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Carbon capture, use and storage key to achieving carbon neutrality, say UNECE Experts

Under the targets of the Paris climate agreement, our region must capture at least 90Gt of carbon dioxide by 2050. To limit global temperature rises to 2⁰C, UNECE’s experts on cleaner electricity urged the region to deploy carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) technologies at scale and without delay.

CCUS is the process of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil power generation or other industrial processes, such as steel and concrete production. The captured carbon dioxide is then stored deep underground or re-used in industry. Since the transition away from fossil fuels is expected take many years, deployment of CCUS will enable the region to attain carbon neutrality on the pathway to a sustainable energy future.

“CCUS is needed to facilitate the large scale decarbonization of power generation and energy intensive industries.  CCUS can help bridge the gap until next generation carbon-neutral energy technologies and demand side management are ready. The longer the gap persists, the greater the change required, and the greater economic, environmental and social price of removing even larger amounts of carbon dioxide to reach net-zero. Governance – knowledge sharing, learning, political will – is needed urgently” said Janos Pasztor, Executive Director of the Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative, at the roundtable organised on 23 November.

The roundtable raised awareness about the potential of CCUS technologies and encouraged countries to develop and integrate policies to allow full commercialisation of CCUS technologies. Experts concluded that a funding mechanism for CCUS is needed and called for governments and financing institutions to direct investments towards modernizing energy infrastructure.

 “UNECE is prepared to initiate a dialogue with the other United Nations Regional Commissions to discuss how large-scale carbon removal can help meet our climate objectives. This would contribute to the UN Secretary General’s call for 2021 to become the year in which we make a great leap towards carbon neutrality”, said UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova.

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