The transition to a sustainable energy regime is not just an engineering question, but a social and cultural issue as well. In this paper, we consider one contested technology still in development, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), from a socio-cultural perspective. CCS is widely deemed to be a necessary bridging technology to a low-carbon economy, but the technology needs to pass considerable hurdles before widespread use. The importance of cultural issues in CCS deployment has been acknowledged, but research on the large-scale cultural patterns is lacking. To fill this knowledge gap, we combine aggregated individual level measurements of technology opinions with indicators that characterize national cultures. We use survey data from a Eurobarometer together with prior cross-cultural data to show that nation-specific cultural issues can be used as a macro-level approximation of public reactions to CCS technology. Public reactions incorporate cultural factors such as the degree of separation between groups, strength of institutions over space, time and social roles, and society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity. On the basis of the analysis, we provide a richer frame for analysts wishing to understand why and how societies and societal actors challenge and contest technologies and energy regimes.