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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

67 TDcroppedThe IPCC has just published its ‘Synthesis Report’ of its 5th Assessment Report, the most comprehensive assessment of climate change yet undertaken. Much will be written and said about these, but just a quick few comments here.

This Synthesis Report brings together the three underlying reports already published on the Science, Impacts and Adaptation, and Mitigation, and so aims to provide a clear and up to date view of the current state of scientific knowledge relevant to climate change, produced by many hundreds of scientists. You will have most likely seen the key messages in the news media, including:

The report presents its analyses in terms of risks. The risks of climate change and its impacts are immense and should be of great concern to all. The report also examines pathways to reduce the risks, by mitigation of emissions and by adaptation. For example one headline-grabbing message is that fossil energy without CCS should be phased out by 2100.  The challenge is great, but the risks and costs of not tackling climate change are far greater.

In terms of CCS, its importance cannot be hidden, both for reducing emissions from fossil fuels and also for combining with bioenergy to take CO2 out of the atmosphere (BECCS or BioCCS).  The importance of CCS jumps out of table SPM2 (Table 3.2 in full report) where their analysis shows that removing CCS from the mix will increase mitigation costs by a massive 138%, and may not achieve a 450ppm scenario at all. This is by far the hjosirest increase from any of the technologies analysed (bioenergy, wind, solar, nuclear). “Note that many models cannot reach concentrations of about 450 ppm CO2eq by 2100 in the absence of CCS“. So we really do need CCS in the portfolio of low carbon energy technologies.

CCS also has benefits for the fossil fuel producers, where the report points out that the availability of CCS would reduce the adverse effects of mitigation policies on the value of fossil fuel assets.

IEAGHG provided input to the Synthesis Report in relation to CCS and this appears to have been take on.

There is much to be drawn out of these comprehensive reports, which are available at .