The Future of Carbon Capture and Sequestration

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By ratifying the 2015 Paris Agreement, nations across the world made a commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by the year 2030.  Carbon dioxide is one of the primary greenhouse gases found in the Earth’s atmosphere, accounting for 76% of global greenhouse gas emissions according to published reports.

Any effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will undoubtedly rely heavily on reducing the presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. There are two primary ways to achieve a reduction of CO2: (1) decrease the output of carbon dioxide emissions; or (2) increase the amount of carbon dioxide that is removed from the atmosphere.

The latter option is known as carbon capture and sequestration (“CCS”). CCS is the process of seizing atmospheric carbon dioxide and storing (or “sequestering”) these gases in physical formations in the ground. Carbon capture and sequestration techniques have existed for decades, but the development of specific technologies for CCS has been largely cost prohibitive due to lack of governmental support in the legislative, regulatory and financial arenas.

However, majors such as Exxon, Chevron and Shell are joining a broader push to make the requisite technology cheaper and more efficient. Producers and governments have shown interest in CCS as it allows for the continued use of fossil fuels while reducing net carbon dioxide emissions. 

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