and he suggested that it might be because of negative attitudes to coal. Bruine de Bruine suggested that people see CCS as waste and want to get rid of the waste. Anthony Leiserowitz asked about the views of the people who will be the opinion leaders on the CCS issue. Bruine de Bruin said that her group has shown that it can produce useful information materials, which would be useful for opinion leaders, most of whom are not CCS experts. Pidgeon noted that on the nanotechnology issue the initial positive reaction from Greenpeace in the United Kingdom influenced other environmental groups to join the processâsomething that did not happen with genetically modi- fied foods. Dietz commented that the advocacy coalition framework, which says that only policy leaders matter and that social learning in that community is critical to acceptance, has not made contact yet with the literature on risk communication. COMMENT Robert Marlay Climate Change Technology Program, U.S. Department of Energy Robert Marlay said that the topic under discussion has been siting single facilities, but the scale actually needed is unfathomed by the general public. The world needs to avoid emissions of 2,000-3,000 gigatons of carbon (GtC), or 30 Gt/yr globally, or 5-6ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ Gt/yr for the United States. And 1 Gt/yr is what would be produced by 6ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ40,000 wind turbines or 1,200 5 Presentationis available at [url] http://www7.nationalacademies.org/hdgc/Comment_ Public_Acceptance_of_Energy_Technologies.pdf [accessed September 2010].
PUBLIC ACCEPTANCE OF ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES CCS coal plants, or biomass fuel production from a barren area 20 times the land area of Iowa. The journalist Thomas Friedman has commented that there is tremendous resistance to change in the United States because of polarized politics and debates and because corporations no longer act as citizens of the country. Friedman says the country needs better leaders and more courageous citizens. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has a bad legacy, but it has recently helped assist states with siting. It has learned that gimmicks, like hiring a movie star or an advertising firm, do not work. People want re- spectful dialogue at a realistic level of complexity. People tend to accept transmission lines, especially if they are convinced that there is a real need. To implement CCS, the process has to explore all the alternatives. Dialogue needs to be respectful, and planning and siting should be separated. Marlay reported that DOE has a regional program on CCS with 21 regional partnership projects. The program addresses permitting, the regu- latory framework, and public acceptance. It would be excellent to study this program. The process has 10 key steps. It cannot just be handed to a contractor, because it is important to have the right contractor. Unless this large process is handled right, there is no hope of solving the problem. Public acceptance issues must be addressed up front. He concluded by saying that there is no best practices manual for people who are trying to site facilities. He asked whether government should provide resources for public outreach. COMMENT Baruch Fischhoff Carnegie Mellon University Baruch Fischhoff noted that, in terms of strategic design, a little re- search goes a long way in giving useful insights. An insight from human factors research is that the need to communicate about a completed product or program reflects a management failure. It indicates a failure to incorpo- rate the concerns of the relevant publics and to develop trust. Strategic design needs (1) an appropriate philosophy (i.e., two-way communication); (2) leadership that promotes and implements the philoso- phy (he cited the Food and Drug Administrationâs Strategic Plan for Risk Communication approach as an example); (3) a staff that includes domain specialists, decision analysts, social scientists, and system specialists to make the engagement process sound; and (4) a methodology to deliver on the promise. There is a lot of science to advise on good design if the leader- ship is there to mobilize it. Psychology research indicates that the public does sensible things if
FACILITATING CLIMATE CHANGE RESPONSES provided with good information and a sound communication process. As a result, communication failure suggests flawed management. Failures can arise from institutional inertia, inappropriate staffing (especially a lack of social scientists), isolation from lay peopleâs concerns, indifference to lay concerns, and incentives for making the public look bad so decision mak- ers gain power. Social scientists can be part of the problem because of (1) a separation of analytical, descriptive, and intervention-oriented researchers; (2) isolation of researchers from practitioners; (3) a norm of making sweeping claims about peopleâs competence as always high or always irrational; and (4) a predisposition toward manipulating rather than informing the public. Finally, Fischhoff quoted the physical scientist Eric Barronâs comment to the NRC Committee on Human Dimensions of Global Change, to the effect that social scientists do not know how to work together in order to do the big science that big problems need. That situation makes life easier for those who are predisposed to ignore social science evidence. DISCUSSION Kasperson expressed pessimism that the problem of social science ca- pacity in government will ever be solved, particularly any time in the near future. Marlay raised four questions or challenges for the group. 1. He said that DOE needs a best practice manual for handling pub- lic acceptance issues, guided by the National Research Council or by some of the participants in the room. He saw the need not for a cookbook but for a discussion of the options, identifying some successful models with their salient features. He said that DOE has few experiments to learn from. 2. He asked how it is possible to inspire better citizens without better leaders. By better citizens he means people who can engage in a process of dialogue that puts common interest above self-interest. He asked how the United States can become a can-do nation again. The environmental assessment process that began around 1970 is now highly evolved and largely successful, he said, asking if there is time to allow the things being done in energy and climate to go through a similar process, given the sense of urgency. 3. He also asked whether climate change communication is falling into the trap of the nuclear power debate, in which the experts say that anyone who disagrees with them is wrong. The climate deniers will come fully armed with arguments to take up time and delay action. He asked if there is âissue fatigueâ on climate change, and if
PUBLIC ACCEPTANCE OF ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES so, what happens to acceptance of new energy technologies. Energy prices go up and down, but climate change is inexorable. 4. He noted Firestoneâs finding that, as more people were informed about offshore wind power, they became more favorable toward the technology, asking how that finding squares with public accep- tance in Europe, which has gone in the reverse direction. Tuler commented that there are cases in which siting has been quick and successfulâthe question is why they worked so fast. Fischhoff said that social scientists know how to make information comprehensible but the networks are not being created to inform people. Bruine de Bruin said that, in the case of CCS, the people who want to site the facilities are afraid to communicate with the public because they are afraid to draw attention to the projectâso they put technical people in charge of the communication. Several additional participants made comments or raised questions at the end of the session. Moser suggested that people tend to forget specific lessons of the past but retain general ones, such as the idea that âDOE can- not be trusted.â Andrews said that although the discussion focuses a lot on how people can understand the technology, each community has a history, so decisions are path-dependent. Thus, communications need to start with the community rather than with fully developed proposals for what to site and where. Cohen noted that there are special issues about messaging, such as considering other messages already in place. For example, in western Canada, there is already active promotion of CCS by industry and govern- ment. New information needs to be customized to address the audienceâs preexisting knowledge and information. Rachelle Hollander noted that the issue of whether a community is being asked to contribute a fair share may also underlie some of the controversy.