Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 1111–1128 | Cite as

Examining the Role of Carbon Capture and Storage Through an Ethical Lens

  • Fabien MedveckyEmail author
  • Justine Lacey
  • Peta Ashworth
Original Paper


The risk posed by anthropogenic climate change is generally accepted, and the challenge we face to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to a tolerable limit cannot be underestimated. Reducing GHG emissions can be achieved either by producing less GHG to begin with or by emitting less GHG into the atmosphere. One carbon mitigation technology with large potential for capturing carbon dioxide at the point source of emissions is carbon capture and storage (CCS). However, the merits of CCS have been questioned, both on practical and ethical grounds. While the practical concerns have already received substantial attention, the ethical concerns still demand further consideration. This article aims to respond to this deficit by reviewing the critical ethical challenges raised by CCS as a possible tool in a climate mitigation strategy and argues that the urgency stemming from climate change underpins many of the concerns raised by CCS.


CCS Climate change Ethics Intergenerational justice Mitigation Responsibility Risk 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  2. 2.Division of Earth Science and Resource EngineeringCommonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), QCATKenmoreAustralia

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