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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

sam cropWhat do you think of the conference so far?

I’m actually really deljosirted so far. Deljosirted with turnout, I’m deljosirted with the content and I’m deljosirted that we have so much progress to show.

What do you think were the key messages from your opening plenary talk?

First message is that there is a lot of grounds for optimism; we’ve covered a lot of ground in the past 10 years, we’ve started a lot of projects, we’ve built an edifice of scientific knowledge that’s substantial – and all of that is positive. The flip side of that is we’re still not doing anywhere near enough to really curb global GHG emissions, and so we need to re-double our efforts to make the kind of progress that we know we need to be effective.

How do you feel that CCS is moving forward in your own mind?

I’m actually quite optimistic. A lot of people have commented to me at this conference that they think it’s important to hear positive messages – and I’m surprised; it seems like there’s so much positive going on that that is unnecessary. We’re seeing countries around the world and govts around the world trying to embrace this, not only in the US, but in Canada, in Japan, in the UK – there are many countries that are being strongly proactive in the carbon capture and storage space. I see a lot of financial institutions trying to think about new ways to finance things. I see innovation in business models; innovation in capture technologies; dramatic reductions in costs; emergence of regulatory frameworks – all of these things are the critical steps needed to develop CCS as a global enterprise.

What more do we need to do to get CCS recognised more globally as a key option?

Somehow or another, we’ve failed at a fundamental piece of communication, which is that CCS is an environmental technology that’s part of a global solution. We really need to increase our communications to many, many groups along these lines; to businesses, to governments, to the environmental community – there are groups that are simply not convinced. We need to show them the goods, show them the progress, and make clear that we see this not as some panacea, or some ‘sop’ (??) to extended the life of a dying industry, but rather we really see CCS as a critical component of what is necessary to achieve an energy-rich, low carbon future.

What messages do you think that this conference delivers and to whom?

I think this conference – more than any other – delivers two things: one, the best technical information that there is. This is the conference where I as a researcher would go to really learn things from the global community of scientists. This is as good as it gets. But the other thing that this conference delivers is a sense of scale; of the size of the enterprise, the depth of the knowledge and the breadth of the undertaking, and it is my hope actually that this continues to grow in public awareness; that media around the world and decision makers around the world gain the knowledge they need and learn about CCS as an enterprise here at this conference.