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Growing interest in carbon capture and storage (CCS) for climate change mitigation

Keywords: socioeconomic factors , environmental protection , public policy , sustainable development , resource management , rights of future generations

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Interest in technologies associated with carbon capture and storage (CCS) has been growing rapidly in both the public and private sectors over the past five to ten years as governments, industry, and individuals grapple with how to reconcile increased energy demand with the need to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations to mitigate the risks of climate change. CCS technology involves capturing the CO2 produced during fossil-fuel combustion and storing it in underground geologic reservoirs instead of emitting it into the atmosphere. The idea of engineering the storage of carbon in a reservoir has developed from relative obscurity to an increasingly recognized approach to stabilizing atmospheric CO2 concentrations. This paper (1) identifies several influential nongovernmental stakeholders and discusses their contributions to CCS and (2) describes how governmental influence through political positions, government-supported research and development, and regulations and international treaties have influenced CCS initiatives. While the relative strength of nongovernmental and governmental influences is not quantified, this treatment of the various factors contributing to the advancement of CCS technology highlights the complexity associated with integrating developments in science and engineering into sustainable practices.


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