Failure to develop CCS would spell ‘disaster’ for climate

Fatih Birol
Fatih Birol

International climate change leaders have gathered in Edinburgh to call for all sectors to join forces and rapidly develop carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.

They said failure to bring CCS to fruition would spell “disaster” for Paris climate change targets – and any hope of a fully decarbonised future.

The Accelerating CCS Conference was organised by the UK Government and the Global CCS Institute.

UK Energy Minister Claire Perry said: “At this seminal summit and conference, the UK is setting a world-leading ambition for developing and deploying carbon capture and storage technology to cut emissions.”

“It shows how determined all countries are to unlock the potential of this game-changing technology that representatives from across the globe are gathered in Edinburgh. The time is now to seize this challenge to tackle climate change while kick starting an entirely new industry.”

Read: Government makes CCS pledge, three years after scrapping £1bn funding

Global CCS Institute CEO Brad Page also emphasised that the time to pick favourite clean technologies was over.

He said: “As the recently released IPCC 1.5 report acknowledges, CCS technologies are indispensable to a net zero future. There is simply no other technology that can address emissions from sectors such as steel, cement and fertilisers which remain indispensable to our future.”

“The debate needs to shift and it must shift if anyone is truly serious about targets and timeframes. Expect a climate disaster if CCS is not on the table.”

Progress has been made in the UK, US, China, Japan, Norway and the Netherlands, where supportive CCS mechanisms were being put in place.

IEA executive firector Fatih Birol, said: “Carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) is critically important for reaching global climate targets while meeting the planet’s energy needs. We’ve seen slow and steady progress on CCUS in the past decade, but this is far from enough. The task of deploying CCUS must be approached with a real sense of urgency.

“But, as we saw yesterday during the UK-IEA hosted International CCUS Summit, the technology is attracting renewed interest from governments and industry, thanks in part to the UK Government’s leadership.

“As our recent analysis from the World Energy Outlook demonstrated, CCUS is one of the few technologies that can create room for manoeuvreby allowing critical energy infrastructure to operate without carbon emissions.”

The conference has brought together more than 350 international experts to explore avenues for collaboration and investment in CCUS projects.

There are currently 23 commercial large-scale global CCS facilities in operation or construction and a further 28 pilot and demonstration scale facilities in operation or under construction.