UK produces a very ambitious fifth carbon budget - Abandoning a Carbon Capture and Storage Project | Carbon Emissions, Clean Development Mechanism Training Courses

UK produces a very ambitious fifth carbon budget - Abandoning a Carbon Capture and Storage Project

Date: 20/07/2016

The Climate Change Act requires that UK emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050 are to be reduced to at least 80% below 1990 level of emissions.  The Committee on Climate Change advises Government on the level of cuts needed.

Four carbon budgets have been legislated for. The first carbon budget from 2008 to 2012) was met.  At the end of 2014 emissions were 520 MtCO2e or 36% below 1990 levels.   The legally binding 5th carbon budget is more ambitious than the carbon emissions target the UK is signed up to as part of the European Union.  The UK carbon budget require a 57% reduction in emissions whereas the EU requires a 40% cut by 2030 on 1990 levels.

On a more negative note the Government has abandoned a carbon capture and storage (CCS) programme.  This could achieve emission reductions by preventing the discharge of GHGs into the atmosphere.  Of course it may be argued that CCS if used as it is in the oil and gas industry for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). 

CCS is an emerging technology used for reducing the quantity of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emitted to the atmosphere.  CCS is a means of collecting carbon dioxide (the most important GHG by volume) from large point sources, such as fossil fuel power plants and fertilizer producers, and then storing this collected gas instead of releasing it to the atmosphere.  In addition to simply storing these gases in large geological formations (reservoirs), collected carbon dioxide can also be first utilized to help extract additional volumes of oil from partially depleted oil reservoirs prior to final storage in the reservoir.  This process is termed Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR).  The figure below shows the concept with captured CO2 being piped to an oil well.  The CO2 is injected to force out residual oil which cannot otherwise be extracted without some external motive power (pressure of CO2 in this case).  

The overriding concern with EOR and CCS projects is the possibility for the captured CO2 to be released through intentional and inadvertent means. This concern for CO2 release is present during and long after the project completion.  To avoid the potential for GHG release (referred to as ‘reversals’); significant scientific testing of the reservoir geology must be completed prior to any site being approved for CCS projects.

 

The following good practice guidance for criteria and procedures are useful notes for CCS-EOR projects:

• ISO 14064-2:2006 Specification with guidance at the project level for quantification, monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emission reductions or removal enhancements

• WRI/WBCSD GHG Protocol for Projects, December 2005

• Quantification Protocol for Enhanced Oil Recovery, Alberta Environment

• Saskatchewan PNG Guideline 12 Application for an Enhanced Recovery Scheme other than a Waterflood

• IPCC Special Report: Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage, 2005

• 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, Volume 2, Chapter 5: Carbon Dioxide Transport, Injection and Geological Storage.

 

Fore more information on Greenhouse Gas, Climate Change, CRC or Carbon Emissions Reduction

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We shall return to CCS in our next article.

 

 

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