South African Carbon Capture and Storage


    South African Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) experts urge climate leaders to focus on the objective not the method
    While the ability of CCS to mitigate climate change by storing emissions instead of releasing them to the atmosphere has been scientifically established it has not taken off in line with its expected potential. This despite the technology being a well-established mechanism used in the oil and gas industry. Lodewijk Nell, Director of Carbon and Climate Change Advisory Services at EcoMetrix Africa, comments in an article in the current edition of the Carbon Capture Journal that the primary hurdle to the introduction of these technologies is the added cost of building and operating these facilities. Whilst several subsidy programs are under development they currently lack the necessary size and cohesiveness to make CCS a reality in the developing world, he observes.
    Nonetheless a well establish and operational system to fund the roll out of this technology already exists in Africa, and other developing nations, in the form of the UNFCCC Clean Development Mechanism notes his colleague Henk Sa, Managing Director of EcoMetrix Africa. Henk notes that in recent years the inclusion of this technology in the CDM has reached an impasse with some parties citing putative risks associated with storage, the high costs of implementation and CCS’ unassailable link to fossil fuel consumption. He lists 9 major concerns rangiging from permanence of the storage to international maritime law and liability for the reserves. He points out that these issues are still outstanding from last year’s COP in Copenhagen, yet none present fundamental issues with CCS as a mitigation technology but rather these issues refer to CDM issues.
    Nell and Sa point out that climate leaders, meeting currently in Cancun, should focus on including techniques to mitigate climate change and leave the CDM technical issues around the implementation of the methods to be determined at later stage.
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    For further comment on this issue the following people may be helpful:
    Andrew Gilder IMBEWU Sustainability Legal Specialists (Pty) Ltd