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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

67 JG imageThe Climate Action Plan 2013 seems to focus on several elements: energy efficiency in government building, increased renewables, reducing methane and N2O, shutting down old coal fired power plants and switching new build power plant to natural gas. The potential for new build coal with CCS depends on new EPA regulations which have been delayed already. The concern for CCS is that the bench mark will be set to allow natural gas firing without CCS but that coal fired power generation will require CCS to meet the new performance standards. This will disadvantage new build coal CCS and drive the utilities to build NGCC with CCS. Rather disappointingly the only mentions of CCS in the Presidents speech related to coal. But if you are only shooting for a reduction of 17% of national emissions then you don't need gas fired CCS to achieve that. However the world needs bigger emission reductions that is why the IEA, ourselves and others have been making the point that CCS is needed on gas if we are going to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at acceptable levels to prevent severe climate impacts.

In terms of international consequences we had the most specific reference to CCS in the President's Speech.

"Today, I'm calling for an end of public financing for new coal plants overseas -- unless they deploy carbon-capture technologies, or there's no other viable way for the poorest countries to generate electricity. And I urge other countries to join this effort".

However I note this does leave to door open a bit for non CCS Coal.

I am assuming his reference to public financing would cover loans from the Export-Import Bank as well as funding for projects through USAID and things like the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank.

However it seems the World Bank (which I assume is independent from US policy) is planning to limit financing provided to coal-fired power plants to "rare circumstances," according to Reuters. The move was included in a 39-page strategy document released a day after President Barack Obama said the U.S. would stop investing in coal projects overseas. According to Reuters, the World Bank's decision is part of the global financial body's efforts to address climate change, and the World Bank Group will "help clients identify alternatives to coal power as they make transitions to sustainable energy." The plan allows the bank to provide financial support for coal-fired power generation projects in circumstances where there is no other feasible options that would meet basic energy needs and other sources of financing are absent, the report states. The paper has been submitted to board members for their review in preparation for a discussion on July 19 and could be revised before then, according to Reuters.

This policy seems to comply with the door still open piece I referred to but doesn't seem to include CCS, although I have not seen the whole policy paper and may well be wrong.

Overall I am not that optimistic that the new Climate Action Plan has done a lot for CCS. Nor for Climate Change per se but in this case its more of a start than we had before.