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Negative emissions technologies to accommodate the political economy of fossil fuel exports

smoke billowing

Project Description

With a deep reliance on fossil fuels, for both domestic consumption and export, certain resource-rich nations like Australia and Saudi Arabia export fossil fuels at rates several times their domestic consumption. The political economy of these fossil fuel industries can be powerful and often polarizing, with the potential to turn election outcomes and degrade climate policies. Researchers in the Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and Business School at the University of Queensland are evaluating the technical, economic, and political feasibility of deploying carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies to offset scope 3 emissions associated with fossil fuel exports.
This research will identify and quantify the technical potential and cost of carbon dioxide removal opportunities, including natural options for Australia’s land sector (under a National Carbon Farming Initiative) along with available negative emissions technological options in Australia. These technological options include bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and direct air capture with CCS (DACCS). The result will be presented in the form of a Marginal Abatement Cost (MAC) curve.
This work could be extended to include business and social sciences to explore whether such solutions could provide an ethical basis for extending Australian fossil fuel exports for a limited transition period. This would alleviate the substantial economic and social burden of a rapid decline in the production and export of Australia’s fossil fuels. Moreover, Australia could play an important leadership role in pioneering needed innovations for global benefit.


Paul Dargusch; Sam Uden; Chris Greig