Selling stories of techno-optimism? The role of narratives on discursive construction of carbon capture and storage in the Japanese media

Shinichiro Asayama, Atsushi Ishii

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Great expectations have been expressed for carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a key climate change mitigation option, primarily because CCS possesses the political capital to reconcile continued use of fossil fuels with greenhouse gas emissions reduction. However, technological innovation of CCS has recently stagnated, and therefore, CCS still exists largely as a technological imaginary, is shaped more by narrative than by physical reality. This study examines how narratives or imaginaries of CCS technology were constructed in four major Japanese newspapers from 2006 to 2013. Based on a discourse analytic approach, we identify three dominant storylines of CCS: (1) the promise of large CO2 storage capacity; (2) the compatibility with the fossil energy regime; and (3) the forefront of high-tech innovation. The results show that all three storylines are strongly in favor of CCS, inflating blind optimism in the technical prospects of CCS while ignoring the many risks and uncertainties around it. Given the complexities of CCS as a socio-technical system, however, the role of media narratives is to enhance broader social learning about CCS. The paper argues that more plural, balanced, and critical narratives are required to sustain a sound balance between uncertainty and optimism over CCS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-59
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Volume31
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sep

Keywords

  • Carbon capture and storage (CCS)
  • Energy transition
  • Media
  • Narrative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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