Searching for a public in controversies over carbon dioxide removal: An issue mapping study on BECCS and afforestation

Waller, Laurie, Rayner, Tim and Chilvers, Jason ORCID: (2023) Searching for a public in controversies over carbon dioxide removal: An issue mapping study on BECCS and afforestation. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 48 (1). pp. 34-67. ISSN 0162-2439

[thumbnail of Published_Version]
PDF (Published_Version) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (459kB) | Preview


The roles digital media-technologies play in raising public issues relating to emerging technologies and their potential for engaging publics with science and policy assessments is a lively field of inquiry in Science and Technology Studies (STS). This paper presents an analysis of controversies over proposals for the large-scale removal of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CDR). The study combines a digital method (web-querying) with document analysis to map debates about two CDR approaches: bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and afforestation. In the first step, we locate actors using the web to engage with BECCS and afforestation and map their alignments in relation to competing framings of CDR. In a second step, we examine the devices deployed by UK-based actors to evidence and contest the feasibility of BECCS and afforestation. Our analysis shows that policy distinctions between “natural” and “engineered” CDR are used flexibly in practice and do not map neatly onto actor engagement with BECCS and afforestation. We highlight the predominance of cross-cutting techno-economic expertise and argue that framings of CDR as a solution to governing climate change may contribute to public disengagement from climate policy processes. The paper reflects on methods for studying controversies, publics, and issues emerging around processes of technoscientific assessment.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: The Natural Environment Research Council funded the research reported on in this paper (grant number: NE/P019951/1). The research also benefited from UKERC Phase 4 funding (EPSRC grant reference EP/S029575/1).
Uncontrolled Keywords: sdg 13 - climate action ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/climate_action
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia Research Groups/Centres > Theme - ClimateUEA
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Environmental Social Sciences
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Science, Society and Sustainability
University of East Anglia Schools > Faculty of Science > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2021 01:20
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2023 00:39
DOI: 10.1177/01622439211043568


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item