The fossil fuel industry's framing of carbon capture and storage: Faith in innovation, value instrumentalization, and status quo maintenance

Ryan Gunderson, Diana Stuart, Brian Petersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Drawing from the critical theory of Herbert Marcuse, we expect that the fossil fuel industry will support carbon capture and storage (CCS) because it can further and prolong profitability in the industry. Through a qualitative analysis of fossil fuel company and trade organization framings of CCS, three frames are identified: (1) faith in innovation, or, the belief that any barrier that fetters technological solutions to environmental problems can be overcome; (2) value instrumentalization, or, the predominance of instrumental values when justifying or explaining the benefits of technological solutions; and (3) status quo maintenance, or, the application or anticipated application of technological solutions in order to reproduce the most fundamental processes and social structures that characterize modern societies. Frames tend to omit the following issues and concerns relevant to CCS: (4) potential social and environmental risks (risk minimization); (5) non-instrumental values (value restriction); and (6) possible future scenarios that are qualitatively different than a growing economy powered by increased energy throughput (possibility blindness). The potential climate and energy policy implications of these framings are analyzed and assessed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number119767
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume252
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 10 2020

Keywords

  • Carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration
  • Climate policy
  • Energy policy
  • Frame analysis
  • Marcuse
  • Technological optimism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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