Abstract for: Understanding Contrasting Narratives on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage

Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) can reduce CO2 emissions, but there is disagreement on its role. The disagreement is reflected in stark differences in stakeholders’ narratives on CCS. In the Netherlands, one extreme narrative focusses on CCS as part of a just transition and another on CCS as contributing to carbon lock-in. These narratives reflect different expectations of dynamic feedbacks around CCS deployment in the specific Dutch industrial context. This paper aims to arrive at a more unifying narrative that can clarify what role CCS may play in reality. Qualitative system dynamics based on expert interviews is applied to identify the systemic feedback mechanisms that drive the dynamics of CCS in the Dutch industrial system transition, and that explain the two narratives. We find that CCS may reinforce carbon lock-in through the feedback mechanisms of legitimising, crowding out and integration and that CCS may play a part in a just climate transition through employment, economic and environmental mechanisms. We combine these mechanisms into an alternative framing of CCS that could align the interests of different stakeholders: regulating CCS carefully to maximise its social and climate benefits and minimise the build-up of vested interests and carbon lock-in.