Carbon capture and storage is one of the main carbon emissions policy issues globally, yet you may know little about it if you’re outside the academic community. As the global push to address the impact that carbon emissions has on global warming continues, awareness and knowledge of viable solutions must be communicated in layperson terms. Returning Coal and Carbon To Nature breaks across traditional barriers among history, geology, biology and climate change to address the topic from a multidisciplinary, Earth System Science approach. If you’re a policymakeror someone who influences policy, this book will explain carbon capture and storage—a relatively new concept—in easy-to-understand terms. Clearly presented charts, tables and diagrams explain critical concepts, and a range of full-color photographs will help you visualize the carbon capture and storage process and its principles.

Key Features

  • Discusses carbon capture and storage in terms easily accessible to a range of stakeholders, including policymakers worldwide and geoscientists who influence policy.
  • The first cross-disciplinary look at the history, geology and biology of coal, and presents carbon capture and storage in the context of Earth System Science.
  • Authored by one of the world’s foremost carbon capture and storage experts who has more than 30 years of field research experience.


geoscientists and government policymakers

Table of Contents




Chapter 1. Of Hockey Sticks and Coal

Coal and the Industrial Revolution

Where is the Coal?

Use of Coal in the Future


Chapter 2. The Negative Greenhouse

The Plants

How Coal Forms

The Negative Greenhouse

Capturing Carbon Fast Enough


Chapter 3. Capturing Carbon Dioxide

Artificial CO2 Capture

Transporting CO2


Chapter 4. Returning Carbon to Nature

Creating an Underground CO2 Store

Ready-Made Storage

Bigger Storage

Long-Term Behaviour of CO2

Storage Space

CO2 Storage in India, China and South Africa

Full Circle: Storing CO2 in Coal

Is There Enough Storage Space, Then?


Chapter 5. Will It Leak?

How Likely is Leakage


Detecting Leaks

The Big Leak



Chapter 6. Accounting for Carbon

How Do You Make CCS Pay for Itself?

Isn’t CCS Artificial?

Back to the Carbon Cycle

Full Circle



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© 2013
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About the author

Michael Stephenson

Mike Stephenson is Director of Science and Technology at the British Geological Survey. He began his career as a schoolteacher in rural Africa and stayed there for nearly ten years but returned to Britain to pursue research in the Middle East and Asia, including highlights in Oman, Jordan, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. Mike has degrees from Imperial College and Sheffield University and runs the Science Programme at BGS, the UK's national geoscience and data centre, with 520 scientists and technologists. He has professorships at Nottingham and Leicester universities and has published over eighty peer-reviewed papers, while also acting on the editorial boards of several journals, and as Editor-in-Chief of an Elsevier geological journal. In 2012 Mike published an acclaimed study of carbon capture and storage called Returning Carbon to Nature, published by Elsevier.

Affiliations and Expertise

British Geological Survey, Keyworth,Nottingham, UK


”… describes the importance of coal for generating electricity, the need to reduce carbon emissions, and the processes for capturing, transporting, injecting, and storing carbon dioxide in geological formations… illustrates the significance of electricity in people's lives and in economic development by focusing on India, China, and South Africa,… Summing Up: Recommended.”--CHOICE, July 1, 2014

"..breaks across traditional barriers among history, geology, biology and climate change to address the topic from a multidisciplinary, Earth System Science approach. If you’re a policymaker or someone who influences policy, this book will explain carbon capture and storage-a relatively new concept- in easy-to-understand terms."--GeoQ, March 2014
"Stephenson argues for carbon capture and storage (CCS) as an important tool in stabilizing the environment while reducing CO2 emissions.…Though the book makes use of some technical symbols and makes quantitative arguments using available data, the conceptual basis of climate change and CCS technology is explained in conversational prose that opens the book to nontechnical readers.", January 2014

This from Amazon:

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent review of an important topic 3 Jan 2014 By Dr. P. Styles Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) has to be part of our strategy to deal with ever increasing amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide in a world where use of fossil fuels is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. However, despite huge initial enthusiasm has not yet been able to obtain much purchase globally. Mike Stephenson explains very clearly why it is essential, how it might be done technically and what governments must do to start implementing this crucial weapon in the st