This image grabbed from a video shows delegates posing for a group photo while attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid, Spain, Dec 2, 2019. (Photo/Xinhua)
Experts at the UN climate change conference in Spain called for the Chinese government to introduce more preferential policies and use more mandatory measures to help tap the potential of carbon capture and storage as a vital way to mitigate climate change.
They made the appeal at a side event on carbon capture and storage, widely known as CCS, at the Madrid climate change conference, which began on Dec 2 and will conclude on Friday.
CCS, which has been used since the 1970s, "is a technology that can capture up to 90 percent of carbon dioxide ... emissions produced by the use of fossil fuels", preventing them from entering the atmosphere, according to the Carbon Capture and Storage Association.
It has a vital role to play in a low carbon future, said Guloren Turan, general manager of advocacy and communications at the Global CCS Institute, a think tank headquartered in Melbourne, Australia.
"CCS is vital in order to meet our climate targets," she said. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 1.5 C special report showed that "we need to get to net zero emissions by the middle of the century … and, in fact, in three of the pathways of the IPCC report, CCS plays a very significant role," she added.
The report shows the impacts of global warming of 1.5 C above preindustrial levels.
Turan said, however, that the world is confronted with challenges in expanding the use of CCS. The current global carbon capture capacity is around 40 million metric tons annually with 19 large CCS facilities in operation, she said. There are another four facilities under construction and 28 in development.
But the world needs 2,000 large facilities with annual capture capability of over 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide by 2040 to 2050 to achieve climate goals, she said.
Turan said China leads the Asia-Pacific region with eight facilities listed, including one in operation, two under construction and five others in development.
Brad Page, CEO of the Global CCS Institute, commended China's efforts in promoting CCS. He said that with an office in Beijing, his organization has been able to work closely with China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment. "I think one of the most telling points for us in a maturing relationship is how China is reaching out and looking all of the time to the rest of the world to ensure that their efforts are as good as anybody else's, and that they can learn from all of the experiences from many other countries."
Ma Aimin, deputy director of the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, said China is still in the early stages in utilization of CCS technologies.
He said three of the eight key tasks included in the country's 2016-20 work plan on greenhouse gas emission control are related to CCS. Also, three central government bodies, including the National Development and Reform Commission, unveiled CCS-related guidelines.
He said, however, with no special law on CCS, China has yet to establish a dedicated legal and regulatory framework for utilization of the climate mitigation technology.
While introducing laws to include mandatory measures for using CCS, the Chinese government should also roll out favorable policies to help companies address the high cost of applying CCS technologies, he said.
Ma also called for the government to ramp up efforts in research and development and carry out more demonstration projects while beefing up international cooperation in its efforts to increase its capacity for development and use of CCS technology applications.