UKERC researchers contribute to new report on CCS

24 Oct 2017

A new report launched yesterday finds that CCS should be seen as an important component of a portfolio of mitigation technologies for meeting climate change targets.

The report, titled The Role of CCS in Meeting Climate Policy Targets, was commissioned by the Global CCS Institute, and authored independently by a team of academic researchers from the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, the UCL Energy Institute, the UCL Faculty of Laws, the University of Edinburgh and the UK Energy Research Centre.

The report finds that although CCS is not without risks or uncertainties, the available evidence suggests that the risks of CCS not being available as part of a portfolio of mitigation options to address climate targets, are greater than the risks of attempting to develop it.

As such, CCS should be considered a critically important part of any strategy for limiting temperature rise to 2°C, and even more so for limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C.

Co-author Professor Paul Ekins, UKERC Co-Director, said the report found that pursuing CCS requires a whole-chain innovation systems approach, including coordination of actors and infrastructure, and attention to legislative and regulatory frameworks.

Of course, there will be a need for technology `push’ policies such as support for research and development, and market `pull’ policies such as price support and carbon taxes.

However, it’s also important to recall that comparable large scale technological systems and infrastructures have historically benefitted from some kind of whole-chain coordination and support, with governments playing key enabling roles. We do not believe that CCS will succeed without similar whole-chain coordination and support.

- Paul Ekins

UCL co-author, Dr Nick Hughes said report findings indicated that the non-availability of CCS appears to make climate mitigation scenarios “at best much higher cost, and at worst infeasible”.

Thus, we find that not having CCS available will pose a significant risk to the achievability of the Paris targets. We find this is a convincing reason for putting in place clear and long-term measures to support the development of CCS systems.

The successful deployment of CCS will be dependent on ongoing review and adaptation of legal and regulatory frameworks, robust and transparent risk management and verification practices, and genuine public engagement. Ensuring the low life-cycle emissions, and the social and environmental sustainability of any biomass used in conjunction with CCS will also be crucial.

- Nick Hughes

The report was launched at London’s Royal Society, with a group of expert speakers in attendance, including: UK Committee on Climate Change Chairman, Lord Deben; Shell Chief Climate Change Adviser, David Hone; Global CCS Institute CEO, Brad Page; Distinguished Associate of the Energy Futures Initiative, Julio Friedmann; and IEA analyst, Samantha McCulloch. The launch event, hosted by the Global CCS Institute, and chaired by BBC environmental commentator, Roger Harrabin, was attended by more than 100 representatives spanning government, industry, academia, and environmental NGOs.

Read the report