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Portrait of Jonas Allesson. Photo.

Jonas Allesson

PhD student

Portrait of Jonas Allesson. Photo.

Burying problems? Imaginaries of carbon capture and storage in Scandinavia


  • Lina Lefstad
  • Jonas Allesson
  • Henner Busch
  • Wim Carton

Summary, in English

CO2 management, capturing CO2 from industry processes or removing CO2 from the atmosphere, is increasingly presented as a necessity for climate. Scandinavian countries are at the forefront of developing carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. We reviewed the scientific literature on CCS in Scandinavia to identify and analyse prevalent imaginaries for the role of this technology in the region. Imaginaries capture ideas about the future use of technologies. They are deeply political in that they help define what futures are seen as possible and desirable.
Studying CCS imaginaries can grant insights into how current structures and interests shape future climate mitigation pathways. Our results show that one dominant imaginary defines the scientific debate, which envisions using CCS to preserve the industrial base of the region while seeking to meet climate goals. This dominant imaginary builds its appeal and legitimacy around three main characteristics: 1) scientific authority, which justifies the need for large-scale CCS, 2) greening the industrial regime, which gives it a specific purpose, and 3)
Scandinavian exceptionalism, which mobilises existing infrastructure and regional know-how combined with a narrative of national environmental leadership. We argue that the dominant imaginary limits the way in which the future can be imagined, by framing out remaining uncertainties and alternative ways of lowering emissions. This highlights the importance of open and critical democratic debate about suggested mitigation pathways.


  • LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)

Publishing year





Energy Research & Social Science



Document type

Journal article




  • Political Science
  • Environmental Management




  • Burying problems? Imaginaries of carbon capture and storage in Scandinavia


  • ISSN: 2214-6326