The case for CCS

Science & technology

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) will be a key technology in managing the risks of climate change. That’s why ExxonMobil is working to develop new CO2 capture technologies.

But ExxonMobil isn’t the only one that thinks CCS is so essential – so do leading scientists and policy makers. Scroll down to read firsthand why, when it comes to climate risks, they think the technology is so important.

CCS gets us to Paris

Adopted by 195 countries at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2015, the Paris Agreement intends to limit the world’s average temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) analysis, which informed the targets outlined in the Paris Agreement, meeting those goals will require a portfolio of solutions that incudes CCS. 

Scalable engineering

CCS is one of the few human-engineered technologies with the potential to stabilize global emissions. Dr. Julio Friedmann anticipates that fully developed, CCS could capture up to 20% of global carbon emissions. Some of these emissions could be safely stored underground. Some could also be transformed into commercial products.

More than carbon neutral

Like Dr. Friedman, Dr. Jennifer Wilcox also advocates for a portfolio approach. She says energy efficiency technologies like LED lamps could help avoid releasing new carbon dioxide emissions. On a parallel track, scaled up approaches such as bioenergy with carbon capture and direct air capture – each coupled to permanent storage – could achieve negative emissions by removing CO2 from the atmosphere. Negative emissions represent a scenario where preexisting carbon dioxide molecules are pulled from the atmosphere. This is a step further from carbon neutrality, which maintains a net zero add to current carbon dioxide levels.

It’s not a moon-shot solution

Indeed, while CCS is not the magic bullet, Dr. Sally Benson, who oversees groundbreaking capture and storage research, that meeting the world’s climate goals takes an “all of the above” approach that includes renewables as well as CCS.

Now is the time to do it

A number of countries, including the U.S., Japan and Norway, are already developing or operating full-scale CCS plants. A lot still needs to be done, but as highlighted by the International Energy Agency, one of the world’s leading energy policy organizations, climate goals won’t be achieved without CCS.

 

Tags:   carbon captureCCS
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