Summary: As the coal-reliant countries of the world have been increasingly forced to consider reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to mitigate...
Summary: As the coal-reliant countries of the world have been increasingly forced to consider reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to mitigate climate change, carbon capture and storage (CCS) has emerged as a technology with critically important political influence. Visions of so-called "clean" coal-fired power plants that will not emit CO2 into the atmosphere have provided powerful motivation for large public and private investments in CCS. The scale of CO2 emission reductions deemed necessary for climate stabilization is so large that some consider CCS a necessary future technology without which society will be unable to mitigate climate change. Others view CCS as an end-of-pipe, expensive climate mitigation option that is resource-intensive, promotes the use of fossil fuels, competes with renewable energy sources, and is technologically complex and environmentally risky.
Jennie C. Stephens, Ph.D. Jennie Stephens is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. She is also a research affiliate of the Energy Technology Innovation Policy Group at Harvard's Kennedy School. Stephens' teaching, research, and community engagement focuses on socio-political aspects of energy technology innovation, renewable energy, carbon capture and storage technology, public perception of energy technologies, and climate change education/awareness. Stephens received her B.A. (1997) from Harvard University in Environmental Science and Public Policy and then earned her M.S. (1998) and Ph.D. (2002) at the California Institute of Technology in Environmental Science and Engineering. Before joining the faculty of Clark University, she did post-doctoral research at Harvard’s Kennedy School and she taught at Tufts, Boston University, and MIT.
This talk will explore the controversial development of CCS technology focusing on the U.S. context. The presentation will explain how the potential of CCS has changed the politics of coal and climate change, and why the environmental community has been divided on whether or not to support investment in this technology. The multiple challenges facing CCS will be discussed to explain the uncertain future of this energy technology.