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Solution to climate change “right beneath our feet”

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Coal,

The world authority on carbon capture and storage has told an international assembly of CO2 experts in Austria that the answer to climate change is "right beneath our feet."

In a keynote address to the CO2 Summit on the Slopes in Innsbruck, Austria, Global CCS Institute Executive Adviser, Europe, John Scowcroft, said the world is sitting on more CO2 storage capacity than it knows what to do with.

“Our organisation has assessed the subsurface of our Earth and we know for a fact that storage resources exceed what we need to safely store CO2 below ground.

“While the world is rushing around looking at how we are going to meet critical climate change targets, the answer is literally right beneath our feet.”

“Right where we stand, here in Austria, there is storage capacity of 120 million t - enough storage capacity for the Austrian power, steel and iron production until 2050. Mr Scowcroft said the International Energy Agency (IEA) has predicted that approximately 90 billion t of storage capacity is needed if CCS is to meet its targeted 12% share of Paris emissions reductions.

“When you consider that the US alone has an estimated 8000 gigatonnes of storage capacity, you start to realise how quickly these goals can be realised if CCS is fully deployed.”

Mr Scowcroft said the main impediment to full CCS deployment was a lack of political will and an absence of policy parity.

“All around the world, we are facing the same fundamental problem. CCS is not being given the acceptance and incentivisation as other clean technologies.

This is despite the technology being well tested over the past 45 years, and having the unique capacity to retrofit old industrial complexes - coal, steel, cement, fertilizer - and make them clean.”

A shift in perception

Mr Scowcroft said there were signs that Governments were starting to look more favourably at CCS as other intermittent technologies failed to deliver against energy security expectations.

“In the US, Canada and more recently, Australia, we are starting to see a shift in how CCS is perceived.

With 17 large-scale CCS facilities now in operation around the world and another five coming on-stream this year, it is clear that CCS is a commercial reality and a climate game-changer. The resources are there. We just need more rapid deployment.”

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