Australia’s carbon sequestration potential is the focus of the Climate Change Authority’s latest self-initiated research project.

Achieving the Paris Agreement goal to limit global warming to well below 2°C requires more than deep cuts to global greenhouse gas emissions. Removing emissions from our atmosphere is critical to complement the sharp reductions needed, and to avoid the worst impacts of a warmer world.

The latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report(Opens in a new tab/window) states that removing emissions from the atmosphere and from hard-to-decarbonise processes “is unavoidable”.

It concludes that, globally, up to 4.1 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide (CO2) would have to be removed every year by 2030, and up to 6.4 Gt a year by 2050, to meet the Paris Agreement goal.

For this project, carbon sequestration is defined as the storage of carbon in geological, biological, mineral and ocean reservoirs, which was captured by either:

  • removing CO2 from the atmosphere, referred to as carbon dioxide removal (CDR), often referred to as negative emissions technologies (NETs); or
  • separating CO2 at point of origin and storing it to prevent it entering the atmosphere, commonly known as carbon capture and storage (CCS).

This research project follows on from the Authority’s 2021 Insights Paper Paris Plus: From cost to competitive advantage. That paper found we need a better understanding of Australia’s biological and geological sequestration potential to ensure we can set increasingly ambitious emissions reduction goals backed by rigorous evidence.

The Authority has commissioned CSIRO to undertake a technical report on storage capacities, removal rates and Australia’s comparative advantages in sequestration to support this research project.

The Authority intends to publish an Insights Paper on carbon sequestration in October 2022. This project will help inform the Authority’s advice to government on Australia’s 2035 emissions reduction target.

Questions on the project can be directed to the Secretariat at:

Date: Monday, 05 September 2022
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