A new agreement on reducing greenhouse emissions and energy use across the EU was reached this week after what can be termed “intensive” discussions.
The EU has agreed a broad climate change pact obliging the EU as a whole to cut greenhouse gases by at least 40% by 2030.
The absence of national targets can be viewed in two ways: first it lets individual countries to decide what is best for them which is positive, second it allows some internal trading on emissions for those countries that are more locked into a higher carbon path going forward.
Two other targets were agreed – a target for a 27% renewable energy market share and increase in energy efficiency improvement of 27%. The former would be binding only on the EU as a whole. The latter would be optional, although it could be raised to 30% by a review in 2020.
The EU as expected has hailed this as setting a standard for the rest of the world. President Barroso was quoted in the press as saying:
“This package is very good news for our fight against climate change,” and “No player in the world is as ambitious as the EU.”
The EU’s climate commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, is quoted as saying; “that the agreement was an important step for the whole world.
“Europe she said: has sent a strong signal to other big economies and all other countries: we have done our homework, now we urge you to follow Europe’s example.”
However, it has been pointed out that:
- But key aspects of the deal that will form a bargaining position for global climate talks in Paris next year were left vague or voluntary, raising questions in quarters as to how the aims would be realised.
- Also a clause was inserted into the text that could trigger a review of the EU’s new targets if other countries do not come forward with comparable commitments in Paris in 2015.
The view from the social media around this agreement is mixed. Overall, the EU and some countries and sectors of industry that don’t want deep cuts seem happy to a degree. The environmental groups suggest the targets were unambitious and a golden opportunity to make deeper cuts has been missed. The EU renewables industry has also expressed the same opinion. Interestingly a CEO from a leading European insulation company has also suggested the energy saving targets only give an incentive for companies like his to invest outside Europe.
What can we take from this?
- With so many diverse and entrenched positions in Europe to reach any sort of collective agreement on greenhouse gas reduction must be hailed as a success.
- The response from EU industry and NGO’s is mixed as could be expected.
- The EU has once again taken a lead position in declaring its hand, although not all its cards it seems, before the Paris COP.
- The EU would like to think this puts pressure on the USA and China to respond favourably we will wait and see if that happens.
The IEA CCS Unit held their 6th meeting of the International CCS Regulatory Network in Paris 27-28 May. Sessions looked at developing regulatory frameworks including in New Zealand, Indonesia, South Africa, Botswana, and Poland, also North American developments, and on the development of standards.
Of particular news was the issuing of the first two US EPA Class VI permits (draft), to ADM CCS#2 and to FutureGen. These are long-awaited and very important in setting precedents. IEAGHG found that of the issues of concern to operators - Post Injection Site Care (PISC) and the Area of Review (AoR) - the draft permits have given the ADM project a PISC of 10 years and AoR of 2 miles radius, and given FutureGen a PISC of 50 years and AoR of 24 miles radius.
Also to note were the pilot project developments in Gulf Cooperation Countries and Indonesia, and a general point that came out of the meeting was the flexibility allowed in most existing regulations, allowing technology developments as well as the site-specific nature of storage. The meeting launched a new database on CCS regulations, by topic, created and hosted by the IEA CCS Unit.
IEAGHG were very pleased to organise a session on “Emerging findings from research that may impact regulation”, as this gave an opportunity to mark ten years of IEAGHG Research Networks in the storage area. Recent research developments were presented by BEG University of Texas on shallow monitoring techniques to allow attribution of CO2 source and the implications for monitoring protocols, by the National Oceanography Centre (UK) on developments in offshore monitoring (including the ability for large area coverage), by TNO on the CO2CARE project looking at risk management and best practice for site closure under the EU criteria, and by US NETL on reducing risk and uncertainties through modelling.
California has led the way in the US in many aspects of emissions reductions, including GHGs, particularly since the introduction of Assembly Bill 32 (AB32) in 2006 to tackle global warming by reducing GHG emissions from California. AB 32 requires the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to reduce California’s GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. A variety of programs were adopted to achieve this target, including a Cap-and-Trade Program, and a Low Carbon Fuel Standard.
