Global Clean Energy Action Forum (GCEAF) in Pittsburgh

News

By Tim Dixon

26 September 2022

This new acronym represented the combined annual Ministerial meetings of both the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM13) and Mission Innovation (MI-7) and took place from the 21 to 23 September.

Over 5000 people attended in-person from around 32 countries. There was a very busy side-event programme with nineteen parallel events at any one time, totalling 133 side-events, around eight directly on CCUS or engineered CDR. It was a large networking event on low-carbon-energy, with a few major announcements by Ministers.

There were some plenary events. The GCEAF was opened by the US Secretary of State for Energy, Jennifer Granholm, Andrew Light, Assistance Secretary of Energy for International Affairs, and other dignitaries. A point was emphasised that Pittsburgh was a good example of a successful community in transition from a high carbon to a low carbon economy. The welcomes and announcements were all in the excited context of the US’s recent Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) which is the world’s largest climate bill, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (both enabling a reduction in US GHG emissions to 40% by 2030) and the CHIPS and Science Act, all providing massive funding to US clean energy including CCUS and CDR (see links below and IEAGHG blog 17 August 2022 for details).

There were updates on the CEM initiatives, and the new MI challenges including one on CDR that was launched at COP26. On hydrogen, there was an announcement by the Secretary of Energy on a Hydrogen hub initiative worth $7 billion, called H2Hubs, to start up to 10 clean hydrogen hubs and the launch of a clean hydrogen roadmap (see link below for more information). “We are in history in the making” concluded Senator Granholm. There were also interesting ‘fireside chats’, one with Bill Gates, which included discussion on COP27 focussing on Africa and innovation (note IEAGHG and partners will hold an official UNFCCC Side-event at COP27 on CCS in Africa). Another with Senator Joe Manchin which included points on good jobs and not leaving anyone behind in the energy transition, and his cause on faster permitting. A plenary panel discussion focussed on clean energy security which included the Ukrainian Minister of Energy Herman Haluschchenko (which drew much applause) and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Mariano Grossi who sees a resurgence in interest in nuclear power. Although I observed that missing from that conversation were the energy security benefits from CCS on indigenous fossil fuel power.

IEAGHG were involved in organising two side-events. One was on Accelerating CCUS in Developing Countries. This was co-organised with the CEM CCUS, GCCSI and CATF. The speakers were Dr Peter Ekweozoh from the Nigerian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Luky Yusiantoro from SKK Migas, Indonesia, myself from IEAGHG, Guloren Turan from GCCSI, Brendan Beck with the World Bank (remotely), and moderated by Lily Odamo from the CATF and a welcome from Brad Crabtree, Assistant Secretary for US DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. The topics covered the status of CCUS activities in Nigeria and Indonesia, the role of multilateral development banks to support the creation of Centres of Excellence in countries, the need for new donors for the World Bank CCS Trust Fund which ends in 2023, and the role of the countries themselves with including CCS in their NDCs. There were many good questions from the audience.

The other side-event that IEAGHG helped organised was with CEM CCUS, IRENA, and the Direct Air Capture Coalition, on Accelerating Technology-Based Carbon Removals. The panelists were Anna Stukas from Carbon Engineering, Martina Lyons from IRENA, Peter Freudenstein from Climeworks, Anna Dubowik from Negative Emissions Platform, Scott Litzelmand from Stripe, and moderated by Juho Lipponen from CEM CCUS and Jason Hochman from DAC Coalition, and again with a welcome from Brad Crabtree DOE who highlighted the $180/t for DACCS and $85/t for BECCS from the new IRA enhancement of 45Q. The panelists discussed the status of the technologies, the supply chain challenges, the role of policy-makers including the value of countries setting removals targets, and role of carbon markets both voluntary and compliance. IRENA have done their own modelling separate to IPCC and IEA and found a similar magnitude of need for removals using BECCS. IRENA also highlighted that very few NDCs have CDR so far. The Negative Emissions Platform, being EU-based, talked about the EU targets of 5Mt from CDR by 2030 and 200Mt by 2050. From IEAGHG, I raised the issue of the new global frameworks for carbon markets being established by Article 6 of the Paris Agreement and the Supervisory Body’s early considerations on whether to look at methodologies for engineered removals, and also the need for DACCS to be covered by the IPCC GHG Inventory Guidelines (as is CCS, BECCS and Biochar already).

Thanks to Juho Lipponen of the CEM CCUS Initiative for leading on the organisation of these side-events in which we were involved, also the Clean Air Task Force and the Global CCS Institute.

There were also many other side events of interest. One on Quality CO2 Removals, moderated by Julio Friedmann and including Drax on the panel. Points were made about the need for market pull for CDR and the need for real and verifiable reductions. Other side-events were on Financing CCUS, CCS in the Cement Sector, ESG and CCUS, Governance of CDR, and Key Enablers for CCUS.

In the margins there were many useful meetings, as was the intention of this networking event.

The day before the GCEAF, the CEM CCUS Initiative held its annual meeting, in which IEAGHG participated and contributed to discussions, including on CDR, CDR accounting, London Protocol and low-carbon building materials. With the CEM CCUS Initiative focusing on CCUS policy (in-place of the CSLF Policy Group) it makes a good partnership with IEAGHG and our more technical emphasis.

For more information and links to the announcements, see :

Main Page – CEM13 / MI7 (gceaf.org)

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Homepage | Department of Energy

DOE Projects Monumental Emissions Reduction From Inflation Reduction Act | Department of Energy

FACT SHEET: CHIPS and Science Act Will Lower Costs, Create Jobs, Strengthen Supply Chains, and Counter China – The White House

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Historic $7 Billion Funding Opportunity to Jump-Start America’s Clean Hydrogen Economy | Department of Energy

The Accelerating CCUS in Developing Countries side-event (image courtesy of Ed Rubin) Brad Crabtree and the panelists for the Accelerating CCUS in Developing Countries side-event.

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