Carbon sequestration through capture and storage in subsurface porous geologic formations is one potential method for mitigating the problem of climate change due to emission of anthropogenic CO2. In fact, in a world highly dependent on energy derived from hydrocarbons and coal, carbon capture and storage may represent the most promising approach to maintaining industrial development in the present period, while implementing other solutions that will deliver sustainable reductions in CO2 emissions in the long run. Some countries have initiated pilot and large-scale projects to develop and improve carbon capture and storage technology, while others are slow to follow. What explains this variation? We develop a theory of the political economy of technology adoption to explore conditions under which countries are more likely to implement carbon capture and storage projects. We find that the likelihood of such projects depends on governments’ policy positions and industries’ research and development capacity. Data analysis of carbon capture and storage projects provides evidence in support of our theoretical expectations.