Waking up the world – from the inside out

Friday, 22 September 2017

Author: Antonios Papaspiropoulos, Global Lead - Advocacy and Communications


This week, we launched a new global campaign - internally. This might sound slightly incongruous but as we continue to communicate the pivotal role of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in meeting Paris climate change targets, we are mindful that the inside of our organisation needs to be as fired-up as the outside.


We are a small team - less than 50 people internationally - and as we implement a strategy which stresses the urgency in deploying CCS, we are mindful that our people are our most critical constituency.

They need to be just as convinced and animated about what we are doing as anyone else.

The team gathered in Melbourne for the best climactic conditions the Antarctic could throw at us, and we discussed our place as an NGO with a challenging vision and mission - the accelerated deployment of CCS as a vital climate change technology in a low emission future.

More alarmingly, we discussed the small window of opportunity we have in which to fulfil our goal.

Simply put, the world is woefully off-track in meeting international `below 2 degree’ climate change targets. CCS needs to capture almost 4000 million tonnes of CO2 per annum (Mtpa) by 2040 to “meet Paris” and it’s currently capturing about 40 Mtpa. That delta is disturbing.

To put some perspective around this, to reach the Paris 2-degrees target, CCS needs to account for 14% of all emission reductions (with renewables, nuclear, bio-energy, fuel-switching, and other clean mitigation solutions).

In terms of actual CCS plants, this equates to about 2,500 facilities.

Currently, there are 17 large-scale commercial facilities in operation around the world with another four poised to come onstream.

It is obvious that the task is enormous, the timeframe onerous.

Time is clearly “of the essence” so we have couched our team concursion in digital terms – with a digital alarm clock calling attention to this sense of urgency: “Wake up the world”.

As far as CCS goes, it is clearly, time for action, and we know that the action begins with us. 

As our team of geologists, economists, policy analysts, legal experts, educators, and advocates, disburse back to our global offices in Washington DC, Brussels, Beijing and Tokyo, we feel sure that this baton of urgency has been passed on.

The world of climate science knows that Paris climate change commitments cannot be met without carbon capture and storage.

Our challenge is to agitate that fact much more exigently.

If we don’t, CCS will probably not be here by 2040 – and neither may a lot else.