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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

67 samKelly Thambimuthu, Chair of the IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme welcomed all to vibrant Austin, before giving a rousing speech to begin the 12th conference in the series on an enthusiastic and inspiring note.

Kelly noted that the USA and Canada represent one of the ‘most active places in the world’ in planning or operating large scale CCS projects. CCS was compared to a ‘fully grown adolescent child; raring to go and unleash its full potential in mitigating CO2 emissions to prevent the dangerous impact of climate change’. However, the technology is missing the actions of a responsible parent – a parent that could help reach its full potential. That missing parent is a global climate change protocol that has yet to be realised.

Kelly recognised that actions toward establishing an agreed climate protocol has unfortunately been ‘painfully slow’ since the ‘failures of the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009, and the promising commitment by nations of this world to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Protocol at the Durban conference in 2011’.

Despite this, Kelly is hopeful that the climate summit of world leaders organised recently by the United Nations Secretary General will re-energise efforts and hopes that ‘the world will come to some agreement to limit greenhouse emissions at the conclusion of the 2015 conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’, meeting in Paris later next year.

In the meantime, the CCS community should ‘re-double their efforts in getting across the message to our policy makers that CCS is a whisker away from maturity’ – specifically missing the maturity of policy, and not technical prowess.

In the decade that has passed since CCS was first reported to world leaders in the IPCC Special Assessment on CO2 Capture and Storage (2005), ‘significant learning has taken place that has been matched by practical demonstration – and indeed with a few commercial applications of the technology’. All aspects of the CCS chain have been covered and Kelly noted that the IEAGHG will be putting together a definitive publication in the form of a special edition of the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control published by Elsevier.

Kelly ended his talk with an inspiring message; ‘let us seize this opportunity to tell our leaders and policy makers that CCS is ready, willing and able to tackle the challenges of climate change’.