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What are CCS And CDR Technologies?

Context: COP28 talks debate CCS and CDR for climate change mitigation. While crucial for the 1.5°C goal, concerns exist about their scale, equity, and potential to mask continued fossil fuel use.

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CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage)

What is CCS?

  • CCS captures carbon dioxide (CO₂) at the source of emissions before it enters the atmosphere.
  • This includes sources like fossil fuel power plants and industrial processes like steel and cement production.

How does CCS work?

  • There are various methods for capturing CO₂, including absorption, adsorption, and membrane separation.
  • Captured CO₂ is then transported and stored underground in geological formations like depleted oil and gas fields or saline aquifers.


  • Scalability: CCS is still under development and hasn’t been proven effective at large scales.
  • Cost: CCS is expensive and requires significant investment.
  • Leakage: There are risks of CO₂ leaking from storage sites, potentially negating the benefits of capture.
  • Energy needs: CCS requires additional energy to capture, transport, and store CO₂.
  • Methane emissions: Leakage of methane from upstream oil and gas production can undermine the benefit of CCS.

Role in achieving climate goals

  • IPCC AR6 report suggests CCS can be used to counterbalance hard-to-abate emissions, but not to justify continued high fossil fuel use.
  • CCS with high capture rates (90-95%) and permanent storage is crucial.
  • It shouldn’t replace direct mitigation efforts like reducing fossil fuel reliance.

CDR (Carbon Dioxide Removal)

What is CDR?

  • CDR removes CO₂ from the atmosphere, either through natural or technological means.
  • Natural methods:
    • Afforestation and reforestation: Planting trees absorb CO₂ through photosynthesis.
    • Enhanced weathering: Crushing certain rocks can accelerate natural CO₂ uptake.
  • Technological methods:
    • Direct air capture (DAC): Machines capture CO₂ directly from the air.
    • Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS): CO₂ from burning biomass is captured and stored.


  • Land requirements: Many CDR methods, like afforestation, require significant land area, raising concerns about equity and competition with other land uses like agriculture.
  • Scalability: Technological CDR methods are still under development and need to be scaled up significantly.
  • Cost: CDR can be expensive, and questions remain about who will pay for it at scale.

Role in achieving climate goals

  • IPCC AR6 report suggests CDR is necessary to achieve the 1.5°C warming limit with no or limited overshoot.
  • CDR should be used strategically to compensate for hard-to-abate emissions, not to justify continued fossil fuel use.
  • Research is crucial to determine the viability and scalability of various CDR methods.


  • Reliance on CCS and CDR could lead to continued high emissions.
  • Some CCS applications use captured CO₂ to extract more oil, contradicting its climate benefits.

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