Carbon capture and storage likely the only real way to cut emissions from power plants, the International Energy Agency says. File photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo
PARIS, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Momentum needs to build up behind carbon capture and storage technologies in order to put weight behind the Paris climate deal, the director of the IEA said.
In a 2013 study, the International Energy Agency described carbon capture and storage as a "necessary addition" to other low-carbon energy technologies meant to drive down global greenhouse gas emissions. The process involves capturing carbon dioxide from sources like power plants and storing it in such a way that it won't enter the atmosphere.
From the IEA's position, the process is "the only technology" that can significantly reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants and "one of the few" that can cut pollution from industrial processes like steel production.
Natural Resources Canada and the U.S. Department of Energy opened a test facility last month to examine the use of a similar process at coal-fired power plants. The IEA said there are already 15 large-scale CCS projects in operation and six more are on schedule to start next year.
"Deployment of CCS will not be optional in implementing the Paris Agreement," IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in a statement. "Indeed, faster deployment of CCS, particularly in industry, must be an integral part of a strengthened global climate response."
Early this year, Norwegian energy company Statoil said it was tasked by the government in Oslo to study ways to store carbon dioxide on the country's continental shelf. The company was awarded a contract from the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy to carry out feasibility studies at three offshore locations. It marked the first study of its kind in Europe.
The IEA's report followed studies that show global carbon emission rates are still elevated, but the pace is slowing as more efforts build behind a low-carbon economy. Between 2003 and 2013, global carbon emissions increased by an average of 2.3 percent annually, but have since slowed to around 0.2 percent.
A meteorological report, meanwhile, said 2016 will likely be the hottest year in recorded history as the warming effects of greenhouse gas emissions combine with the impact of the weather phenonomon known as La Nina.