In terms of emissions trading schemes, CCS has been recognised and included in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme on an ad hoc basis since 2007 and fully since 2009 (in effect from 2013), using new CCS-specific ‘Monitoring and Reporting Guidelines’. CCS has also been recognised in the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism since 2011.
California’s Cap-and-Trade Program was adopted in 2010, in effect from 2012, and currently covers utilities and large industrial sources that emit greater than 25,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions per year beginning in 2013. At the November 2013 auction, its current and future vintage allowances sold for over $11 per allowance. The California Cap-and-Trade Regulation currently has a provision which states that CO2 suppliers (as covered entities) may reduce their compliance obligation for each metric ton of CO2 that has been proven to be sequestered using a Board-approved CCS quantification methodology (QM); however, no such QM has been adopted. As a result, CARB has begun the process of researching existing QM’s to inform development a QM for CCS, which must ensure that the emissions reductions are real, permanent, quantifiable, verifiable, and enforceable. IEAGHG recently met with CARB to discuss these topics and IEAGHG’s work of relevance. It was interesting to learn about CARB’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), which allows regulated parties to receive credit for fuel produced from petroleum using an innovative method, such as CCS.
A recent piece of work commissioned by IEAGHG looks at the issue of emissions accounting for Bio-CCS in terms of its negative emissions. There is concern that cap-and-trade schemes such as the EU ETS are not able to reward negative emissions such as from Bio-CCS. This report will be the subject of another blog to come, but of relevance here is that the work identified the LCFS as a scheme which is able to recognise the negative emissions of Bio-CCS, and CARB’s Cap-and-Trade Program as also potentially able to recognise them.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) are working on the background for a quantitative methodology for CARB, looking at first principles on ensuring the environmental performance and GHG accounting integrity of such inclusion as well as learning from other schemes. Because of these interesting developments by CARB, IEAGHG shared work and information of relevance, relating to the IPCC GHG Inventory Guidelines (2006), the EU ETS and its CCS MRG, the CDM, attribution monitoring protocol, and the latest work on GHG accounting for Bio-CCS.
More information on CARB’s Cap-and-Trade Program can be found at http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/capandtrade/capandtrade.htm and on the LCFS at http://www.arb.ca.gov/fuels/lcfs/lcfs.htm . The IEAGHG report ‘Biomass and CCS – guidance for accounting for negative emissions’ will be published soon.
Promising developments for CCS in California!
Transboundary CCS makes further progress in that countries have agreed guidance on the responsibilities around export of CO2 for storage, so all safeguards are now in place for this activity to occur. But export of CO2 is still not permitted until sufficient countries have ratified the amendment, and the IMO Secretary-General expresses “serious concern” at the rate of ratification.
The annual meeting of the London Convention and London Protocol was held at the International Maritime Organisation in London from 14-18 October (LC35 and LP8).
The main issue for CCS is the topic of transboundary export of CO2 for geological storage. At the last annual meeting, the London Protocol adopted ‘Revised Specific Guidelines for the Assessment of CO2 for Disposal into Sub-seabed Geological Formations’. These have to be used by countries when issuing a permit for CO2 geological storage, and the revised version includes provision for the use of geological storage which crosses national boundaries. However there remained two significant transboundary aspects to be resolved.
The CCS amendment adopted in 2009 to allow export of CO2 for geological storage requires 2/3 of Parties to ratify before it comes into force. This currently means 29 countries need to ratify it. So far just two have (Norway and UK) and four others are working on it, so this looks like it will take a very long time, and in the meantime London Protocol countries cannot export their CO2 to another country for storage in the marine environment. Emphasis and concern on the rate of ratification was expressed by Mr. Koji Sekimizu, the IMO Secretary-General in his opening speech to the meeting.“The London Protocol currently is also the only global framework to regulate carbon capture and sequestration in sub-seabed geological formations……. However, it remains a serious concern that,to date, only two of the 43 London Protocol Parties have accepted the 2009 amendment, which is a long way from satisfying the entry-into-force requirements. The importance of securing its entry into force cannot be over-emphasized, if the threat of acidification of the oceans from climate change is to be minimized.”
