Carbon capture and storage as a stepping-stone to negative emissions: an analysis of the factors impacting fossil energy CCS and the consequences for atmospheric carbon dioxide removal
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 19:59 authored by Bryan Maher
Whereas ten years ago Carbon Capture and Storage looked to have a lot of promise, today it may be a climate solution whose time has passed. In 2005 the IPCC had released a Special Report lauding the potential of CCS, major demonstration projects were being initiated and the G8 had announced that it expected CCS to play a major role in combatting climate change. Fast forward to 2016, and demonstration projects have stalled or been cancelled, the G8 has moved on and CCS is conspicuously absent from the Nationally Determined Contributions coming from the December 2015 Paris Climate meeting (COP21). This thesis questions if CCS should be abandoned so quickly. It is increasingly acknowledged that carbon dioxide removal will be required in the second half of the century and that bio-energy CCS is the primary candidate to provide this removal. This thesis argues that without the diffusion of fossil energy CCS over the coming decades, the ability to ramp up bio-energy CCS will be compromised. The factors that may shape the future of fossil energy CCS are analysed from the perspective of relevant stakeholders. It is shown that although feasible, it is not in any individual stakeholder’s interest to invest significant capital to ensure its success. This thesis contends that there is a strong case for further evaluation of CCS incorporating considerations of total cost of mitigation and the likely need for negative emissions.