Scarce Carbon Storage Threatens Net-Zero Push as Emissions Keep Rising

Jul 2, 2021

A rush of net-zero commitments by governments and companies, alongside plans to slash industrial emissions and get new power from hydrogen, mean efforts to lock away more climate-changing emissions underground need to ramp up fast, energy analysts say.

But an accelerating push to build enough carbon capture and storage (CCS) capacity to meet expected demand – and hold onto global climate goals – faces huge obstacles, not least that most climate polluters still are not charged for the damage they do.

In a few places, from Norway to Canada’s province of Alberta, companies that emit planet-heating gases are taxed, making paying to pump them into long-term storage underground more appealing and feasible – even if prices for the service are still high.

But for a broader system to take hold, “you need a market (for CCS) and governments have failed to develop that anywhere in the world”, said Stuart Haszeldine, a carbon capture and storage professor at the University of Edinburgh.

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