Carbon capture gets its day – Climate Weekly

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The Petra Nova carbon capture and storage (CCS) coal plant in Texas, US, shut down in 2020 as the economics did not add up (Photo: Petra Nova)


The world isn’t cutting emissions fast enough to avoid disastrous climate impacts. 

This uncomfortable truth is giving strong impetus to the development of technologies that capture carbon from polluting plants or directly from the air and store it permanently in geological formations for example.

While unproven at large scale, countries like the US are putting billions behind the technology.

Now, Joe Biden is inviting leaders of major emitting countries to join the “Carbon Management Challenge” and announce goals to scale the sector at Cop28.

Removing carbon from the atmosphere is needed to counter-balance residual emissions from hard-to-abate sectors and meet climate goals.

Proponents of the technology argue removal tech could be use to rein back temperature rise if we overshoot 1.5C. A UN report found this week that the world is on track to blow through the 1.5C carbon budget in 10 years.

But campaigners are concerned focusing on these technologies will distract from the hard work of cutting emissions and throw a lifeline to the fossil fuel industry.

As if to prove the point, Saudi Arabia and Russia called on the World Bank to finance carbon capture projects. Both countries have plans to increase their oil and gas production.

This week’s news: 

At a meeting of leaders, Biden brought positive news for communities on the climate frontlines.

The president pledged $1bn to the Green Climate Fund – ending a six-year freeze in US contributions to the UN’s flagship climate fund.

Climate finance campaigner Joe Thwaites told us this will help reboot US credibility after its ability to deliver climate finance was put in doubt.

However, the pledge only goes half way in paying back the $2bn the US owes the fund after Donald Trump reneged on a pledge made under Barack Obama almost a decade ago.

The GCF has been spending its money as soon as it comes through the door. The extra cash will help fund a pipeline of carbon-cutting and adaption projects in developing countries.

But the fund could achieve more with every dollar spent if it took on more risks. That’s the conclusion of an independent review of the fund calling for better risk management when deciding on projects.

Read more on: UN climate talks