CCS gains needed profile in Cancun

Organisation: Global CCS Institute, The Climate Group

For carbon capture and storage (CCS) to be successfully deployed around the world, it is going to need the support of not just national governments but also those at the subnational level. While it is likely to be national governments that provide much of the additional finance needed to make the early projects economic, subnational governments will also play an important role in supporting their develop.

This is because these governments are often responsible for important policy areas such as the generation, supply and distribution of electricity, the regulation of the built environment, transport and land‐use planning. Indeed, the United Nations Development Program estimates that 50‐80 per cent of actions required to implement a global climate deal happen at the subnational level of government. They also play a critical role in the court of public opinion.

It is for this reason The Climate Group convenes the world’s leading alliance of subnational governments and brings them together each year at the Climate Leaders Summit held alongside the annual Conference of the Parties (COP).

We did so again last year in Cancun and made a conscious effort to profile CCS as one of the critical solutions to address climate change among the leaders of more than 60 states representing more than 15 per cent of world GDP that attended.

The Climate Group was pleased to team up with the Global CCS Institute to help this happen. The Institute’s message to the leaders was that 60 per cent of emissions from power generation in 2030 will come from existing power stations making it essential to look at CCS as a solution. It is significant to note that CCS can be applied to cut emissions in the steel, aluminium and other carbon intensive industrial processes.

One of the big challenges for the technology is that it often hasn’t been at the table when climate change discussions are taking place. The discussions have tended to be limited to renewable energy and energy efficiency. While they will be necessary it is clear that CCS is also likely to be needed and as such needs to be included more often in these debates and negotiations.

The Climate Group’s efforts in raising the profile of CCS in Cancun among business and political leaders followed similar efforts at Climate Week NYC and in China. As we head towards COP 17, in Durban, we intend to continue this effort.

Another positive outcome for CCS in Cancun was the agreement to include it as an eligible technology in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), provided certain conditions are met. While this in itself won’t provide the necessary funding to get the initial phase of large-scale projects, it will provide additional funding and a better long term outlook for the technology.

CCS is not just a new proposition for political leaders, it is also a new technology that the broader financial sector needs to get its head around. If we are going to see the number of projects built that we need, then the private sector will need to be comfortable providing the finance. Recognising that this is a new propositions for many in the finance sector, as we head towards Durban The Climate Group will expand its engagement with the sector, and build on the work undertaken in 2010 including our report on Mobilising Private Sector Finance.

The hope will be that by the time Durban comes around not only are the rules for including CCS in the CDM agreed but also that it has wider political support and the finance sector is better placed to provide the necessary capital.