World on track to capture and store enough carbon to meet climate goals

Imperial College London analysis has suggested the world can likely capture and store enough carbon dioxide (CO2) to meet climate targets.

On 21 May, it set out how the capture and storage of CO2 is key to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) reports on keeping global warming to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) would be used alongside other interventions, with Imperial finding 2,700 Gigatonnes (Gt) of CO2 storage resource would likely be sufficient to meet the IPCC’s global warming targets. This is substantially less than estimates by academic and industry groups of what is available, which have suggested over 10,000 Gt of CO2 storage space globally, Imperial added.

The research found that worldwide, there has been an 8.6% growth in CCS capacity over the past 20 years, putting the world on track to meet many of the IPCC climate change mitigation scenarios that include CCS as part of the mix.

Dr Christopher Zahasky, leader of the research team, said: “Nearly all IPCC pathways to limit warming to 2°C require tens of Gts of CO2 stored per year by mid-century. However, until now, we didn’t know if these targets were achievable given historic data, or how these targets related to subsurface storage space requirements. We found that even the most ambitious scenarios are unlikely to need more than 2,700 Gt of CO2 storage resource globally, much less than the 10,000 Gt of storage resource that leading reports suggest is possible. Our study shows that if climate change targets are not met by 2100, it won’t be for a lack of carbon capture and storage space.”

Imperial College London