In the last two decades, CO2 emission has caused a lot of environmental problems. To mitigate the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, various strategies have been implemented, one of which is the use of N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) and related complexes to accomplish the capture, fixation, and activation of CO2 effectively. In this review, we summarize CO2 capture, fixation, and activation by utilizing NHCs and related complexes; homogeneous reactions and their reaction mechanisms are discussed. Free NHCs and NHC salts can capture CO2 in both direct and indirect ways to form imidazolium carboxylates, and they can also catalyze the reaction of aromatic aldehydes with CO2 to form carboxylic acids and derivatives. Moreover, associated with transition metals (TMs), NHCs can form NHC–TM complexes to transform CO2 into industrial acid or esters. Non-metal–NHC complexes can also catalyze the reactions of silicon and boron complexes with CO2. In addition, catalytic cycloaddition of epoxides with CO2 is another effective function of NHC complexes, and NHC ionic liquids perform excellently in this aspect.
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