Unveiling Carbon Capture: Exploring Its Significance at COP28 and Understanding the Ongoing Conversation

Rohit Yaduwanshi
11 Min Read
Climate Crisis - Image source "www.amnesty.org"

The Future of Fossil Fuels in Climate Negotiations

The ongoing United Nations climate summit in Dubai is a battleground where the destiny of fossil fuels is being debated. Activists, experts, and nations converge with divergent views on phasing out oil, gas, and coal, the major culprits behind global warming. The struggle lies between those advocating for an immediate transition and energy companies, backed by oil-rich nations, determined to sustain their drilling activities.

Top 10 Highlights from COP28: Navigating Climate Action in Dubai

Speaking at the Mangrove Alliance for Climate Ministerial Meeting, Bhupendra Yadav emphasized India’s holistic conservation approach. Beyond emission reduction, the focus extends to combating land degradation, expediting ecosystem restoration, and fostering biodiversity enrichment.

Highlighting PM Modi’s belief in global cooperation to address climate challenges, Yadav mentioned India joining the Mangrove Alliance for Climate during COP27 in Egypt.

Despite activists designating Saturday as a day of protest at COP28, the tightly controlled setting in the UAE limited their actions.

A notable demonstration involving around 500 people, the largest during the climate conference, faced restrictions within the UN-governed Blue Zone. Calls for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas conflict lacked specifics, as per AP reports.

The ‘Blue Zone,’ hosting COP28 talks on the Expo 2020 site, is currently under UN control, as reported by AFP.

Demonstrators in the Blue Zone, holding pro-environment banners in Palestinian flag colors, passionately advocated for “Climate justice!” and a “Ceasefire now!”

Around 80 countries, including the United States, the European Union, and climate-vulnerable nations, are pushing for a COP28 deal explicitly calling for an eventual end to fossil fuel use, according to Reuters.

COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber urged nations to expedite their efforts, emphasizing existing divergences over agreements. The call was made as time narrows down, and “gaps need closing.”

While countries like India and China haven’t explicitly endorsed a fossil fuel phase-out, they have supported the broader call for advancing renewable energy.

COP28 Director General Majid Al Suwaidi, avoiding the term “fossil fuels,” expressed the UAE’s goal, as summit president, to secure a deal steering the world toward limiting warming to 1.5°C.

Carbon Capture and Carbon Removal in Focus

In the backdrop of these debates, technologies such as carbon capture and carbon removal take center stage. These innovations are pivotal for producers aiming to fulfill their promises of achieving net-zero emissions. However, skepticism looms, with concerns that the efficacy of these technologies might be overstated to maintain the status quo.

Understanding Carbon Capture

Carbon Capture Process
Carbon Capture Process


What Exactly is Carbon Capture?

Numerous industrial facilities, including coal-fired power plants and ethanol plants, emit carbon dioxide. Carbon capture involves installing equipment to separate this gas from other emissions, transporting it to be stored permanently underground. This mitigation technology aims to curb increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

Carbon capture is like a superhero mission aimed at grabbing hold of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that come from burning fossil fuels in power plants and industries. Its main goal? To stop these emissions from escaping into the air and making climate change worse. The overall concept is to minimize the influence of these greenhouse gas emissions on our environment.Let me break down this superhero-worthy process for you:


Point Source Capture: This method targets large industrial sources such as power plants and industrial facilities that emit a concentrated stream of CO2. The most common technology for capturing CO2 from these point sources is amine-based absorption. In this process, a solution of amines (chemical compounds) is used to absorb CO2 from the flue gas emitted during combustion.

Direct Air Capture: This approach entails the direct capture of carbon dioxide from the ambient atmosphere. It is usually applied to diffuse sources of emissions or for removing CO2 that has already been released. Direct air capture often utilizes chemical processes to absorb CO2 from the air.


Once captured, the CO2 needs to be separated from the capturing agent. In amine-based absorption, this separation is achieved by heating the amine solution to release the captured CO2.


The isolated CO2 is subsequently pressurized to enhance its density. Compression is a crucial step in preparing the captured CO2 for transportation and storage.

Getting it to its destination:
After compression, the CO2 gets moved to storage sites. How it travels—be it through pipelines, trucks, ships, or a mix of these—depends on where the capture facility is and how big it is.


The final step is storing the captured CO2 in a secure and long-term storage location. The most common storage method is underground storage in geological formations, such as depleted oil and gas fields or deep saline aquifers.

Types of Storage:

Geological Storage: This involves injecting the captured CO2 into geological formations beneath the Earth’s surface. The porous rock formations trap the CO2, preventing its release into the atmosphere.

Ocean Storage: This method involves injecting CO2 into the deep ocean. However, this method raises environmental concerns, and its application is limited.


Financial Barrier: The expense linked to carbon capture and storage (CCS) stands as a substantial obstacle to its widespread acceptance.

Energy Requirements: The capture and compression processes require energy, and the additional energy demand can impact the overall efficiency of the power plant or industrial facility.

Building the necessary infrastructure, including pipelines for CO2 transportation, plays a crucial role in ensuring the success of extensive carbon capture projects.

Public Acceptance: There are social and environmental considerations related to the storage of CO2, and public acceptance is crucial for the successful implementation of carbon capture projects.

Carbon capture is considered a stepping stone in our efforts to slash emissions while transitioning toward a future driven by low-carbon or carbon-neutral energy. Ongoing research and development are dedicated to enhancing the efficiency and affordability of carbon capture technologies, refining our strategies for a cleaner and more sustainable future. It’s like fine-tuning our approach to create a cleaner and greener tomorrow.

Top 10 FAQs:

1. How does carbon capture work in industrial facilities?
– Carbon capture involves separating carbon dioxide emissions from industrial processes and storing them underground, preventing their release into the atmosphere.

2. Is carbon capture a comprehensive solution to reducing emissions?
– While effective, carbon capture is just one piece of the puzzle, contributing less than 10% to the overall solution for achieving net-zero emissions.

3. What is the current status of carbon capture projects globally?
– Approximately 40 large-scale carbon capture projects are operational worldwide, capturing a modest fraction of global carbon emissions.

4. What challenges do carbon capture projects face, especially in the United States?
– Challenges include opposition to CO2 pipelines, safety concerns, and difficulties in obtaining permits for construction.

5. How does carbon removal differ from carbon capture?
– Carbon removal focuses on extracting carbon already in the atmosphere, employing technologies such as direct air capture or natural methods like forest restoration.

6. Why is carbon removal considered essential in the transition to clean energy?
– Despite advancements in clean energy, certain industries and technologies, like gas-fired cars and aviation, pose challenges for complete decarbonization.

7. Is carbon capture technology expensive?
– Yes, carbon capture is considered expensive, and its broad deployment is still in the early stages.

8. Who supports carbon capture, and why?
– The American Petroleum Institute and many oil companies view carbon capture as essential for cleaner energy use across various sectors.

9. What role does the Biden administration play in supporting carbon capture?
– The Biden administration advocates for increased investment in carbon capture and removal, offering subsidies to attract private financing.

10. Why do some environmentalists oppose carbon capture?
– Environmentalists argue that fossil fuel companies may use carbon capture to divert attention from the urgent need to phase out fossil fuels.

Charting a Course Forward

The road to a sustainable future involves navigating the complexities of carbon capture and carbon removal. While these technologies offer promise, challenges persist, and a comprehensive approach that combines reduced fossil fuel use with effective policies is crucial. Striking the right balance between industry needs and environmental goals remains at the forefront of global climate discussions.

Enjoyed this content? Explore more on my blog for a treasure trove of similar articles and insights!

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