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Carbon capture and storage: a technological challenge already solved

If the world is to succeed in constraining CO2 emissions to levels consistent with a less than 2°C rise in global temperatures, then Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) will need to contribute about one-sixth of needed CO2 emission reductions in 2050, and 14 per cent of the cumulative emissions reductions between 2015 and 2050 compared to a business-as-usual approach. It is the only technology option other than energy efficiency and shifting the primary energy mix to lower carbon fuels that can deliver net emissions reductions at the required scale.  The IPCC Fifth Assessment Synthesis Report estimated that without CCS the cost of climate mitigation would increase by 138%.

Global CO2 storage levels of at least one billion tonnes per year by 2030 need to be in place, and more thereafter. Delivering such an outcome will require collective commitment by governments and industry alike to fund CCS demonstration projects and development efforts in power and industrial applications at levels commensurate with the required abatement outcomes. Ensuring the availability of CCS will require regulatory and legislative support at all levels of government and international cooperation at project level so the necessary financing can be unlocked.

In order to facilitate this transition, UNECE developed Recommendations on CCS and on carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), which were endorsed by its 56 member States in November 2014.  These were submitted to UNFCCC before the COP20 in Lima and were well received.  Policies on CCS/CCUS should have parity with other no carbon/low carbon technologies regarding their climate mitigation potential, commensurate with the state of technological and infrastructure development. Governments should consider a broad array of fiscal instruments to encourage CCS/CCUS until carbon is properly and adequately priced. Capturing and storing CO2 from all industrial sectors will be essential to reach climate goals. CCS/CCUS deployment will accelerate if governments work together to financially sponsor demonstration projects. Developed countries should be encouraged to invest in CCS/CCUS in developing countries. CCS developments need to be monitored and tracked globally so best practice guidance on CCS can be developed and disseminated