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Environmental non-government organisation (ENGO) perspectives on carbon capture and storage (CCS)
Published:04 Dec 2012
In order for global average temperatures to remain within bounds that may avoid the dangerous impacts of climate change, global CO2 emissions would need to peak within the next decade, and decrease at the very least by 50-85 per cent compared to year 2000 levels by mid-century. CCS is an important tool in the fight to reduce global carbon emissions for a range of reasons. This report looks at several core motivations for the deployment of CCS. The first reason is that it offers a pathway to reduce emissions from fossil-fuelled stationary sources. The heaviest carbon legacy that we have to deal with today is the vast installed base of fossil-fuelled industry. This base is projected to grow in most future economic scenarios, and would result in unacceptably high carbon emissions without policy action. A second reason is that the deployment of a portfolio of technologies is not only likely to increase the probability of delivering economy-wide emission reduction outcomes, but is also likely to result in lower overall costs of mitigation. The scale of emission reductions needed to combat climate change means that no single measure or technology is going to be able to deliver those reductions alone on the scale required. A third reason is that for some industrial applications, there are few other ways available today to achieve large emission reductions. The manufacturing of cement and steel, for example, emit significant amounts of CO2 as an integral part of the industrial process. A fourth reason is that when CO2 from facilities that use sustainable biomass is captured and stored, it results in net reductions of CO2 from the atmosphere. Biomass is a considerable energy source accounting for almost 10 per cent of the total global primary energy use as of 2010.