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Technology Collaboration Programme by IEA

Quantifying the Socio-Economic Value of CCS: A Review

Keith Burnard

Citation: IEAGHG, "Quantifying the Socio-Economic Value of CCS: A Review", 2022-TR03, August 2022.

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Publication Overview

As policymakers consider options at their disposal to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, understanding the socio-economic impacts on local communities and industrial regions is crucial. Integrated assessment models (IAMs) often lack the economic, social and geographic detail to fully reveal the role that CCS and CDR technologies, such as BECCS, can play in national economies – noting that deployment of both CCS and BECCS has long continued to lag expectations. Providing a multi-regional, technology agnostic and transparent quantification of the social value of these technologies may be essential to unlocking this impasse.

Publication Summary

As policymakers consider options at their disposal to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, understanding the socio-economic impacts on local communities and industrial regions is crucial. Integrated assessment models (IAMs), traditionally used to explore the feasibility of achieving climate targets and to inform global climate negotiations, often lack the economic, social and geographic detail to fully reveal the role that CCS and CDR technologies, such as BECCS, can play in national economies. The deployment of both CCS and BECCS has long continued to lag expectations. Three case studies are presented, each having been published in the peer-reviewed literature and presented at international conferences and workshops. They provide excellent insights regarding the impacts of CCS and CDR deployment on regional economies and the relationship between industrial sectors and national strategic assets. Case study 1 shows that the goals of coal sector employment and climate change mitigation can be aligned, contrary to the way it is often portrayed. Together with a commitment to a net-zero target, the employment opportunities that can arise from CCS deployment need to be carefully assessed. Case study 2 shows that, when pursuing net-zero targets in energy systems, there is no “one size fits all” solution, noting that the relative costs and opportunities associated with the energy transition are unevenly distributed between countries. Hence, carbon mitigation strategies that simply focus on cost and neglect social, geopolitical and macro-economic considerations are likely to exacerbate labour market inequalities. Case Study 3 shows that quantifying the socio-economic value of different BECCS pathways can inform policy makers of the optimal mix of CDR technologies to be deployed, while minimising biomass resource competition. Ultimately, the case studies confirm that decarbonisation strategies that neglect social, geopolitical, and macro-economic considerations, are likely to widen existing economic imbalances, both at regional and national levels. While CCS is widely acknowledged as essential to reach net-zero targets within economies, its deployment has faced numerous challenges. Providing a multi-regional, technology agnostic and transparent quantification of the social value of CCS may be essential to unlocking this impasse.

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