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ETI banner Energy technology initiatives

There are no quick fixes to long-term energy challenges. To find solutions, governments and industry benefit from sharing resources and accelerating results. For this reason the IEA enables independent groups of experts - the Energy Technology Initiatives, or ETIs1.

Greenhouse Gas R&D

Delegates at the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties huddle to resolve outstanding issues (Durban, South Africa).*

CO2 storage captures Durban 

Policy context
Coal-fired power plants and heavy industries such as cement and iron/steel are responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas and particulate emissions worldwide. Combining these processes with carbon capture and storage (CCS) can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Despite the advantages, successful implementation of CCS is dependent on geographical, environmental, legal and cost considerations. Successful deployment of CCS is critically dependent on comprehensive policy support. A policy approach focussing on funding, costs and risks, subsidies/penalties, and technology support will move CCS from the pilot stage to widespread deployment.

The aim of the ETI focusing on carbon capture and storage (GHG) is to assess the technical viability and technology progress that can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions derived from fossil-fuel use. Activities include unbiased technology assessments for GHG mitigation, in particular CCS; facilitating implementation of potential mitigation options through demonstration projects; facilitating international collaboration through expert networks and summer schools; and disseminating results. There are currently 21 Contracting Parties (including India, South Africa and two intergovernmental organisations) and 26 Sponsors.

Since 2005, the question of whether CCS should be approved as a clean development mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol led by the United Nations Framework for a Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) had been debated and negotiated.

The GHG has worked actively to provide unbiased, expert information to inform the ongoing discussions. Three GHG analytical reports relating to CCS for CDM have been published.  GHG IA experts contributed to the UNFCCC experts’ report, Implications of the Inclusion of Geological Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage as CDM Project Activities. In addition, experts from three GHG expert networks (Modelling; Montitoring; and Risk Assessment) discussed the CDM-related issues and made balanced recommendations. These recommendations were shared at a dedicated CCS technical and legal meeting leading up to COP 17 in Durban, South Africa.

In addition, the GHG held a side-event during COP 17 to inform negotiators and offer an opportunity for valid concerns to be raised. GHG assessments and analysis led to a greater understanding of CCS potentials and a higher level of technical discussion during the negotiations.

After 32 hours of intense negotiations, on 9 December 2011, the parties agreed and adopted the modalities and procudures to allow CCS projects under the CDM1, ending a six-year impasse. The information provided by the GHG contributed to this final agreement.

* Photo courtesy of Leila Mead, Earth Negotiations Bulletin, International Institute for Sustainable Development. 

Current projects

  • Conferences
  • Expert networks
  • Information papers
  • Modelling and databases
  • Summer school and student mentoring
  • Technical evaluations and reports
  • Technical workshops

For more information:


1.Information or material of the IEA Energy Technology Initiatives, or ETIs (formally organised under the auspices of an Implementing Agreement), including information or material published on this website, does not necessarily represent the views or policies of the IEA Secretariat or of the IEA’s individual Member countries. The IEA does not make any representation or warranty (express or implied) in respect of such information (including as to its completeness, accuracy or non-infringement) and shall not be held liable for any use of, or reliance on, such information.