For publications earlier than 2019, view our publications archive.
| Scott, Melissa; Sander, Robert; Nemet, Gregory; Patz, Jonathan: Improving Human Health in China Through Alternative Energy. In: Frontiers in Public Health, pp. NA, 2021, ISSN: 22962565, (Brief article). (Type: Journal Article | )|
| Jung, Suhyun; Dyngeland, Cecilie; Rausch, Lisa; Rasmussen, Laura Vang: Brazilian Land Registry Impacts on Land Use Conversion. In: American Journal of Agricultural Economics, vol. n/a, no. n/a, 2021. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Voluntary land registries can affect land use by facilitating both the public's ability to monitor land use and farmers' access to credit. We estimate the impacts of participation in a land registry on the conversion of natural vegetation to agricultural land use by examining the impacts of the rural environmental registry (CAR) in Brazil, using a dynamic land use model. We show that although participation in the CAR does not significantly affect crop area, it does influence pasture expansion, with variation by farm size and environmental compliance level. Our results provide insights for agricultural land-use policies by illuminating how the intended environmental objectives of land registry programs might be undermined by credit policies.
| Plowright, Raina K; Reaser, Jamie K; Locke, Harvey; Woodley, Stephen J; Patz, Jonathan A; Becker, Daniel J; Oppler, Gabriel; Hudson, Peter J; Tabor, Gary M: Land use-induced spillover: a call to action to safeguard environmental, animal, and human health. In: The Lancet Planetary Health, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. e237-e245, 2021, ISSN: 2542-5196. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
The rapid global spread and human health impacts of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, show humanity's vulnerability to zoonotic disease pandemics. Although anthropogenic land use change is known to be the major driver of zoonotic pathogen spillover from wildlife to human populations, the scientific underpinnings of land use-induced zoonotic spillover have rarely been investigated from the landscape perspective. We call for interdisciplinary collaborations to advance knowledge on land use implications for zoonotic disease emergence with a view toward informing the decisions needed to protect human health. In particular, we urge a mechanistic focus on the zoonotic pathogen infect–shed–spill–spread cascade to enable protection of landscape immunity—the ecological conditions that reduce the risk of pathogen spillover from reservoir hosts—as a conservation and biosecurity priority. Results are urgently needed to formulate an integrated, holistic set of science-based policy and management measures that effectively and cost-efficiently minimise zoonotic disease risk. We consider opportunities to better institute the necessary scientific collaboration, address primary technical challenges, and advance policy and management issues that warrant particular attention to effectively address health security from local to global scales.
| Rausch, Lisa L; Gibbs, Holly K: The Low Opportunity Costs of the Amazon Soy Moratorium. In: Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, vol. 4, pp. 21, 2021, ISSN: 2624-893X. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Brazil’s Amazon Soy Moratorium (ASM) contributed to overall reductions in Amazon deforestation since its implementation in 2006. Under the ASM, the Amazon soy sector maintains access to the growing share of the market that operates under zero-deforestation commitments. The ASM has been criticized as unfair to law-abiding producers. Only 1% of the approximately 14,000 soy farms in the Amazon Biome have soy-suitable, forested areas that could be deforested lawfully (49,273 ha). More than half of Amazon soy farms have soy-suitable areas that were deforested before 2008 and used for soy in 2019 (1.7 Mha). Taken together, these findings suggest that the opportunity costs of the ASM on current soy farms are low relative to the market access benefits.
| Cui, Ryna Yiyun; Hultman, Nathan; Cui, Diyang; McJeon, Haewon; Yu, Sha; Edwards, Morgan R.; Sen, Arijit; Song, Kaihui; Bowman, Christina; Clarke, Leon; Kang, Junjie; Lou, Jiehong; Yang, Fuqiang; Yuan, Jiahai; Zhang, Weirong; Zhu, Mengye: A plant-by-plant strategy for high-ambition coal power phaseout in China. In: Nature Communications, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 1468, 2021, ISSN: 2041-1723. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
More than half of current coal power capacity is in China. A key strategy for meeting China's 2060 carbon neutrality goal and the global 1.5 degrees C climate goal is to rapidly shift away from unabated coal use. Here we detail how to structure a high-ambition coal phaseout in China while balancing multiple national needs. We evaluate the 1037 currently operating coal plants based on comprehensive technical, economic and environmental criteria and develop a metric for prioritizing plants for early retirement. We find that 18 percent of plants consistently score poorly across all three criteria and are thus low-hanging fruits for rapid retirement. We develop plant-by-plant phaseout strategies for each province by combining our retirement algorithm with an integrated assessment model. With rapid retirement of the low-hanging fruits, other existing plants can operate with a 20- or 30-year minimum lifetime and gradually reduced utilization to achieve the 1.5 degrees C or well-below 2 degrees C climate goals, respectively, with complete phaseout by 2045 and 2055.
