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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

Background to the Study


Meeting the long-term goal of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to limit global temperature rises to 2°C will require radical changes to energy systems over the coming decades. In this context, carbon capture and storage (CCS) represents a key mitigation option to achieve the envisaged emission reduction pathways in a cost efficient manner. Furthermore, CCS is currently the only technology that can enable deep cuts in CO2 emissions, or even “negative” emissions, across fossil-based power generation and many carbon intensive industries.


This study aims to characterise key countries and regions worldwide where CCS could play an important part of mitigation efforts, based on national circumstances and priorities. Given the need to reach an international climate agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in December this year in Paris, the study provides a basis for understanding the relevance of CCS within this process. The study also looks at how CCS deployment barriers can be addressed and needs met, and identifies how CCS can be supported through international frameworks.

Key Messages:


  • CCS is an opportunity for many countries to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A portfolio of CCS technologies is available, depending on CO2 sources and availability of suitable storage sites.


  • The relative importance of CCS within a country’s portfolio of climate actions will vary according to national circumstances, e.g. reliance on fossil power generation, expected economic growth, presence of carbon intensive industries, storage availability, etc.


  • There are significant drivers for CCS deployment across all world regions. However, this deployment will take place over several decades and with different rates according to countries’ different circumstances.


  • Uptake of CCS is far behind the levels necessary for the envisaged global emission reductions , as CCS deployment faces a broad spectrum of barriers in both developed and developing countries.


  • Countries and regions are at different stages along the CCS deployment pathway.


  • Creating a market for CCS, e.g. through carbon pricing, will facilitate wider deployment. However, experiences from countries leading in CCS (such as Canada, Norway, EU and USA) shows that this process can be very time-consuming.


  • For many countries costs present a major challenge. Those countries could benefit from taking specific action that entail little costs (e.g. developing regulations and policies) first. This could increasing their level of “CCS readiness” for the coming years.


  • Mechanisms within the emerging UNFCCC framework can help support CCS in both developing and developed countries.


  • National climate plans do not always adequately recognise CCS. At the time of writing the report only four parties had made specific reference to CCS within their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs): Norway, Mexico, the EU and Canada.
The report is free to download.