As the United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen draws to a close today a major part of Australia’s so-called ‘clean coal’ carbon reduction future looks to have been dealt a financial blow.
It was revealed earlier this week that carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) would not be considered as a substitute for clean energy and therefore not qualify in the Clean Development Mechanism funding scheme.
The decision effectively denies CCS access to a climate change war chest that may amount to billions of dollars.
While there remains a chance that Federal Climate Change Minister Penny Wong could get CCS included in the funding program, resistance from long time opponent Brazil makes this unlikely.
Despite the news from Copenhagen, chief executive of the Co-operative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies, Dr Peter Cook, told MINING DAILY that the funding shutout is not necessarily a significant setback to the future of CCS implementation.
Cook said that the future of CCS technology is ensured because of its basic necessity in the fight against climate change.
“The fact of the matter is that as long as countries choose to use fossil fuels we don’t have any alternative other than CCS for decreasing the impact of those fossil fuels,” he said.
“It is something that needs to happen in the future.”
News of the likely funding denial comes a week after the Australian Federal Government announced that it would spend up to $120 million on pre-feasibility work to further assess clean coal technology at four coal-fired power stations around the country.
The program is part of the Government’s $2 billion Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Flagship Program.
Australia was also unable to ensure the inclusion of CCS in the Clean Development Mechanism at climate talks in Poznan, Poland, last year, with Brazil maintaining its resistance to funding for the technology.
The Clean Development Mechanism gives lucrative carbon credits to firms that invest in clean technology projects in developing countries, with those credits seen as a valuable way to subsidise the development of CCS.