Role of Carbon Capture in Climate Change Mitigation

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Role of Carbon Capture in Climate Change Mitigation

Around 40 carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) are operating today in industrial processes, fuel transformation and power generation. In the past, the deployment of CCUS has been slow, but recently, momentum has picked up, with about 25 under construction and more than 300 in some planning stage. CCUS’s operating captures between 42 and 49 million metric tons of CO2 annually (MtCO2/yr), or around 0.1% of global emissions. However, if all projects in development were complete, the total CCUS capacity would be about 360 MtCO2/yr, approximately 0.7% of today’s global greenhouse gas emissions

Most CCUS are in North America and are applied in the natural gas processing and ethanol industries. Other regions, such as Europe and the Middle East, have a handful of operational projects and a growing number of announced projects in Europe, East Asia, the Middle East and Oceania/Australia.

What is carbon capture, utilisation, and sequestration (CCUS)? According to the WRI, it is a technology used to reduce CO2 from emissions sources (such as power plants or industrial facilities) by using different technologies to separate CO2 from the other gases in a facility. The CO2 is thus captured before entering the atmosphere and then permanently stored underground or incorporated into certain products, such as concrete or chemicals.

CCUS is not the same as Carbon Removal, which is a way to remove CO2 that is already in the atmosphere.

Carbon removal includes a range of approaches, such as tree restoration, direct air capture, and carbon mineralisation. Another type of carbon removal is bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration, where biomass is combusted, and carbon capture technology is used to capture those emissions before they enter the atmosphere.

An article from the World Resources Institute (WRI), “7 Things to Know About Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Sequestration,” differentiates CCUS from Carbon dioxide removal (CDR). It presents the CCUS sectors and how much carbon they capture. It also shows the industries that would benefit from CCUS and the potential carbon removal it can do when included in future and planned projects. The article highlights that technology can be crucial to reaching the net zero goals, especially in carbon-heavy industries.


Lebling, K., Gangotra, A., Hausker, K., & Byrum, Z. (2023, November 13). 7 Things to Know About Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Sequestration. World Resources Institute. Retrieved from

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