The research, commissioned by environmental campaign groups Friends of the Earth Scotland and Global Witness, suggests that carbon capture and storage (CCS) schemes cannot deliver the rapid emissions cuts required in the energy sector by 2030 and threaten efforts to curb global warming.
There are currently no working CCS plants in the UK today and significant deployment is not expected until at least the next decade.
Globally, there are just 26 such schemes in operation, far short of projected development over the past 20 years.
Several have been initiated, but later abandoned.
Both the UK and Scottish governments have recently announced support for CCS projects – Boris Johnson pledged £200 million of funding for such schemes in Westminster’s recent ten-point climate plan, while £80m of backing has been earmarked for development of CCS and other ”negative emission technologies” in December’s update to Scotland’s Climate Change Plan.
The study, by the Tyndall Centre, suggests the technology has consistently failed to deliver on projections and the vast majority of carbon captured across the world to date has been used to extract more fossil fuel via the process of enhanced oil recovery.
Campaigners are instead calling for a re-direction of investments to back a range of readily deployable renewable projects and energy-efficiency measures for homes, which they claim would more quickly create jobs, cut climate emissions and improve quality of life.
“Politicians and CCS backers in the fossil fuel industry want us to trust them with a technology with a long history of over-promising and under-delivering,” said Jess Cowell, climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth Scotland.
“This report makes it clear that carbon capture and storage is a dangerous distraction from the necessary action to cut climate emissions from our energy sector in this crucial decade.
“Instead we need a bold plan setting out steps to phase out fossil fuel extraction and use, while ensuring a just transition for workers and communities dependent on the industry.”