| Graham, Emily B.; Averill, Colin; Bond-Lamberty, Ben; Knelman, Joseph E.; Krause, Stefan; Peralta, Ariane L.; Shade, Ashley; Smith, A. Peyton; Cheng, Susan J.; Fanin, Nicolas; Freund, Cathryn; Garcia, Patricia E.; Gibbons, Sean M.; Goethem, Marc W. Van; Guebila, Marouen Ben; Kemppinen, Julia; Nowicki, Robert J.; Pausas, Juli G.; Reed, Samuel P.; Rocca, Jennifer; Sengupta, Aditi; Sihi, Debjani; Simonin, Marie; Słowiński, Michał; Spawn, Seth A.; Sutherland, Ira; Tonkin, Jonathan D.; Wisnoski, Nathan I.; Zipper, Samuel C.; Consortium, Contributor: Toward a Generalizable Framework of Disturbance Ecology Through Crowdsourced Science. In: Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 2021. (Type: Journal Article | )|
| Moore, Eli K; Kriesberg, Adam; Schroeder, Steven; Geil, Kerrie; Haugen, Inga; Barford, Carol; Johns, Erica M; Arthur, Dan; Sheffield, Megan; Ritchie, Stephanie M; Jackson, Carolyn; Parr, Cynthia: Agricultural data management and sharing: Best practices and case study. In: Agronomy Journal, vol. n/a, no. n/a, 2021. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Abstract Agricultural data are crucial to many aspects of production, commerce, and research involved in feeding the global community. However, in most agricultural research disciplines standard best practices for data management and publication do not exist. Here we propose a set of best practices in the areas of peer review, minimal dataset development, data repositories, citizen science initiatives, and support for best data management. We illustrate some of these best practices with a case study in dairy agroecosystems research. While many common, and increasingly disparate data management and publication practices are entrenched in agricultural disciplines, opportunities are readily available for promoting and adopting best practices that better enable and enhance data-intensive agricultural research and production.
| Amintas Brandão Jr., Jr.; Rausch, Lisa; Durán, América Paz; Ciniro Costa Jr., Jr.; 1, Seth A. Spawn; Gibbs, Holly K: Estimating the Potential for Conservation and Farming in the Amazon and Cerrado under Four Policy Scenarios. In: Sustainability, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 1277, 2021, ISSN: 2071-1050. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Since 2013, clearing rates have rapidly increased in the Amazon and Cerrado biomes. This acceleration has raised questions about the efficacy of current regional public and private conservation policies that seek to promote agricultural production while conserving remnants of natural vegetation. In this study, we assessed conservation and agricultural outcomes of four potential policy scenarios that represent perfect adherence to private sector, zero-deforestation commitments (i.e., the Amazon soy moratorium—ASM and the Amazon cattle agreements—CA) and to varying levels of implementation of the Brazilian Forest Code (FC). Under a zero-clearing scenario, we find that the extent of croplands as of 2017 within the two biomes (31 MHa) could double without further clearing if agriculture were to expand on all previously cleared land that is suitable for crops. Moreover, at least 47 MHa of land that is already cleared but unsuitable for crops would remain available for pasture. Under scenarios in which only legal clearing under the FC could occur, 51 MHa of additional natural vegetation could be cleared. This includes as many as 1 MHa of nonforest vegetation that could be cleared in the Amazon biome without triggering the ASM and CA monitoring systems. Two-thirds of the total vegetation vulnerable to legal clearing is located within the Cerrado biome, and 19 MHa of this land is suitable for cropland expansion. Legal clearing of all of these areas could reduce biodiversity persistence by 4% within the two biomes, when compared with the zero-clearing scenario, and release up to 9 PgCO2e, with the majority (75%) coming from the Cerrado biome. However, when we considered the potential outcomes of full implementation of the FC, we found that 22% (11 MHa) of the 51 MHa of vegetation subject to legal clearing could be protected through the environmental quotas market, while an additional 1 MHa should be replanted across the two biomes, predominantly in the Amazon biome (73% of the area subject to replanting). Together, quotas and replanting could prevent the release of 2 PgCO2e that would otherwise be emitted if all legal clearing occurred. Based on our results, we conclude that ongoing legal clearing could create additional space for cropland and cattle production beyond the substantial existing stocks of cleared areas but would significantly impair local carbon and biodiversity stocks.
