• The costs of reaching net zero CO2 emissions around mid-century are calculated for pathways involving different amounts of carbon capture and storage (CCS).
  • High-CCS pathways used in the study mitigate about half of today’s emissions in 2050 with CCS, and low-CCS pathways about one-tenth.
  • From 2021 to 2050, taking a low-CCS pathway to net zero emissions will cost at least US$30 trillion less than taking a high-CCS route – saving approximately a trillion dollars per year.
  • Land-use requirements for energy crops are smaller in low-CCS pathways by an area equivalent to half the size of Saudi Arabia.
  • Assessing data from the past 40 years, no evidence is found for technological learning or associated cost reductions to date in any part of the CCS process – capture, transport or storage.
  • CCS targeted to specific uses is still likely necessary to reach net zero, and in future for negative emissions.
  • The current build rate of CCS needs accelerating even to meet levels in low-CCS net zero scenarios.
  • Governments should rapidly scale up CCS but reserve it only for essential use cases.
  • Using CCS to facilitate ongoing fossil fuel use would be, globally, highly economically damaging.


Bacilieri, A., Black, R. & Way, R. (2023). 'Assessing the relative costs of high-CCS and low-CCS pathways to 1.5 degrees'. Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. Working Paper No. 23-08.
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