This paper introduces the concept of social site characterization as a parallel effort to technical site characterization to be used in evaluating and planning carbon dioxides capture and storage (CCS) projects. Social site characterization, much like technical site characterization, relies on a series of iterative investigations into public attitudes towards a CCS project and the factors that will shape those views. This paper also suggests ways it can be used to design approaches for actively engaging stakeholders and communities in the deployment of CCS projects. This work is informed by observing the site selection process for FutureGen and the implementation of research projects under the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership Program. ?? 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.