| Santika, Truly; Wilson, Kerrie A.; Law, Elizabeth A.; John, Freya A. V. St; Carlson, Kimberly M.; Gibbs, Holly; Morgans, Courtney L.; Ancrenaz, Marc; Meijaard, Erik; Struebig, Matthew J.: Impact of palm oil sustainability certification on village well-being and poverty in Indonesia. In: Nature Sustainability, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 109-119, 2021, ISSN: 2398-9629. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil has emerged as the leading sustainability certification system to tackle socioenvironmental issues associated with the oil palm industry. However, the effectiveness of certification by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil in achieving its socioeconomic objectives remains uncertain. We evaluate the impact of certification on village-level well-being across Indonesia by applying counterfactual analysis to multidimensional government poverty data. We compare poverty across 36,311 villages between 2000 and 2018, tracking changes from before oil palm plantations were first established to several years after plantations were certified. Certification was associated with reduced poverty in villages with primarily market-based livelihoods, but not in those in which subsistence livelihoods were dominant before switching to oil palm. We highlight the importance of baseline village livelihood systems in shaping local impacts of agricultural certification and assert that oil palm certification in certain village contexts may require additional resources to ensure socioeconomic objectives are realized.
| Burivalova, Zuzana; Purnomo,; Orndorff, Samantha; Truskinger, Anthony; Roe, Paul; Game, Edward T: The sound of logging: Tropical forest soundscape before, during, and after selective timber extraction. In: Biological Conservation, vol. 254, pp. 108812, 2021, ISSN: 0006-3207. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Over half of the world's tropical forests are used for timber extraction by selective logging. Even though these forests are degraded to a variable degree, they are still important for tropical forest biodiversity. It is not yet known how biodiversity is impacted during and immediately after logging, and how fast it recovers. Here, we use ecoacoustics, and specifically the recording and analysis of soundscape dawn time series, to monitor the immediate impact and early recovery of biodiversity after selective logging. We describe the results of capturing a dawn time series of soundscapes in a Bornean tropical lowland forest before, during, and after selective logging. Soundscape saturation, which is correlated with the number of different calls that make up the soundscape, dropped significantly immediately after selective logging was carried out. The reduced saturation was mostly due to the loss of bird vocalizations, whereas insects did not seem to be impacted. In a space-for-time recording from the same area, soundscape saturation during the equivalent time of day recovered after one year, however began to drop again in years 2 and 3 after logging. Our results are suggestive of a strong effect of logging and seasonality on tropical forest soundscapes. Being able to track biodiversity changes and recovery over time in tropical forests managed for timber production can ultimately improve our odds of avoiding more species extinctions, by providing evidence-based recommendations on how much time forests need to recover biodiversity.
| Xie, Y.; Gibbs, H. K.; Lark, T. J.: Landsat-based Irrigation Dataset (LANID): 30,m resolution maps of irrigation distribution, frequency, and change for the US, 1997--2017. In: Earth System Science Data, vol. 13, no. 12, pp. 5689–5710, 2021. (Type: Journal Article | )|
| Khanna, Madhu; Chen, Luoye; Basso, Bruno; Cai, Ximing; Field, John L.; Guan, Kaiyu; Jiang, Chongya; Lark, Tyler J.; Richard, Tom L.; Spawn-Lee, Seth A.; Yang, Pan; Zipp, Katherine Y.: Redefining marginal land for bioenergy crop production. In: GCB Bioenergy, vol. 13, no. 10, pp. 1590-1609, 2021. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Abstract Marginal land has received wide attention for its potential to produce bioenergy feedstocks while minimizing diversion of productive agricultural land from food crop production. However, there has been no consensus in the literature on how to define or identify land that is marginal for food crops and beneficial for bioenergy crops. Studies have used different definitions to quantify the amount of such land available; these have largely been based on assumed biophysical thresholds for soil quality and productivity that are unchanging over space and time. We discuss the limitations of these definitions and the rationale for considering economic returns and environmental outcomes in classifying land as marginal. We then propose the concept of “socially” marginal which is defined as land that is earning close to zero returns after accounting for the monetized costs of environmental externalities generated. We discuss a broad set of criteria for classifying land as socially marginal for food crops and suitable for bioenergy crops; with these criteria, this classification depends on spatially varying and time-varying factors, such as climate and market conditions and policy incentives. While there are challenges related to identifying this marginal land, satellite and other large-scale datasets increasingly enable such analysis at a fine spatial resolution. We also discuss reasons why landowners might choose not to convert bioenergy-suitable land to bioenergy crops, and thus the need for policy incentives to support conversion of land that is socially beneficial for bioenergy crop production.
