Gulf Coast Carbon Center, along with IEAGHG, Bellona, and CCSA, hosted the only official UNFCCC Side Event on CCS at COP-23 as well as an exhibit booth at the event. In keeping with the theme of the host country, Fiji, the side event explored carbon capture and storage, and its relationship to small island developing states.
Speaking before the 150 attendees, GCCC’s Katherine Romanak explained the evolution of experience gained through the SECARB program, a DOE partnership, monitoring geological storage, which gives confidence to CCS technology. She said, “CCS works, and we know how to show that it works.” Romanak related the potential for storing gigatonnes of CO2 in offshore geologic formations and how environmental monitoring at CCS sites provides additional data on the health of local marine ecosystems. She invited countries interested in exploring their potential for offshore CO2 storage to join an initiative that began as a US DOE-led international project through the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum.
Other speakers included, Carol Turley from Plymouth Marine Laboratory, who discussed problems associated with ocean acidification, which results from the combination of carbon dioxide and seawater, and threatens marine communities throughout the globe. Such climate impacts are already having an effect in Trinidad and Tobago, where panel member David Alexander studies the potential for using CCS with ammonia and LNG production.
Mike Monea from the International CCS Knowledge Centre provided an update on the Boundary Dam project and Keith Whiriskey from Bellona outlined the need for infrastructure development to connect CO2 sources to storage sites. Oslo’s Vice-Mayor Geir Lippestad presented an innovative form of CCS using capture from a waste incineration project. Clara Heuberger of Imperial College provided a perspective on using CCS in support of renewables.
IEAGHGs, Tim Dixon, served as chair, setting the scene for the session, giving an update on how the London Convention was amended to allow for offshore CCS as a climate mitigation technology. He commented that, “the session showed why the oceans need CCS, and how it can be done in the perspective of small island states who need to move beyond their first NDCs to decarbonise their industrial sources.”
The University of Texas at Austin and Bellona Foundation hosted an exhibit booth on CCS Technology led by Hilary Olson. The IEAGHG, Carbon Capture and Storage Association, and CCS Knowledge also provided interesting information on CCS. A great location, hands-on activities, easy to digest FAQs, and insightful diagrams attracted participants from multiple continents to learn more about this carbon mitigation technology. While many people had ‘heard of’ CCS technology, they did not know the details and were interested to have someone explain the technology and how it could impact CO2 levels.
Official UNFCCC coverage of the side event provided by the International Institute for Sustainable Development can be found here. Side Event presentations are available by searching “7 November” and “enhancing ambition” at this link. The entire side event can be viewed online.