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According to the IPCC, large-scale carbon dioxide capture and removal is necessary to achieve our climate goals. To meet climate goals that will ensure an inhabitable planet for future generations, the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change described an inevitable need for large-scale - that is, at the gigatonne level on an annual basis - carbon dioxide capture and removal in concert with drastic emissions reductions. The report illustrated the impact, cost, and likely relevance of a wide range of courses of action; ultimately, according to the report, the fastest-possible action is required in order to achieve the crucial goal of limiting global warming to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels, which was laid out in the Paris Agreement on climate change. Any delay will have lasting and increasingly-difficult-to-manage consequences. The climate benefits of carbon capture will depend in part on how quickly related technologies themselves become carbon-neutral in terms of their construction and operation. Beyond that, the downstream handling of carbon dioxide for utilization can be analysed using the Global CO2 Initiative’s Track 1 and 2 classification, to understand how long the CO2 is being removed from the environment and what the resulting climate benefit is. An increasingly visible amount of government support is driving interest in, and activity towards, the build out of a young but promising carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) industry. In particular, sustainability efforts in the European Union, and the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 in US, have outlined the means to provide significant additional resources necessary to develop, build, and operate carbon capture facilities with downstream storage, and at least some utilization of CO2. However, greater amounts of international coordination in terms of research, development, and deployment of CCUS is now needed in order to generate the maximum possible climate benefit. Some of the challenges that may inhibit the pace of growth of CO2 utilization include cost, and a lack of sufficient zero-carbon energy to power the removal process - though these vary depending on product category. Public sector decisions (and actions) can help spur greater economic interest in expanding CCUS efforts, for example through procurement requirements, or via preferences for CO2-based products - which can be a strong signal for both producers and consumers.

Driving Climate Benefits


CO2 Capture, Utilization, and Storage