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U.S.-China climate cooperation might boost CCS

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The American and Chinese presidents announced ambitious climate targets earlier this month. The cooperation between two of the largest emitters in the world also means that we will see development of more full-scale CCS projects.

Photo: Ida Sofia Vaa

The countries have agreed to renew and expand the commitment to the US-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC).  The three existing CERCs focus on building efficiency, clean vehicles and advanced coal technologies including carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS/CCS).

- The centers aren't physical buildings, but provide a platform for researchers in each country to work together on a common work plan, accelerating innovation in the process. The effort will now have an additional five-years to continue the collaboration, says Sarah Forbes from World Resources Institute.

The US and China will also launch a new CERC focusing on the interaction of energy and water. As a part of the agreement the countries will inject 1 million tons of CO2 and create 1.4 million cubic meters of freshwater annually.

- This is an issue the WRI has highlighted. The CERC is a first-of-a-kind collaboration, a public-private sector partnership on both sides, Sarah Forbes continues.

The United States and China has also agreed to undertake a major CCS project in China. This project will be long-term and includes a detailed assessment of full-scale storage in an underground geologic reservoir.

- Collaboration on CCS between the two countries has clearly moved from the realm of research into the "steel in the ground" phase. And the agreement fosters future innovation and captures success to date in a way that gives hope towards the future of CCS, she concludes.

Critics say that the agreement does not go far enough to reach the 2-degree goal, but it offers very concrete plans to develop more full-scale CCS projects. IEA, IPCC and other organizations underline the importance of CCS to reach the climate goals. The development of full-scale CCS plants has been slow in many parts of the world, and this agreement might inspire other countries to follow the lead of China and the United States.


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