Emergency Management & Public Administration

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In 2014, China became the world’s third country to accomplish shale gas commercial development, following the United States and Canada. China still however lacks a comprehensive analysis of its public’s concerns about potential environmental risks of shale gas exploration, particularly those of local residents near extraction sites. This paper specifically aims to explore risks perceived as associated with shale gas development in the Changning-Weiyuan area of Sichuan Basin, by conducting a face-to-face household survey with 730 participants interviewed. Some 86% of respondents reported their belief that shale gas exploitation causes more than three types of negative impacts, the most commonly perceived being noise, underground water contamination and geological disruption. Associated variables that were statistically significant predictors of risk perception include demographic characteristics (age, gender, education), environmental awareness level, landslide experience, awareness of past shale gas accidents, information sources, general knowledge about shale gas, and perspectives on whether negative impacts can be observed and controlled, along with trust in the central government and the petroleum company. Our findings implications are discussed, with the goal of informing both central and local authorities’ policy development in protecting local residents from risks of shale gas exploitation and better communicating risks to residents.

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Energy Policy, 2018, 113, 123–134.



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