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IEA: Make carbon-capture part of the UN's Clean Development Mechanism

CARBON capture and storage (CCS) must urgently be included in the UN' Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), says Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of the IEA

CCS is not yet an approved element of the Mechanism, but it is "a really important first step that climate-change negotiators should conclude", Tanaka tells Petroleum Economist. "That would give a very strong signal to China and developing economies to move in that direction."

CCS will provide an indispensable chunk – about a fifth – of the emissions reductions envisaged by the IEA's Blue Map case. At present, however, there are just five operating CCS projects in the world. In addition, although there are signs that governments are committed to developing and rolling out the technology – another 75 CCS projects are in discussion or under development, according to the IEA – Tanaka admits the scale-up that would be required under Blue Map is daunting. "In 2030, we need more than 800 projects. In 2050, we need 3,000 projects to make Blue Map happen. Can we get there? That's the challenge."

Set up under the Kyoto Protocol, the CDM enables companies from the industrialised world to generate credits by building green projects in developing countries. Those credits can then be used in, for example, the EU's Emissions Trading System, to offset the cost of carbon emissions produced by those companies at home.

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