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. Carbon storage key to UN climate deal: ministers

by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Oct 13, 2009
New technology to capture carbon emissions and store them safely must be part of climate change talks in December, ministers from a 23-country group said at a meeting here Tuesday.

The Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF), holding a four-day gathering in the British capital, agreed to ramp up the case for carbon capture and storage (CCS) to be included at climate talks in Copenhagen in December.

The December 7-18 United Nations climate summit in the Danish capital will see nations attempt to hammer out a new global climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

CCS involves separating carbon dioxide from emissions -- for example from fossil fuel-burning power stations -- capturing it and storing it underground.

"It's important because it's only two months to Copenhagen. We agree there is no possible solution in Copenhagen without CCS as part of it," said Norwegian Energy Minister Terje Riis-Johansen, who co-hosted the forum with his British counterpart Ed Miliband.

"The world will use coal, oil and gas in the future," Riis-Johansen said. "We want to raise this debate and get more countries involved."

The CSLF comprises 23-member states, including the United States, China, Russia, Australia, South Africa, Japan and South Korea, plus the European Commission.

The ministers agreed that building more than 20 industrial-scale CCS demonstration projects, including in developing countries where carbon emissions are set to rise, was "vital".

They also agreed to support for developing countries to build power stations with CCS technology "once it's proven".

"Today some of the world's biggest coal-consuming nations have shown business as usual on coal won't do," said Miliband, who urged the international community to "step up the pace" on developing CCS technology.

"There's agreement that we need countries around the world to finance demonstrations, as we are doing in the UK; we need technology cooperation for know-how and capacity-building, and a financing agreement at Copenhagen which can drive CCS forward in developing countries."

The Global CCS Institute said there were 64 full-scale integrated CCS projects underway in the world, of which seven were operational.

US Energy Secretary Steven Chu said: "The reason we're saying it has to be part of the solution is that it's part of the lowest-cost solution.

"Energy efficiency is the lowest-cost solution, but CCS is not far behind."

He added: "If you want to deliver on climate change and cleaning up coal you need an outcome that incentivises this.

"Unless you can incentivise key technologies like CCS, then targets are all very well but you're not going to achieve the low carbon path that you need."

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