| Drever, C. Ronnie; Cook-Patton, Susan C.; Akhter, Fardausi; Badiou, Pascal H.; Chmura, Gail L.; Davidson, Scott J.; Desjardins, Raymond L.; Dyk, Andrew; Fargione, Joseph E.; Fellows, Max; Filewod, Ben; Hessing-Lewis, Margot; Jayasundara, Susantha; Keeton, William S.; Kroeger, Timm; Lark, Tyler J.; Le, Edward; Leavitt, Sara M.; LeClerc, Marie-Eve; Lemprière, Tony C.; Metsaranta, Juha; McConkey, Brian; Neilson, Eric; St-Laurent, Guillaume Peterson; Puric-Mladenovic, Danijela; Rodrigue, Sebastien; Soolanayakanahally, Raju Y.; Spawn, Seth A.; Strack, Maria; Smyth, Carolyn; Thevathasan, Naresh; Voicu, Mihai; Williams, Christopher A.; Woodbury, Peter B.; Worth, Devon E.; Xu, Zhen; Yeo, Samantha; Kurz, Werner A.: Natural climate solutions for Canada. In: Science Advances, vol. 7, no. 23, pp. eabd6034, 2021. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Canada has natural solutions to support its efforts to tackle climate change: forests, wetlands, grasslands, and agriculture. Alongside the steep reductions needed in fossil fuel emissions, natural climate solutions (NCS) represent readily deployable options that can contribute to Canada’s goals for emission reductions. We estimate the mitigation potential of 24 NCS related to the protection, management, and restoration of natural systems that can also deliver numerous co-benefits, such as enhanced soil productivity, clean air and water, and biodiversity conservation. NCS can provide up to 78.2 (41.0 to 115.1) Tg CO2e/year (95% CI) of mitigation annually in 2030 and 394.4 (173.2 to 612.4) Tg CO2e cumulatively between 2021 and 2030, with 34% available at ≤CAD 50/Mg CO2e. Avoided conversion of grassland, avoided peatland disturbance, cover crops, and improved forest management offer the largest mitigation opportunities. The mitigation identified here represents an important potential contribution to the Paris Agreement, such that NCS combined with existing mitigation plans could help Canada to meet or exceed its climate goals.
| Chen, Pan; Yuan, Yongping; Li, Wenhong; LeDuc, Stephen D.; Lark, Tyler J.; Zhang, Xuesong; Clark, Christopher: Assessing the Impacts of Recent Crop Expansion on Water Quality in the Missouri River Basin Using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool. In: Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, vol. 13, no. 6, pp. e2020MS002284, 2021, (e2020MS002284 2020MS002284). (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Abstract The Missouri River Basin (MORB) has experienced a resurgence of grassland conversion to crop production, which raised concerns on water quality. We applied the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to address how this conversion would impact water quality. We designed three crop production scenarios representing conversion of grassland to: (a) continuous corn; (b) corn/soybean rotation; and (c) corn/wheat rotation to assess the impact. The SWAT model results showed: (a) the lower MORB produced high total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) load before conversion (baseline) due mainly to high precipitation and high agricultural activity; (b) the greatest percentage increases of TN and TP occurred in the North and South Dakotas, coinciding with the highest amount of grassland conversion to cropland; and (c) grassland conversion to continuous corn resulted in the greatest increase in TN and TP loads, followed by conversion to corn/soybean and then conversion to corn/wheat. Although the greatest percentage increases of TN and TP occurred in the North and South Dakotas, these areas still contributed relatively low TN and TP to total basin loads after conversion. However, watersheds, predominantly in the lower MORB continued to be “hotspots” that contributed the greatest amounts of TN and TP to the total basin loads—driven by a combination of grassland conversion, high precipitation, and loading from pre-existing cropland. At the watershed outlet, the TN and TP loads were increased by 6.4% (13,800 t/yr) and 8.7% (3,400 t/yr), respectively, during the 2008–2016 period for the conversion to continuous corn scenario.
