On January 11, 2011 a local farm couple from Saskatchewan held a press conference claiming CO2 had leaked from the Weyburn project onto their land. This first public reporting of potential leakage from a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project provides an opportunity to analyze media coverage and expert perspectives to advance understanding of risk perceptions and communication of emerging energy technologies. Risk perceptions of new and emerging technologies play an influential role in innovation processes. The Weyburn project has recently been the subject of controversy as local residents alleged that CO2 leaked from the underground storage formation and affected their surface property. The public were presented with conflicting assessments of whether the CO2 was or was not leaking, and communication about the alleged leakage and its risks reflected this uncertainty. We analyze media coverage of the controversy and interviews with CCS professionals to explore differences in media and expert risk perception and framing. This study considers the influence of public controversy on perceptions of emerging technologies and provides insights on responses and influences of both the media and technology experts.

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Keywords Carbon capture and storage, CCS, CO2 leak, Expert interviews, Media
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijggc.2013.01.011
Journal International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control
Boyd, A.D. (Amanda D.), Liu, Y. (Yue), Stephens, J.C. (Jennie C.), Wilson, E.J. (Elizabeth J.), Pollak, M. (Melisa), Peterson, T.R. (Tarla Rai), … Meadowcroft, J. (2013). Controversy in technology innovation: Contrasting media and expert risk perceptions of the alleged leakage at the Weyburn carbon dioxide storage demonstration project. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 14, 259–269. doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2013.01.011