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Enabling Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

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Published 21.04.2020

How have institutions, interests and ideas aligned to enable CCS developments in different Northern European national contexts?

A new paper from the University of Strathclyde considers the question of whether the challenge of rolling out large-scale and costly CCS solutions for deep decarbonisation is in fact one of public policy and political decision-making more than technical feasibility. While research has tended to focus on technology and project cost concerns, we conclude that the slow pace of rollout in Norway, the Netherlands and the UK links to political economy concerns. A key issue therein is the increasing need for grounded narratives to justify and enable political and public policy decisions.  

  • Research has tended to focus on technology and project cost concerns. This paper concludes that the slow pace of rollout of CCS links to political economy concerns.

    Even in the case of Norway, where the only operational CCS projects in Europe exist, the history of CCS reflects the challenges of large-scale projects cancellation in the past.
  • Costly participation in large-scale projects that are subsequently cancelled by Governments results in uncertainty and trust challenges among potential participants.
  • Regardless of the stage of CCS development, there is clearly a perceived need to develop political economy ‘narratives’ around how CCS can sustain and potentially create economic value - in terms of jobs and GDP - through low/net zero carbon transitions.
  • Policy narratives, and the underpinning ideas around societal impacts currently emerging for Norway, the Netherlands and the UK currently are clearly moving in directions specific to the conditions and aspirations of each individual nation.

The paper has been developed as part of PLATON - a Platform for open and nationally accessible climate policy knowledge. The consortium is led by CICERO, consists of six research partners and 30 user partners, and partnerships with universities abroad, including the University of Strathclyde. 

The platform will gain knowledge about how the policy system can be adjusted in feasible and effective ways to satisfy the 2030 and 2050 emission targets of Norway.