Volume 75, Issue 5 p. 625-639
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Shaping information and knowledge on climate change technologies: A cross-country qualitative analysis of carbon capture and storage results on Google search

Jussara Rowland

Corresponding Author

Jussara Rowland

Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal

Correspondence

Jussara Rowland, Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Prof. Aníbal de Bettencourt, 9, 1600-189 Lisbon, Portugal.

Email: [email protected]

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Sergi López-Asensio

Sergi López-Asensio

CISOT-CIEMAT, Mòdul de Recerca A (MRA), Plaça del Coneixement, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain

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Ataberk Bagci

Ataberk Bagci

Institut Symlog, Paris, France

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Ana Delicado

Ana Delicado

Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal

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Ana Prades

Ana Prades

CISOT-CIEMAT, Mòdul de Recerca A (MRA), Plaça del Coneixement, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain

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First published: 01 September 2023
Citations: 1

Abstract

Commercial search engines play a central role in shaping, defining, and promoting the information people have access to in contemporary societies. This is particularly true when it comes to emergent technologies, for which there is often limited available information in legacy media and other sources, thus having a strong bearing on public perceptions. In this article, we focus on how the Google search engine promotes information on carbon capture and storage (CCS). We explore how Google's ranking parameters and interface shape the information people access when searching for CCS through a qualitative analysis comparing the results in three countries (France, Spain, and Portugal). We focus on the content of the first search engine result pages (SERP) and consider both Google's ranking criteria and the content and format of promoted sources. The study reveals Google's influence in highlighting Wikipedia pages, Q&A-formatted sources, and prioritizing online specialized media and private corporations. Additionally, we observe country-specific variations in terms of actors and types of content, reflecting the level of interest and investment in the topic at the national level. These findings underscore the significant role of search engine mediations in shaping public perceptions and knowledge about emergent climate change technologies.