Carbon Capture and Storage Framing in the Media

Sunday, October 1, 2017


Brett Swiecicki


According to IPCC models, it will be impossible to prevent global temperatures from rising two degrees above preindustrial levels without the deployment of negative emissions technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS), which remove carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Though CCS has proven itself in small projects throughout recent years, it is unclear what has inhibited policymakers from successfully mobilizing the technology on a national scale. Perhaps, the framing of CCS in national media outlets has negatively impacted public opinion, resulting in headwinds for the technology in public policy. After conducting a content analysis of recent articles about CCS in national news outlets, this paper found that more articles provided neutral framing of CCS than provided positive or negative framing. Furthermore, CCS was more frequently associated with saving the coal industry and enhanced oil extraction than mitigating climate change. To the extent that the media is consequential in influencing public opinion and subsequently political action, this begins to explain why there has been so little implementation of CCS.