CCS necessary to save developing world’s climate, but funds are short, says IEA’s Tanaka at Bellona event

Øyvind Johnsen / Bellona

Publish date: December 15, 2009

Written by: Ola Innset

Translated by: Charles Digges

COPENHAGEN – Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) gives a chance to poor nations – who will pay for it is another question, said Nobuo Tanaka, head of the International Energy Agency, at a side talk on CCS hosted Bellona at the UN climate talks here.

“Coal is cheap and available in China and India and no one can stop them from using it,” Tanaka said to the Bellona seminar. “What we must do is get them to start using it in a cleaner way.”

As head of the IEA, he presented his agency’s scenario on how the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration can be stabilised at 450 parts per million (ppm), and thus limit the average global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius, as recommended by the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“Most of the emissions growth in our ‘business-as-usual’ scenario comes from developing countries. This, as well, is where economic growth will be the greatest – about 40 percent,” said Tanaka.

“Ten percent of the cuts must come with the help of CCS, and much of this has to be in developing countries. Who should pay for it is another question, and in many ways, is the most important issue in Copenhagen right now,” he said.

Into the breach

Bellona President Frederic Hauge unleashed a full frontal attack against those who would implement only the cheapest of climate measure.

“Some leaders are talking about cost-effectiveness. But if we are to view the fight against climate change as an actual fight, we must do what works, regardless of the price,” said Hauge.

“What if James Hansen is right, that we need to get atmospheric CO2 down to 350 ppm,” said Hauge in reference to the pioneering NASA scientists who has been promoting the idea of anthropogenic climate change for 20 years, and who abandoned coming to Copenhagen because he saw its goals as far too weak to deal with the climate  catastrophe he predicts.  

“There is not a single scenario to cut emissions so much that does not include CCS,” Hauge said.

Negotiations resume

Australia’s Minister for climate change and water, Penny Wong, who could host a blog on her opinions, was called away suddenly as yesterday’s talks resumed after a walk-out of African nations was solved. Her deputy, Drew Clarke, stayed to speak in her place.

The other participants in the Bellona CCS meeting were Graeme Sweeney of Shell, and Dr. Hardiv Situmeang, who represented the Indonesian government.   

View the conference here.