The other transboundary aspect that remained to be resolved was the development of guidance to determine the responsibilities of Parties in the case of export of CO2, in particular if exported to a country that is not a party to the London Protocol. A working group on this has been led by Canada over the last year, and reached a conclusion at this meeting with a new document “Guidance on the Implementation of Article 6.2 on the Export of CO2 Streams for Disposal in Sub-seabed Geological Formations for the purpose of Sequestration”. This sets out the responsibilities of Parties and the requirements of the agreements and arrangements which must be entered into by Parties who wish to undertake export of CO2, including if to non-Parties, so as to ensure that the standard of requirements of the London Protocol on permitting CO2 geological storage are maintained. If these requirements are significantly breached then the Party is required to terminate the export.
This new guidance was approved on 18 October, for use when the export amendment comes into force.
The secretariat and host for the London Convention and the London Protocol is the International Maritime Organisation in London, an agency of the UN.
IEAGHG and IEA CCS Unit attend and contribute to the meetings, providing updates to plenary on their activities relevant to CCS in the marine environment and as participants in the CCS working group. Particular interest was shown in the IEAGHG’s Monitoring Network and Environmental Research Networks, including in the advances in offshore monitoring and understanding of environmental impacts. The London Convention meeting participants seem to appreciate the provision of such confidence-building technical information from IEAGHG, as well as the context-setting need-for-CCS information from the IEA CCS Unit.
Tim Dixon IEAGHG and Justine Garrett IEA, 18 October 2013
The Climate Action Plan 2013 seems to focus on several elements: energy efficiency in government building, increased renewables, reducing methane and N2O, shutting down old coal fired power plants and switching new build power plant to natural gas. The potential for new build coal with CCS depends on new EPA regulations which have been delayed already. The concern for CCS is that the bench mark will be set to allow natural gas firing without CCS but that coal fired power generation will require CCS to meet the new performance standards. This will disadvantage new build coal CCS and drive the utilities to build NGCC with CCS. Rather disappointingly the only mentions of CCS in the Presidents speech related to coal. But if you are only shooting for a reduction of 17% of national emissions then you don't need gas fired CCS to achieve that. However the world needs bigger emission reductions that is why the IEA, ourselves and others have been making the point that CCS is needed on gas if we are going to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at acceptable levels to prevent severe climate impacts.
In terms of international consequences we had the most specific reference to CCS in the President's Speech.
"Today, I'm calling for an end of public financing for new coal plants overseas -- unless they deploy carbon-capture technologies, or there's no other viable way for the poorest countries to generate electricity. And I urge other countries to join this effort".
However I note this does leave to door open a bit for non CCS Coal.
I am assuming his reference to public financing would cover loans from the Export-Import Bank as well as funding for projects through USAID and things like the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank.
However it seems the World Bank (which I assume is independent from US policy) is planning to limit financing provided to coal-fired power plants to "rare circumstances," according to Reuters. The move was included in a 39-page strategy document released a day after President Barack Obama said the U.S. would stop investing in coal projects overseas. According to Reuters, the World Bank's decision is part of the global financial body's efforts to address climate change, and the World Bank Group will "help clients identify alternatives to coal power as they make transitions to sustainable energy." The plan allows the bank to provide financial support for coal-fired power generation projects in circumstances where there is no other feasible options that would meet basic energy needs and other sources of financing are absent, the report states. The paper has been submitted to board members for their review in preparation for a discussion on July 19 and could be revised before then, according to Reuters.
This policy seems to comply with the door still open piece I referred to but doesn't seem to include CCS, although I have not seen the whole policy paper and may well be wrong.
Overall I am not that optimistic that the new Climate Action Plan has done a lot for CCS. Nor for Climate Change per se but in this case its more of a start than we had before.
