IEA confirms CCS as a critical technology to address climate change

2011-12-20 13:42 by Anja Reitz

Last month the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its latest set of energy projections, the World Energy Outlook 2011, presenting current views of possibilities over the next 25 years for energy markets and energy-related CO2 emissions.

These projections are presented through three core scenarios. The scenarios use identical assumptions for macroeconomic conditions and population growth but are differentiated through the level of stringency of global government actions to manage the risks of climate change:

  • A ‘Current Policies Scenario’ representing no change in any policies beyond those already enacted. In this future, energy consumption rises 51 per cent, coal consumption increases 65 per cent and annual CO2 emissions rise 40 per cent. The long term climate outcome from this trajectory is consistent with a temperature increase of 6°C or more.
  • A ‘New Policies Scenario’ representing implementation of policies to 2035 consistent with the path implicit in total policy commitment and announcements to date, even if not yet implemented. In this future, energy consumption rises 40 per cent, coal consumption rises 25 per cent over the next decade before leveling off and CO2 emissions increase 26 per cent to 2035. This is a path consistent with a 3.5°C increase in the long-term average global temperature.
  • A ‘450 Scenario’ where the emissions fall to a level consistent with a 50 per cent chance of constraining the increase in the average global temperature to 2°C. In this future, energy consumption increases 23 per cent, coal consumption peaks before 2020 and then declines 30 per cent by 2020 and CO2 emissions peak in 2016 and then decline to be 21.6 Gt in 2035, almost back to 1990 levels.

The IEA considers CCS to be a critical technology to address the risks of climate change, with a greatly increasing contribution the more stringent the emission constraints. For example in the ‘450 Scenario’, by 2035 CCS is the third largest source of cumulative abatement after energy efficiency and renewables. Its share of annual abatement rises rapidly from 3 per cent in 2020 to 22 per cent in 2035.

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Source: Global CCS Institute, Blogs - Christopher Short 12. Dec. 2011

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