Carbon capture and storage feasible for mitigating global warming news
02 July 2008

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has the potential to reduce one-third of the total global emissions of carbon dioxide from stationary sources, according to a new report by global business strategy advisory firm The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The report, titled Carbon Capture and Storage: A Solution to the Problem of Carbon Emissions, was released yesterday.

The report summarises findings from BCG's extensive analysis of global sources of carbon dioxide and the costs and benefits of CCS technology. 

This analysis determined that if the 1,000 largest fossil-fuel-burning power generators and industrial manufacturing facilities-stationary, single-point sources-implemented CCS by 2030, more than one-third of the estimated total global emissions would be reduced.

Ramón Baeza, a BCG senior partner and coauthor of the report, said, "CCS technology offers substantial benefits, but high cost and uncertainty have been a major roadblock so far in applying it. A carbon market price of €30 per ton, combined with worldwide subsidies, could offset the cost. Because of the long-term payback, private companies and government authorities need to begin promoting the development of CCS today."

Current efforts necessary but not sufficient
Most efforts so far to mitigate global warming have focused on improving energy efficiency or deploying renewable or alternative forms of energy. Although both are necessary, these efforts are not likely to be sufficient to contain increasing global carbon emissions.

If, as most experts agree, CCS can reduce stationary plant emissions by 90 per cent, it may be possible to upgrade rather than shut down these facilities.

The uncertainty and volatility of carbon prices in a carbon-trading market are disincentives to developing CCS fast enough to respond to the emission reduction challenges established by the European Commission and other world bodies. However, the technology would pay for itself at a stable carbon price of €30 per ton.

An initial subsidy of €100 billion during the ramp-up time would enable development to proceed as the carbon price stabilised. A stable carbon-trading market and initial government subsidies will offset the €500 billion cost by 2030, the report said. 

Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with 66 offices in 38 countries.

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Carbon capture and storage feasible for mitigating global warming