Fossil fuel industry can’t rely on carbon capture and bioenergy to save its assets

Fossil fuel industry can’t rely on carbon capture and bioenergy to save its assets

21 February 2022

New research published in Nature Communications shows fossil fuel power sources, producing the equivalent of ten times the global electricity production in 2018 (267 PWh), will become unusable if global heating is to be kept below 2 °C - even if carbon-abatement technologies such as carbon capture and storage, bioenergy, and coal-to-gas conversions are deployed at scale.


At COP26, the Climate Action Tracker announced that the Earth is currently on course to heat by 2.4 °C by 2100. Meanwhile, fossil fuel plants continue to be built and planned.


Lead author Yangsiyu Lu warns, ‘If companies continue to invest in fossil fuel-based infrastructure, some of these assets risk stranding even before they are built.’ 


If carbon-abatement technologies are not deployed at scale, the amount of fossil fuel assets at risk of being underused or decommissioned increases by up to 69% on average across the different energy system models assessed.


The findings provide a stark warning to energy companies, that have argued such technologies could substantially reduce the carbon footprint of energy production from fossil fuels.

Image by Magnascan from Pixabay