UN launches project to help poorer countries curb greenhouse emissions

19 February 2010

Developing countries with energy intensive industries will benefit from a United Nations-backed project launched today to draw up a technological blueprint for capturing and storing global warming gas emissions, a crucial step in averting dangerous climate change.

“There still remain significant knowledge gaps in moving towards commercial implementation of carbon capture and storage (CCS), especially in industry,” UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Director-General Kandeh K. Yumkella said in Vienna in announcing the global technology road map for CCS for industrial processes.

“This project will help address these obstacles by developing a technology roadmap for CCS across different industry sectors, and assist developing countries in their transition to a low-carbon economy.”

UNIDO, which is entrusted with accelerating environmentally sustainable industrial development in poorer countries, has teamed up with the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and the Global Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Institute, an independent legal entity launched by the Australian Government in 2009, in the €500,000 project, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Recent studies suggest that CCS could contribute about 20 per cent of the global mitigation needed for halving global greenhouse gases by 2050, a reduction that scientists believe is necessary to prevent dangerous climate change. While there has been significant effort in assessing such technology in the context of power generation, considerably less attention has been paid to industrial applications despite the significant potential for emission reductions.

The project will provide a vision of industrial CCS storage up to 2050, to be implemented in close cooperation with the International Energy Agency (IEA), an intergovernmental organization that acts as energy policy adviser to 28 mainly industrialized countries. The road map will inform policymakers and investors about the potential of CCS and the practical milestones that need to be achieved to realize that potential.

“Industrial activity accounts for a large part of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the world, and is increasing in developing countries,” Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Riis-Johansen said. “CO2 management is important to reduce emissions from these sources. Our support to this project will help facilitate increased use of CO2-management within the industry in developing countries.”

Global CCS Institute chief Nick Otter noted that many people think of CCS as a greenhouse mitigation option for coal-fired power stations only. “They don’t realize that CCS is a greenhouse mitigation option for any large industrial source of CO2. There is therefore a need for industrial sector-specific analysis,” he said. “Developing countries need to be part of the solution, so it is essential they are involved.”


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