| Xie, Yanhua; Lark, Tyler J.: Mapping annual irrigation from Landsat imagery and environmental variables across the conterminous United States. In: Remote Sensing of Environment, vol. 260, pp. 112445, 2021, ISSN: 0034-4257. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Identifying the location of irrigated croplands and how they change over time is critical for assessing and managing limited water resources to navigate such challenges as local to global water scarcity, increasing demands for food and energy production, and environmental sustainability. Although efforts have been made to map irrigated area for the U.S., multi-year nationwide maps at field-relevant resolutions are still unavailable; existing products suffer from coarse resolution, uncertain accuracy, and/or limited spatial coverage, especially in the eastern U.S. In this study, we present an approach to map the extent of irrigated croplands across the conterminous U.S. (CONUS) for each year in the period of 1997–2017. To scale nationwide, we developed novel methods to generate training datasets covering both the western and eastern U.S. For the more arid western U.S., we built upon the methods of Xie et al. (2019) and further developed a greenness-based normalization technique to estimate optimal thresholds of crop greenness in any year based on those in USDA NASS census years (i.e., 1997, 2002, 2007, 2012, and 2017). For the relatively humid eastern states, we collected data on the current status of center pivot irrigated and non-irrigated fields and extended these sample points through time using various indices and observational thresholds. We used the generated samples along with remote sensing features and environmental variables to train county-stratified random forest classifiers annually for pixel-level classification of irrigated extent each year and subsequently implemented a logic-based post-classification filtering. The produced Landsat-based Irrigation Dataset (LANID-US) accurately reconstructed NASS irrigation patterns at both the county and state level while also supplying new annual area estimates for intra-epoch years. Nationwide pixel-level locational assessment further demonstrated an overall accuracy above 90% across years. In the 21-year study period, we found several hotspots of irrigation change including significant gains in the U.S. Midwest, the Mississippi River Alluvial Plain, and the East Coast as well as irrigation declines in the central and southern High Plains Aquifer and the southern California Central Valley, Arizona, and Florida. The resulting 30 m resolution LANID-US products represent the finest resolution account of nationwide irrigation use and dynamics across the United States to date. The developed approach, training data, and products are further extendable to other years (either before 1997 or after 2017) for continuous monitoring of irrigated area over CONUS and are spatially applicable to other regions with similar climate and cropping landscapes.
| Lark, Tyler J.; Schelly, Ian H.; Gibbs, Holly K.: Accuracy, Bias, and Improvements in Mapping Crops and Cropland across the United States Using the USDA Cropland Data Layer. In: Remote Sensing, vol. 13, no. 5, 2021, ISSN: 2072-4292. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Cropland Data Layer (CDL) is a 30 m resolution crop-specific land cover map produced annually to assess crops and cropland area across the conterminous United States. Despite its prominent use and value for monitoring agricultural land use/land cover (LULC), there remains substantial uncertainty surrounding the CDLs’ performance, particularly in applications measuring LULC at national scales, within aggregated classes, or changes across years. To fill this gap, we used state- and land cover class-specific accuracy statistics from the USDA from 2008 to 2016 to comprehensively characterize the performance of the CDL across space and time. We estimated nationwide area-weighted accuracies for the CDL for specific crops as well as for the aggregated classes of cropland and non-cropland. We also derived and reported new metrics of superclass accuracy and within-domain error rates, which help to quantify and differentiate the efficacy of mapping aggregated land use classes (e.g., cropland) among constituent subclasses (i.e., specific crops). We show that aggregate classes embody drastically higher accuracies, such that the CDL correctly identifies cropland from the user’s perspective 97% of the time or greater for all years since nationwide coverage began in 2008. We also quantified the mapping biases of specific crops throughout time and used these data to generate independent bias-adjusted crop area estimates, which may complement other USDA survey- and census-based crop statistics. Our overall findings demonstrate that the CDLs provide highly accurate annual measures of crops and cropland areas, and when used appropriately, are an indispensable tool for monitoring changes to agricultural landscapes.
