Kicking the tyres and feeling the scale

Organisation: Global CCS Institute

Building on last year’s successful Forum, the Global CCS Institute hosted the APAC CCS Forum on June 19th in Melbourne.  Using as its theme, "No Longer Up in the Air", the event provided an unique opportunity for regional experts from government, industry and academia, to share insights and knowledge about CCS in the region.

This year’s Forum gathered 87 experts from government, industry and academia, to discuss the latest CCS developments in the Asia Pacific region and the vital role of the technology in achieving international climate change targets.

The Asia Pacific Forum featured a number of high-level speakers including a keynote address by Australian Ambassador for the Environment, Patrick Suckling, who reinforced CCS’ critical role as a proven climate change mitigation technology and emphasised the need to "keep refreshing the narrative" to dispel myths about CCS being unproven, expensive and coal-centric. "We need to kick the tyres of the technology so people can see and feel the scale of it."

Other speakers included Samantha McCulloch, Energy Analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA) who extensively referenced the IEA's latest report, Energy Technology Perspectives, which confirms that the more ambitious the climate change goal, the more CCS that will be required.

Another popular speaker was former Energy and Resources Minister, and CO2CRC Chairman, Martin Ferguson, who singled out the Gorgon and CarbonNet projects for special praise, and said the Government's move to remove the CEFC's prohibition on CCS investment represented a coming of age for CCS.

Other speakers included General Manager of the Onshore Minerals Branch, Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Josh Cosgrave, who said it was important to remember that CCS was not just about the power sector. It was a technology for all industry.

The Research and Development sector was represented by Professors Garrett and Haese from Melbourne University's Peter Cook Centre for CCS Research who said that CCS needs R&D in the same ways as the oil and gas industries did many years ago. "R&D can be distilled in four words," said Associate Professor Garrett. "Reduce cost, reduce risk." He quoted Boundary Dam as a shining example of how R&D can reduce costs - in this case by 30 per cent.

BHP's Climate Change Practice Lead, Dr Graham Winkelman, also underscored the importance of research in furthering CCS deployment, sharing examples of the investments BHP was making in China, especially.

A particular audience highlight was the closing all-female panel discussion with Committee for Gippsland CEO, Mary Aldred, CSIRO Science Director, Dr Linda Stalker, and BHP VP Climate Change and Sustainability, Dr Fiona Wild.  Contentiously moderated by Grattan Institute Program Director, Tony Wood, the panel debated the importance of collaborative alliances, the major role of Gippsland/Latrobe in commercialising CCS in Australia, and the lateral, multi-stakeholder approach needed to beat climate change.

"There is no silver bullet," Dr Wild said. "There is only a silver buckshot approach to eliminate climate change."

Global CCS Institute Chairman, Paul Dougas, closed the Forum by saying there were promising signs that CCS was being taken seriously but the technology still needed support across all stakeholder audiences.

The event was widely promoted on social media and a story filed by Reuters and stressing that climate change targets could not be met without CCS featured in the New York Times.

Next week, the Forum moves to Tokyo for a special CCS Dialogue which the Institute is hosting with the IEA, as well as a full day conference attended by more than 200 registered participants including representatives from Japan's Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry (METI), the US Department of Energy (DoE), and Tokyo University of Science, amongst others.