Carbon dioxide capture, use and storage (CCUS), whether by processing emissions from industrial facilities or extracting it from the air, is garnering a lot of media attention lately: the technology to do so has existed for many years — which doesn’t mean they can’t be improved by using other approaches — but until now, there was little economic incentive.

Rising prices per tonne of captured carbon dioxide make capturing carbon dioxide an increasingly viable business model, with all that this may entail, both positive and negative. It is estimated that up to 90% of the carbon dioxide produced in high concentrations in industrial facilities can be captured using relatively simple methodologies, in addition to smaller percentages when it is captured directly from the atmosphere, where it is much less concentrated. After capture, it must be stored, which requires adequate sites that don’t cause seismic instability, or it can be used in different industries, such as construction materials.

Rising prices for carbon dioxide is prompting more and more projects and the construction of installations to capture it in different places, even in the upper atmosphere. But carbon dioxide capture alone is no solution to the climate emergency and should not be seen as an excuse not to reduce emissions: we have the technology, but the amount of carbon dioxide captured compared to emissions has historically been extremely low, and most carbon dioxide is reinjected into oil reservoirs to aid further extraction of fossil fuels. 

Raising the amount of carbon dioxide being captured magnitude to the point where the technology makes sense both economically and environmentallymeans building a huge number of plants, as well as creating a market that goes beyond selling certificates and instead establishes a currency with intrinsic value, a way of investing in the viability of human life on the planet, using processes that can be carried out and audited by anyone, including farmers who switch to new growing methods.

The idea makes sense the moment we can link the price of a ton of carbon dioxide to a fund that allows us to pay for it, not simply as an excuse for someone to pay and emit another ton of carbon dioxide (even though it is becoming more and more expensive), but as a sustainable approach in itself. All future scenarios envisage the use of this type of technology as a way of trying to balance emissions; now we just need to approach it with the right mindset.

Recently Published

Key Takeaway: Neuralink, founded by Elon Musk, aims to implant a brain-computer interface (BCI) in people’s brains, allowing them to control computers or phones by thought alone. This technology holds the promise of alleviating human suffering and allowing people with disabilities to regain lost capacities. However, the long-term aspirations of Neuralink include the ability to […]

Top Picks

Key Takeaway: Water is essential for development, production, and consumption, but we are overusing and polluting it. Eight safe and just boundaries have been identified for five domains: climate, biosphere, water, nutrients, and aerosols. Humans have already crossed these boundaries for water, but the minimum needs of the world’s poorest to access water and sanitation […]
Key Takeaway: Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing investment by making professional financial insight and portfolio management accessible to everyone. AI-powered robo-advisers, such as Betterment and Vanguard, are democratizing investment and providing tailored advice to a new generation of investors. With 31% of gen Zs and 20% of millennials using robo-advisers, the financial industry is adapting […]
Key Takeaway: Nasa’s Artemis program is set to return astronauts to the Moon and establish a permanent orbiting laboratory by the end of the decade. As humanity’s footprint expands, a new field emerges: astroforensics. Space presents a unique and harsh environment for forensic investigations, with altered gravity, cosmic radiation, extreme temperatures, and oxygen-providing climate systems. […]


I highly recommend reading the McKinsey Global Institute’s new report, “Reskilling China: Transforming The World’s Largest Workforce Into Lifelong Learners”, which focuses on the country’s biggest employment challenge, re-training its workforce and the adoption of practices such as lifelong learning to address the growing digital transformation of its productive fabric. How to transform the country […]

Join our Newsletter

Get our monthly recap with the latest news, articles and resources.


Welcome to Empirics

We are glad you have decided to join our mission of gathering the collective knowledge of Asia!
Join Empirics