How Will Saudi-Driven Carbon Capture Work Under the Durban Climate Agreement?

Durban-climate-talks-succeeds-at-endThe Saudis got the CDM funding for carbon capture they have long demanded: how will it work?

In the biggest turn-around since Kyoto was signed by the developed world – other than the US – now the big emitters, (besides America), are five developing countries, who were omitted from being bound by Kyoto, because back in 1995, they were poor developing countries.

Brazil, India, South Africa, Indonesia and China – along with the US – are the BASIC countries driving global emissions, but the Saudis may have brought them into the fold.

It is a historic first that in the Durban climate talks; these nations, the top emitters have agreed to be covered under the new treaty to be nailed down over the next 3 years and which will be law (for the entire world) by 2020. Carbon capture may have been a big part of that, because the BASIC countries and the US are the world’s biggest coal producers. And you can thank the Saudis for persistently demanding carbon capture.

(Related: Saudi Arabia Holds Out for Carbon Capture & Storage at Cancun)

Kyoto did succeed in reducing carbon emissions – of the countries that signed onto it. The EU set up the ETS (European Trading Scheme) and used cap and trade to force emission-reductions on polluters. Although criticised by right and left alike, carbon trading as a way of raising funds for investment is still the mechanism by which clean technology transfer is actually happening.

And with the CDM to allow allocation for carbon capture, the BASIC countries will likely now begin to invest seriously in carbon capture. (Related: Masdar and US to Collaborate on Carbon Capture)

Carbon on the table in Qatar

After years of debate it was decided whether and how to allocate carbon offsets under the Clean Development Mechanism to carbon capture and storage projects. Adding carbon capture has long been a demand of the Saudis.

One element of the plan for carbon capture is that because of the considerable uncertainty about their yet unproven efficacy, developers will have to put 5% of the credits earned in reserve so they will be awarded only after 20 years, provided that no carbon dioxide has leaked from the underground store.

The next meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP18 will be in December 2012 in Qatar. I think the world is finally getting somewhere…

Image: Kate Shepherd at Mother Jones

Related stories:
Huge Success for MENA – CDM Saved in Durban
Qatar Sends UN Proposal To Bury Carbon And Export More
OPEC Countries Seek “Developing Nation” Funds to Capture CO2




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