Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is becoming a hotly debated topic here in Poznan, as delegates discuss the possibility of its inclusion in the CDM. Whilst there are a number of arguments for and against the technology, there are also a number of equity issues which have been raised.
Those for the development and implementation of CCS technology argue that fossil fuels will always have a role to play and CCS presents a sensible solution to the climate problem. Highlighting that we cannot reach global GHG reduction targets without it, and that we need to continue to burn fossil fuels to provide cheap energy supplies to developing countries; delegates stressed that CCS could be the transitional technology – paving the way to energy from 100% renewables. The EU has invested in a CCS pilot project to develop further understanding of the technology.
On the other hand, delegates have argued that CCS will not actually be ready for implementation before 2020-2030, and will be extremely expensive to implement – increasing costs by up to 90% from current levels. Global GHG targets demand a short- to medium-term solution, and it is recognised that due to the uncertainties surrounding it, CCS will not be ready in time. In addition, the research community has also demonstrated in several studies that a 50% reduction by 2050 could be reached by energy efficiency and renewable energy alone, without the expensive implementation of CCS.
On an equity front, delegates (mainly those of the developing countries) have argued that CCS is a technology pushed mainly by fossil fuel using countries to allow them to continue business as usual practices rather than addressing the issue by investing in low carbon technologies. Efforts should instead be focussed on further development of renewable energy technologies, which are the most widely available sources of energy, are ‘free’, and have the biggest potential to reach off-grid poor local communities. Transfer of technology should focus on those technologies which have been proven and can be implemented in developing countries and provide long term benefits for local communities. CCS remains uncertain and risky, and corporations will not accept liability for the future failures of technology – a potential reality.
Discussions are still ongoing as to whether CCS in CDM is a good idea or not, however, strong objections from many parties have been clearly noted. CDM is a mechanism to reduce emissions through proven means, not an R&D fund, and therefore should not divert public funds from proven renewable technologies to CCS.