Public perceptions of shale gas development in the UK and USA

Shale gas is a fossil fuel that can be used to generate electricity and for domestic heating and cooking. Unlike conventional gas, it is trapped in impermeable rock and requires hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ to extract it. The United States has undergone a shale gas ‘boom’ in the last few decades, and more recently there has been a lot of interest in shale gas prospectivity in the UK. Understanding public perceptions of these technologies is important given the role that they may play in future decisions about them.
 
This study aims to qualitatively investigate public perceptions of shale gas developments in Britain and the USA, in order to a) gain an understanding of these perceptions and what influence them, and b) provide a comparison between perceptions in a country where shale gas extraction is new, where it is more established. We aim to explore these perceptions through deliberative workshops with members of the public in both countries.
 
The project is part of a wider work programme of the US National Science Foundation Centre for Nanotechnology in Society at the University of California, Santa Barbara (CNS-UCSB). It is to be carried out as part of the interdisciplinary Risk Perception Group (IRG-3) at the Centre.
 
Contact
Nick Pidgeon
Merryn Thomas
 
Duration
February 2014 – September 2015
 
Funder
US National Science Foundation Centre for Nanotechnology in Society at the University of California, Santa Barbara (CNS-UCSB)
 
Other Information
www.understanding-risk.org

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