'Best practice' community dialogue: The promise of a small-scale deliberative engagement around the siting of a carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) facility

  • Coyle F
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In New Zealand the Taranaki region has been identified as a likely place for carbon dioxide sequestration as a result of its oil and gas industry, potential storage reservoirs and skilled local workforce. As yet there are no plans to deploy the carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) technology in this particular region but this presented an opportunity for pro-active engagement with local stakeholders, including the urban community, farmers and landowners, local iwi (Māori), local and regional councils and the oil/gas industry. As an alternative to a standard consultation technique, a small-scale dialogue-based method was used, based on the principles of deliberative engagement. In this context, the emphasis was on developing an informed understanding of different viewpoints and solution-focused decision-making. This method of engagement was found to be cost-effective, revealed some unexpected viewpoints and identified some important precursors to risk perception in New Zealand. The empowerment of participants, assisted by independent scientists and the opportunity for facilitated dialogue, were key success factors. Moreover, the approach was valued by the wider community and perceived as a means to open up dialogue around other regional energy issues. In summary, small-scale deliberative engagement processes are a viable alternative or complement to standard community consultation techniques for engagement around the siting of CCS facilities.

Author-supplied keywords

  • CCS
  • Community engagement
  • Deliberative democracy
  • Dialogue
  • New Zealand
  • Qualitative

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  • Fiona J. Coyle

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