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WIREs Clim Change
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Time to stop investing in carbon capture and storage and reduce government subsidies of fossil‐fuels

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Government investment in carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a large and expensive fossil‐fuel subsidy with a low probability of eventual societal benefit. Within the tight resource constrained environments that almost all governments are currently operating in, it is irresponsible to sustain this type of subsidy. CCS has been promoted as a ‘bridging’ technology to provide CO2 reductions until non‐fossil‐fuel energy is ramped up. But the past decade of substantial government investment and slow progress suggests that the challenges are many, and it will take longer to build the CCS bridge than to shift away from fossil‐fuels. Optimism about the potential of CCS is based primarily on research on technical feasibility, but very little attention has been paid to the societal costs of governments perpetuating fossil‐fuels or to the sociopolitical requirements of long‐term regulation of CO2 stored underground. Deep systemic change is needed to alter the disastrous global fossil‐fuel trajectory. Government investment in CCS and other fossil‐fuel technologies must end so that the distraction and complacency of the false sense of security such investments provide are removed. Instead of continuing to invest billions in CCS, governments should invest more aggressively in technologies, policies, and initiatives that will accelerate a smooth transition to non‐fossil‐fuel‐based energy systems. We need to divest from perpetuating a fossil‐fuel infrastructure, and invest instead in social and technical changes that will help us prepare to be more resilient in an increasingly unstable and unpredictable future. WIREs Clim Change 2014, 5:169–173. doi: 10.1002/wcc.266

Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.

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Climate Economics > Economics of Mitigation
The Carbon Economy and Climate Mitigation > Decarbonizing Energy and/or Reducing Demand

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