| Mailloux, Nicholas A.; Henegan, Colleen P.; Lsoto, Dorothy; Patterson, Kristen P.; West, Paul C.; Foley, Jonathan A.; Patz, Jonathan A.: Climate Solutions Double as Health Interventions. In: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 18, no. 24, 2021, ISSN: 1660-4601. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
The climate crisis threatens to exacerbate numerous climate-sensitive health risks, including heatwave mortality, malnutrition from reduced crop yields, water- and vector-borne infectious diseases, and respiratory illness from smog, ozone, allergenic pollen, and wildfires. Recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stress the urgent need for action to mitigate climate change, underscoring the need for more scientific assessment of the benefits of climate action for health and wellbeing. Project Drawdown has analyzed more than 80 solutions to address climate change, building on existing technologies and practices, that could be scaled to collectively limit warming to between 1.5° and 2 °C above preindustrial levels. The solutions span nine major sectors and are aggregated into three groups: reducing the sources of emissions, maintaining and enhancing carbon sinks, and addressing social inequities. Here we present an overview of how climate solutions in these three areas can benefit human health through improved air quality, increased physical activity, healthier diets, reduced risk of infectious disease, and improved sexual and reproductive health, and universal education. We find that the health benefits of a low-carbon society are more substantial and more numerous than previously realized and should be central to policies addressing climate change. Much of the existing literature focuses on health effects in high-income countries, however, and more research is needed on health and equity implications of climate solutions, especially in the Global South. We conclude that adding the myriad health benefits across multiple climate change solutions can likely add impetus to move climate policies faster and further.
| Sun, Yuren; Maeda, Tatiana Midori; Solis-Lemus, Claudia; Pimentel-Alarcon, Daniel; Burivalova, Zuzana: Classification of animal sounds in a hyperdiverse rainforest using Convolutional Neural Networks. 2021. (Type: Miscellaneous | )|
| Downey, Harriet; et al,: Training future generations to deliver evidence-based conservation and ecosystem management. In: Ecological Solutions and Evidence, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. e12032, 2021, (authors include Burivalova). (Type: Journal Article | | )|
Abstract 1. To be effective, the next generation of conservation practitioners and managers need to be critical thinkers with a deep understanding of how to make evidence-based decisions and of the value of evidence synthesis. 2. If, as educators, we do not make these priorities a core part of what we teach, we are failing to prepare our students to make an effective contribution to conservation practice. 3. To help overcome this problem we have created open access online teaching materials in multiple languages that are stored in Applied Ecology Resources. So far, 117 educators from 23 countries have acknowledged the importance of this and are already teaching or about to teach skills in appraising or using evidence in conservation decision-making. This includes 145 undergraduate, postgraduate or professional development courses. 4. We call for wider teaching of the tools and skills that facilitate evidence-based conservation and also suggest that providing online teaching materials in multiple languages could be beneficial for improving global understanding of other subject areas.
| Wang, Nan; Akimoto, Keigo; Nemet, Gregory F.: What went wrong? Learning from three decades of carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS) pilot and demonstration projects. In: Energy Policy, vol. 158, pp. 112546, 2021, ISSN: 0301-4215. (Type: Journal Article | | )|
The delivery of operational clean energy projects at scales is essential for addressing climate change. Carbon capture and sequestration (CCUS) is among the most important clean technology, however, most CCUS projects initiated in the past three decades have failed. This study statistically evaluates the reasons for this unfavourable outcome by estimating a hazard model for 263 CCUS projects undertaken between 1995 and 2018. The results indicate that larger plant sizes increase the risk of CCUS projects being terminated or put on hold; increasing capacity by 1 Mt CO2/y increases the risk of failure by nearly 50%. We also examined the impact of technology push and market pull policies and found that existing support mechanisms have not been sufficient in mitigating the risks associated with project upscaling. CCUS deployment at the gigaton scale depends on substantially reducing project risk while increasing expectations of financial returns. Gradual upscaling, increased policy support, particularly for demonstrations of the viability of CCUS, while also building a market through carbon pricing would help remedy the current imbalance between risk and return. Increasing the expected payoffs for CCUS so that hundreds of real projects are brought on-line will require the co-evolution of technology innovation, institutions, investment, and deployment strategy for CCUS technology.