CCS in the CDM: The Struggle for Climate Finance

In Cancun, Parties decided that CCS is eligible in the CDM – provided that certain issues such as leakage and liability are resolved. As delegates are negotiating the details of modalities and procedures for this very questionable project type, it looks like Big Fossil is winning once again. This despite the fact that the viability of CCS as a mitigation technology has yet to be proven.

Here in Durban, only a small number of developing countries have raised concerns about the potential long term impacts of CCS. All others have remained suspiciously silent (hello small islands of the world – where are you?) or are eagerly approving paragraph after paragraph. Somehow it doesn’t seem likely that they really wanted to negotiate night and day to ensure that the fossil fuel industry gets yet another cash cow to milk!

The current text does not exclude ”enhanced oil recovery” – EOR. This is a method to increase the amount of oil that can be recovered from an underground oil reservoir. By pumping CO2 underground, previously unrecoverable oil can be pumped up. This can increase the recoverable oil by 30 to 60%. Once all of the oil has been pumped, the depleted reservoir is used a storage site for the CO2.

On top of the huge profits from the sale of oil and the large fossil fuel subsidies, oil producers could make millions by selling CDM credits for the CO2 they store. Dear delegates, please get your priorities right! CCS in the CDM is unproven at commercial scale with plenty of scientific uncertainties. More work needs to be done for these lingering issues to be resolved. We do not need yet another loophole for generating carbon credits. Before rushing into setting up a new source for millions of carbon offsets, you might want to get yourselves some QEROs first!

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