Negative emissions and the politics of a projected future: Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), political economy, and the responsibilisation of climate research

Project: Research

Project Details


IPCC scenarios suggest a need for the large-scale use of negative emission technologies to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Models project that Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) will deliver these future negative emissions, but significant concerns and uncertainties exist about its feasibility. This project aims to bring social science perspectives and insights to the center of
the debate on BECCS and negative emission pathways more generally. It seeks to study the socioeconomic and political dimensions of model-based climate research by combining 1) a reconstructive analysis of the history of BECCS in models with 2) a political economic analysis of BECCS-related policy and practice and 3) a participatory engagement with modelers, scientists and policy makers. In doing so we ask to what extent models perform BECCS as a feasible mitigation option, what the implications of this (non)performativity are for the role of modeling in climate policy, and how closer attention to political and social analysis can help inform alternative mitigation scenarios.

The project employs mixed qualitative methods and a theoretical approach that combines political economy with insights from science and technology studies. Our main contribution lies in the ambition to advance a more interdisciplinary research agenda on emission reduction pathways and therewith involve the social sciences more closely in debates on how to meet the Paris Agreement.
Effective start/end date2018/12/012023/11/30


  • FORMAS, a Swedish research council for sustainable development

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

UKÄ subject classification

  • Climate Research

Free keywords

  • Negative emissions
  • Carbon
  • Bioenergy
  • Climate research