With many concerns and debates regarding climate change, countries around the world are looking for ways to reduce carbon emissions. These carbon emissions happen to be the leading cause of climate change and large coal-burning industries are mostly responsible. One way to reduce these harmful emissions involves a new technology that captures carbon dioxide from the air and pumps it directly underground for permanent storage. This project was operated in Germany, Scotland, and the United States with little success. However, the two largest consumers of carbon dioxide, China and the United States, are investigating a new way to reduce carbon output and are looking toward a surprising industry for this solution.

When looking for the carbon emission reduction solution, the oil industry may be the last thing that comes to mind as a possible aid to reducing carbon. However, the enhanced oil recovery industry has gained benefits from setting aside carbon dioxide emissions for nearly four decades. Companies in the oil recovery industry use carbon dioxide and pipe it into aging oil fields to push out crude oil that is normally unreachable by drilling. This industry traditionally uses natural sources of carbon dioxide but a new idea has been proposed to obtain the carbon from power utilities and coal-burning companies. Enhanced oil recovery is projected to require 100 billion tons of carbon dioxide, or about 5 percent of what would be needed to reduce the threat of climate change. That being said, this number could be significantly higher if carbon intensive industries partner with enhanced oil recovery companies.

Two countries, the United States and China, are major supporters of this carbon use partnership and oil recovery project. Currently, the United States leads China in enhanced oil recovery mainly because small technology companies in the United States have been quicker to respond to changes than the big oil and technology companies of China. However, China is serious about moving into this industry and has recently hosted an international conference on finding useful ways to use carbon emissions from coal plants. If China and the United States are able to work together and successfully carry out this project, it will not only lower carbon emissions greatly but also lessen the burden on low-carbon technologies such as wind and solar power. Going forward, this project has great potential and shows that major global problems can be solved if countries are dedicated to working together.

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