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CO2 Capture and storage: A key carbon abatement option

CO2 Capture and storage:  A key carbon abatement option
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Edition: 2008
266 pages

Climate change is a major challenge. Secure, reliable and affordable energy supplies are needed for economic growth, but increases in the associated carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are the cause of major concern.

About 69% of all CO2 emissions, and 60% of all greenhouse gas emissions, are energy-related. Recent IEA analysis in Energy Technology Perspectives 2008 (ETP) projects that the CO2 emissions attributable to the energy sector will increase by 130% by 2050 in the absence of new policies or supply constraints, largely as a result of increased fossil fuel usage. The 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th Assessment Report indicates that such a rise in emissions could lead to a temperature increase in the range of 4-7°C, with major impacts on the environment and human activity. It is widely agreed that a halving of energy-related CO2 emissions is needed by 2050 to limit the expected temperature increase to less than 3 degrees. To achieve this will take an energy technology revolution involving increased energy effi ciency, increased renewable energies and nuclear power, and the decarbonisation of power generation from fossil fuels.

The only technology available to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from large-scale fossil fuel usage is CO2 capture and storage (CCS). The ETP scenarios demonstrate that CCS will need to contribute nearly one-fi fth of the necessary emissions reductions to reduce global GHG emissions by 50% by 2050 at a reasonable cost. CCS is therefore essential to the achievement of deep emission cuts.

Most of the major world economies recognise this, and have CCS technology development programmes designed to achieve commercial deployment. In fact, at the 2008 Hokkaido Toyako summit, the G8 countries endorsed the IEA’s recommendation that 20 large-scale CCS demonstration projects need to be committed by 2010, with a view to beginning broad deployment by 2020. Ministers specifi cally asked for an assessment by the IEA in 2010 of the implementation of these recommendations, as well as an assessment of progress towards accelerated deployment and commercialisation.

Current spending and activity levels are nowhere near enough to achieve these deployment goals. CCS technology demonstration has been held back for a number of reasons. In particular, CCS technology costs have increased signifi cantly in the last 5 years. In the absence of suitable fi nancial mechanisms to support CCS, including signifi cant public and private funding for nearterm demonstrations and longer-term integration of CCS into GHG regulatory and incentive schemes, high costs have precluded the initiation of large-scale CCS projects.

The regulatory framework necessary to support CCS projects also needs to be further developed. Despite important progress, especially in relation to international marine protection treaties, no country has yet developed the comprehensive, detailed legal and regulatory framework that is necessary effectively to govern the use of CCS. CCS is also poorly understood by the general public. As a result, there is a general lack of public support for CCS as compared to several other GHG mitigation options.

This report attempts to address some of these issues by collecting the best global information about the cost and performance of CO2 capture, transport and storage technologies throughout the CCS project chain. Chapters 1-4 contain this information, and use it to conduct a scenario analysis of the role of CCS in climate change mitigation. Chapter 5 discusses the fi nancial incentive mechanisms that governments can use to provide both short- and long-term incentives for CCS. This chapter also contains an expansion and update of the 2007 IEA publication Legal Aspects of CO2 Storage: Updates and Recommendations and examines the current state of public awareness and acceptance of the relevant technologies. Chapter 6 includes a review of the status of CCS policies, research and demonstration programmes, and CO2 storage prospects for several regions and countries. Chapter 7 concludes with a proposed CCS roadmap that includes the necessary technical, political, fi nancial and international collaboration activities to enable CCS to make the contribution it needs to make to global GHG mitigation in the coming decades.