* World needs 100 carbon capture projects by 2020
* More than 3,000 needed by 2050
* Carbon capture must be part of Copenhagen climate deal
(Adds closing comments from London conference)
By Daniel Fineren
LONDON, Oct 13 The world needs to build 100
major projects for capturing and burying greenhouse gases by
2020 and thousands more by 2050 to help combat climate change,
International Energy Agency chief Nobuo Tanaka said on Tuesday.
Energy ministers meeting in London said the world must start
building by next year at least 20 commercial-scale pilot
projects to test a technology which U.S. energy secretary Steven
Chu said could solve "20 percent of the problem" to curb carbon.
The drive, mostly to capture emissions from coal-fired power
stations, would cost $56 billion by 2020 alone, said Tanaka.
Carbon capture funding could be a key part of a new U.N. climate
treaty due to be agreed in Copenhagen in December.
"We will need 100 large scale projects by 2020, 850 by 2030
and 3,400 in 2050," Tanaka told the ministers at a carbon
capture and storage (CCS) conference, adding that the rich world
must take the lead but most projects must be in non-OECD
countries by 2050.
A few industrial-scale projects are in operation, including
in Norway, Canada and Algeria, but none tests all parts of the
capture process. Heat-trapping carbon dioxide can be taken from
the exhausts of a coal-fired power plant, for instance, then
piped underground into porous rocks.
The IEA estimates that after the $56 billion investment in
CCS globally from 2010-2020, a further $646 billion will be
needed from 2021 to 2030, Tanaka told the Carbon Sequestration
U.N. studies have indicated that CCS could do more to limit
greenhouse gas emissions this century than a shift to renewable
energies such as wind or solar power. CCS has been limited by
"We call upon the delegates to the United Nations climate
conference in Copenhagen to recognize the importance of CCS in
mitigating climate change," said a closing statement of the 15
ministers, including those from the United States, Europe and
"The world's biggest coal-using nations recognise we cannot
continue with business as usual on coal," British Energy
Secretary Ed Miliband said. "We need a mechanism which will at
least provide the opportunity for developing countries to get
help with financing some of the incremental costs of their
A promise of big aid via technologies such as CCS could
encourage developing nations led by China and India to sign up
in Copenhagen for more action to limit rising emissions.
Talks on the new U.N. climate deal made little progress at a
two-week session that ended in Bangkok last week, partly because
of disputes between rich and poor nations about sharing out the
burden of curbs on greenhouse gas emissions.
It is unclear if the U.S. Senate will pass laws before
Copenhagen to cut national emissions, and recession is dampening
willingness to act.
In Australia, a survey on Tuesday indicated that saving jobs
was the top priority for voters. Fighting climate change fell to
seventh, two years after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was swept to
power on a promise to tackle global warming.
The government said it was committed to an emissions trading
scheme which, if defeated in November, could bring a snap
election. "Our policy is not determined by polls," Climate
Minister Penny Wong said of the survey.
So far, few nations have agreed to invest heavily in carbon
capture technologies -- nations including the United States,
Australia, Britain and China have projects.
Still, in a national budget on Tuesday, Norway said it would
almost double funding of carbon capture research to $620 million
next year. Norway has the oldest commercial carbon capture site,
set up in 1996 at the Sleipner gas field in the North Sea.
-- Additional reporting by Gerard Wynn