As the negotiations inch along towards agreement for a second Commitment Period for the Kyoto Protocol and for the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) there is a realisation that although CCS negotiations have concluded, there has been a lot of other activity on CCS at this COP.
There are four 'official' UNFCCC Side-events on CCS and four 'unofficial' events. IEAGHG have presented or spoken at four so far, on Monday presenting our work on the Iron and Steel sector. By comparison at Durban there was only one 'official' Side-event on CCS (ours). Especially interesting at the Side-events here were the talks by Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia on their CCS project activities, with several pilot projects now in development in the region, supported by R&D programmes. Bio-CCS continues to gain prominence and interest, and the IEAGHG studies in this area are proving a valuable resource.
The need for information on CCS has been demonstrated both in the negotiations (eg where one negotiator questioned the basic risk, safety and uncertainty of CCS) and at the booths of CCS-related organisations which have been more popular than ever being visited by those seeking information on CCS. Also, there was a media-release here yesterday by seven green NGOs (ENGOs) who collaborated to produce a paper advocating actions to encourage CCS (see http://www.engonetwork.org ).
Victoria Osbourne on the University of Texas/IEAGHG Stand
The results of last week's negotiations on CCS were approved by SBSTA Plenary at 11:06pm on Saturday, and will go before CMP Plenary some time this Friday evening. Some observers are expressing dissappointment at the two CCS issues on transboundary and Global Reserve being deferred for four years, not realising that resolution of transboundary issues was always likely to take some time. For example, the London Convention, a large treaty which moves faster than UNFCCC because of its design and double pressure of ocean acidification as well as climate change, still took three years to reach a legal transboundary CCS amendment and another three years to make any further progress on the outstanding transboundary issues. The Global Reserve deferring is a different matter, there being no good arguments made for it now or to revive it in four years, but good arguments made for it to have been taken off the agenda now.
Ministers have now arrived, and the pressure is on to reach agreements before the COP concludes at the end of the week.
Some more news from COP-18... Update 30th November 2012.
CCS CDM: Two sets of negotiating meetings have taken place on the transboundary projects and Global Reserve of CERs issue; the second of these concluded yesterday. Text was agreed that consideration of both is to be postponed until SBSTA-45 (in 2016) to allow time to learn from CCS projects. This text will now go to SBSTA and then CMP for approval. Whilst this isn't a bad result in itself for the time-being (very few wanted the Global Reserve and there were good arguments against it) it isn't as good as the initial version proposed by the Chairs which would have removed the Global Reserve permanently, recognising the adequacy provided by the existing modalities and procedures (also described as "providing robust environmental protection" by many here).
Side-events: The UNFCCC Side-event of CCSA/University of Texas/IEAGHG on CCS Education on Tuesday went well, was well attended (the most attendees of any CCS event here so far) and with a high level of interest. IEAGHG presented on the Summer School Series. At the booths, IEAGHG publications have been in high demand and almost exhausted whilst still in the first week. Next week, at a Bellona event on "The necessity of CCS – Looking beyond fossil power" on Monday 3rd Dec (09:30-11:00), IEAGHG will present on the Iron and Steel Industry work.
CCS project survey: Separately, the UNFCCC Secretariat would like to assess the level of interest and potential for CCS CDM projects, and so are undertaking a survey, details and links below, please respond by 28 December if you are interested.
The UNFCCC secretariat is undertaking work to estimate the number of methodological and project registration requests related to CCS CDM project activities that might be submitted in 2013 and beyond. In this regard the secretariat has prepared a survey and kindly requests that you share this survey with your membership so that potential project participants and developers have an opportunity to provide the secretariat with relevant information.
The survey is open until 28 December 2012.
The link to the survey is https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CCS_Survey_PP.
Attention moves from GHGT-11 held in the home of the Kyoto Protocol to Doha in Qatar, where the future of the Kyoto Protocol is to be negotiated.
The UNFCCC's COP-18 started in Doha yesterday, with several thousand delegates from over 194 countries. CCS was raised in the SBSTA Plenary yesterday, a negotiating group established to discuss transboundary projects and a global reserve of credits, and the IMO were pleased to announce the progress made at the London Convention earlier this month on agreeing guidelines for transboundary CCS activities subsurface (which involved IEAGHG).
