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Decarbonisation depends on advancing and supporting the geosciences

Advances and investment in several key areas of the geosciences are required to meet targets of no more than 1.5°C warming, according to a review paper published today in Petroleum Geoscience: the international journal of geoenergy and applied earth science.

Michael Stephenson and colleagues argue that a better understanding of the properties of the subsurface are required to meet energy transition targets. The review explores the potential of various energy generation and storage schemes, including geothermal energy generation, thermal and compressed air energy storage, and carbon capture storage to reduce emissions and provide lasting solutions to ensuring energy supply for a growing population.

Responsible mining of natural resources will also be required to supply the raw materials needed to support the increasing use of wind turbines, electric cars, lithium batteries and fuel cells. Meeting these challenges will require the development of regulatory frameworks and monitoring programmes, as well as investment in subsurface characterisation and pilot schemes, the authors say.


  1. The review article was developed from discussions held at the Geological Society’s Bryan Lovell Meeting on “The role of geological science in the decarbonisation of power production, heat, transport and industry”. More information from the meeting, including an initial report and video recordings of talks, can be accessed on the event page
  2. A Q&A with author Michael Stephenson is available on the Geological Society’s blog
  3. The paper was published Open Access and is available through the Lyell Collection
  4. Full reference: Stephenson, M.H., Ringrose, P., Geiger, S., Bridden, M. & Schofield, D. 2019. Geoscience and decarbonization: current status and future directions. Petroleum Geoscience: The international journal of geoenergy and applied earth science,
  5. For more references about carbon, visit our Year of Carbon page