Geoscience and decarbonization: Current status and future directions

Michael H. Stephenson*, Philip Ringrose, Sebastian Geiger, Michael Bridden, David Schofield

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
71 Downloads (Pure)


At the 2015 United Nations International Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), 197 national parties committed to limit global warming to well below 2°C. But current plans and pace of progress are still far from sufficient to achieve this objective. Here we review the role that geoscience and the subsurface could play in decarbonizing electricity production, industry, transport and heating to meet UK and international climate change targets, based on contributions to the 2019 Bryan Lovell meeting held at the Geological Society of London. Technologies discussed at the meeting involved decarbonization of electricity production via renewable sources of power generation, substitution of domestic heating using geothermal energy, use of carbon capture and storage (CCS), and more ambitious technologies such as bioenergy and carbon capture and storage (BECCS) that target negative emissions. It was noted also that growth in renewable energy supply will lead to increased demand for geological materials to sustain the electrification of the vehicle fleet and other low-carbon technologies. The overall conclusion reached at the 2019 Bryan Lovell meeting was that geoscience is critical to decarbonization, but that the geoscience community must influence decision-makers so that the value of the subsurface to decarbonization is understood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-508
Number of pages8
JournalPetroleum Geoscience
Issue number4
Early online date22 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Economic Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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