Today there will be a UNFCCC Side-event on CCS Education for Developing Countries (more information below), and IEAGHG will present on the Summer School Series, alongside CCSA, the University of Texas, UK Government ,and the Qatar Shell Science and Technology Centre. It will be at 16:45, Room 6 Hall 5. IEAGHG information is also available on the University of Texas booth (98) and IEA booth.
Also in Doha, the COP-18 Reception was held at the Qatar Sustainability Expo. Of interest here were several displays on CCS, including by Shell and the Qatar Carbonate and Carbon Storage Research Centre (with content from IEAGHG). Of note was an interesting car from Saudi Aramco which is their project to capture CO2 from vehicle exhausts. Fully operational for 2,000km so far, capturing 10% of the CO2, the plan is to increase this capture rate to 60%.
Side event details:
CCS Capacity Building and Global Status: Educational Opportunities and Lessons Learned
Knowledge transfer, training and educational programs serving Qatar, Asia, and North America, and available to other countries, will be presented by policy, educational and technical experts within the framework of recent developments on the role CCS plays in emission reductions.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 16:45-18:15
Room: Side Event Room 1
Hosts: The University of Texas at Austin and Carbon Capture and Storage Association
- Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin
- CCS: Current status and future deployment needs
- Carbon Capture and Storage Association
- Building CCS workforce capacity through teacher professional development and girl-centered educational programs
- STORE Program, The University of Texas at Austin
- The CCS Summer School Series: 326 alumni from 49 countries and growing
- CCS collaborative capacity and know-how building at Shell
- Qatar Shell Science and Technology Centre
- UK Government action on CCS in developing countries
- UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Doha
The 34th meeting of the London Convention this week in London had a lot to celebrate. This was its 40th anniversary of protecting the marine environment, so it held a special evening of speeches and video, attended by many Ambassadors from its 87 member countries.
One of the highlights mentioned was how the London Convention reacted to the threats of climate change and ocean acidification by amending the London Protocol to allow and control CO2 geological storage for Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage.
This CCS amendment was adopted in 2006, and 'CO2 Specific Guidelines' were developed on how to permit and undertake such activity whilst ensuring protection of the marine environment. In fact, this CCS amendment and these Guidelines went on to become the basis for OSPAR's CCS amendment and own guidelines (the convention to protect the North East Atlantic), which themselves formed a significant basis for the EU's CCS Directive. So it all started with the London Convention!
IEAGHG has been involved throughout the London Convention's work on CCS from 2004 to the present day. IEAGHG's work was used in the extensive work leading up to the 2006 amendment, and used as evidence base in the development of the Guidelines. IEAGHG continued to be involved, participating when the London Convention agreed an amendment to allow export of CO2 for CCS in 2009, and contributing directly to the subsequent work to revise the Guidelines to cover all transboundary CCS activities (working with the IEA). On this, there is also reason to celebrate this week as, after three years of work, the revision of the 'CO2 Specific Guidelines' to include subsurface transboundary migration was finally approved and adopted, this being a scenario which is possible now. For export of CO2 for CCS, while we wait for that amendment to come into force through ratification, further work will look at draft guidance on the permitting arrangements and agreements which will be required between countries.
By coincidence, IEAGHG was to speak in the plenary on the day of the 40th anniversary celebrations, providing its usual update on IEAGHG work relevant to CCS in the marine environment, in particular from the IEAGHG's Environmental Assessment Network and Monitoring Network, where great progress is being made particularly in monitoring.
On a personal note, it is reassuring and a pleasure to work in the London Convention with such a body of motivated and professional participants, all their work underpinned by the science from the annual meetings of its Scientific Group, with everyone working hard for the protection of the marine environment. Happy Birthday London Convention!
For more information see http://www.imo.org/MediaCentre/PressBriefings/Pages/46-london-convention-.aspx
Tim Dixon IEAGHG 2 Nov 2012