Welcome to the Carbon Capture and Storage Association’s (CCSA) new blog – where we will post stories, reviews and opinions on a variety of current CCUS topics in the UK, Europe and internationally.
I joined as CEO of the CCSA in October 2021, and it has been a busy few months to say the least! In October 2021, on my second day in post, the UK Government announced the first CCUS projects that will be taken forward under Track1 of the CCUS Cluster Sequencing process, namely the HyNet North West cluster and the East Coast Cluster, with the Scottish Cluster announced as a reserve cluster.
On the same day, the UK Government published the Net Zero Strategy – which set out a new target for CCUS of 20 – 30 Mt carbon dioxide to be captured and stored each year by 2030. This is a three-fold increase of ambition from the Ten Point Plan target of 10 Mt per year, agreed less than a year before. No sooner had we had a chance to digest this news before it was time to travel to Glasgow for COP26. The last COP I attended was COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009, whilst Head of International CCUS at DECC. Whilst COP15 was a similar event in terms of number of people attending, it could not have been more different with regard to CCUS. At COP15, CCUS did not receive much attention, whereas COP26 saw CCUS rising up the agenda, driven by the need to consider how to achieve Net Zero across the global economy.
In terms of events, the CCSA was involved in seven CCUS side events, including an official UNFCCC broadcast event with our COP26 Partners; IEA GHG, University of Texas at Austin, International CCS Knowledge Centre and Bellona. This level of exposure was unprecedented, with some 32 CCUS events taking place over the course of the two weeks.
Inside the negotiating rooms where the real action was, progress was made on several key areas –finalisation of the rules for Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, creating the framework for a global carbon market; the Glasgow Climate Pact commitment to phase down unabated coal power; and the pledge to mobilise $500bn by 2025 to help developing countries adapt to climate effects, as well as the commitment to update Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) again by the end of 2022. The agreement on Article 6 rules makes the Paris Agreement fully operative and the wording implies that the global carbon market will be technology neutral, meaning it should be applicable to both CCUS and carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies. As always, the devil will be in the detail, and we will have to wait to see the further recommendations requested by the Parties on Article 6 definitions, to understand how the framework will be applied.
Three months on, I’m keen to see the UK government maintain the positive momentum of COP26 and keep the pressure on countries to consider the important role CCUS and CDR technologies can play in realising Nationally Determined Contributions, creating an environment for these technologies to flourish and therefore get us on track to reach net zero goals and limit global warming to 1.5°C.
For more insights on COP26 be sure to watch our webinar ‘CCUS reflections from COP26 and international CCUS developments’ with fellow panellists Tim Dixon (IEAGHG) and Guloren Turan (GCCSI) available on demand on our website.