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Accepted Paper:

Down-to-earth decarbonisation? Interrogating underground narratives and alliances between CCS actors in France  
Lisa Claussmann (Mines Paris-PSL)

Short abstract:

The paper focuses on carbon capture and storage (CCS) to achieve decarbonisation objectives in France. I discuss the implementation of a “down-to-earth decarbonisation”, with reference to underground CO2 storage and alliances between experts, policy-makers and carbon-emitting industries.

Long abstract:

This paper looks at how experts, policy-makers, and carbon-emitting industries work together to achieve decarbonisation objectives. It focuses on carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a technical ‘solution’ to tackle climate change. This technique has been identified as a credible option for decarbonising industry throughout Europe.

In France, CCS has gone through several phases of integration into CO2 emissions management methods. Two sets of actors emerged since the 1990s: the oil and gas industries prioritizing offshore storage, and government experts seeking to diversify smaller technical initiatives (Chailleux 2022). The paper discuss their promise to exploit the underground as part of a transition toward lower carbon production processes. It will start by examining the way in which government experts present the underground as a space able to absorb surplus carbon emissions. I show that this particular type of "politics of strata" (Clark 2017) is then mobilised to implement CCS in France as part of an energy transition policy, and to promote what I call “down-to-earth decarbonisation”. The paper ends with a discussion on the implementation of a down-to-earth decarbonisation, with reference to underground CO2 storage and alliances between political and industrial actors.

This paper is based on ongoing postdoctoral research in STS on the valuation processes of the underground in the context of climate change policies. It is part of a wider research project on the possible development of onshore CCS in France and draws on qualitative empirical resources, such as interviews and policy reports.

Traditional Open Panel P255
Making and doing industrial decarbonisation: firms, employees and the world beyond the factory fence.
  Session 1