Sep 24, 2020 - Energy & Environment

CO2 capture is growing but still lags badly, IEA says

Graph of world CO2 capture from 1980-2020
Screenshot of IEA's "CCUS in Clean Energy Transitions" report

There's growing momentum behind deploying technology that traps and stores CO2 emissions, but much more investment and stronger policies are needed, the International Energy Agency said in a new report.

Why it matters: The technology is vital to enabling the radical emissions cuts needed through the 2050-2070 timeframe to keep temperature rise in check, the agency said.

  • "Without a sharp acceleration in [carbon capture, utilization and storage] innovation and deployment over the next few years, meeting net-zero emissions targets will be all but impossible," the report states.
  • It also warns that investment has "fallen well behind that of other clean energy technologies," and accounts for under 0.5% of global investment in climate-friendly energy.

By the numbers: Plans for over 30 commercial facilities have emerged over the last three years, and projects nearing final investment decisions represent an estimated $27 billion worth of investment.

  • But the extent of the scale-up ultimately needed must increase by orders of magnitude, IEA said.
  • Currently deployed global capture capacity is around 40 million tons of CO2 per year (as the chart above shows).
  • In its Paris-aligned "sustainable development scenario," by 2070 10.4 gigatons of CO2 is captured "from across the energy sector."

Go deeper: Global climate goals 'virtually impossible' without carbon capture - IEA (Reuters)

Go deeper