World leaders applaud Norway carbon moves
BERGEN–Norway on Wednesday pledged just under €140 million ($195 million) over five years to help the European Union develop projects for carbon capture and storage, or CCS, via its Continent-wide R&D programs.
The technology, which extracts the greenhouse gas from industrial processes and hydrocarbons, is seen by some as the oil and gas industry’s “gift” to the world in the fight against global warming.
Flanked by Nobel-prize-winning scientist Rajendra Pachauri, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg made the announcement to world leaders who were fresh from a visit to the offshore North Sea oil platform Sleipner, where a demonstration project separates and stores just under a million tons of carbon dioxide into the giant underground salt formation Utsira.
“We have to speed up the process (of deploying CCS),” Stoltenberg said, adding, “We don’t have much time before negotiations in Copenhagen.”
Pachauri backed up Stoltenberg with a tough message for national policy makers and the negotiators they send to Copenhagen, where a key climate treaty summit gets underway in 2009.
“We are far from doing enough,” said Pachauri, a climate scientist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 along with the UN International Panel on Climate Change.
“We need to make sure that global emissions peak before 2015, six years from now,” he said. If not, the specter of catastrophic climate change will be upon us, including a possible world average temperature hike of up to 6.4 percent.
Pachauri also made a rare public endorsement of CCS, a new weapon to combat climate change in the years since most of the world signed the Kyoto Protocol. He said it’s needed urgently, but admitted his IPCC had long ago identified the gains to be made if it were adopted.
Also on hand was International Energy Agency director Nobuo Tanaka, whose agency advises 27 mostly Western countries on energy issues. He said CCS is the litmus test for negotiators headed for Copenhagen.
If they cannot get agreement on creating a framework, he said, “It raises the doubt that another world climate treaty can be signed and global warming can be stopped.”
Meanwhile, Tanaka said that before coal-fired power plants are phased out (said to be around 2050), many will be built, including 2,000 this year alone. Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice confirmed Canada was on a course to lower emissions 20 percent by 2020, but that coal would continue its forward march in the developed country using cleaner technology.
While most world leaders voiced support for Sleipner and Norway’s other CCS projects, including at the Mongstad refinery and power plant, some pointed out what others were thinking.
“Each country will invest in its strengths,” said Australian Minister of Natural Resources Martin Fergusun. He said no government can tell its people that “the lights will go out” so they can go greener.
Mongstad, with government seed capital and major oil-company and supplier support, is aimed at making large-scale CCS less expensive.
“The next step is to include CCS in a framework agreed at Copenhagen,” Stoltenberg told delegates.
Source: Scandinavian Oil Gas Magazine