AOMORI, Japan (AFP) — The Group of Eight industrial powers said Sunday they hoped to launch 20 large projects to bury greenhouse gas by 2010 and aimed to broadly deploy the technology a decade later.
G8 energy ministers, meeting in Japan, said in a statement that Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), which stops emissions at their root, played a "critical role" in "tackling the global challenge of climate change and energy security".
The International Energy Agency, a Paris-based energy security body set up in 1974 after the first oil crisis, has recommended commercial use of the CO2-burying technology by 2020.
"We strongly support the recommendation that 20 large-scale CCS demonstration projects need to be launched globally by 2010 ... with a view to supporting technology development and cost reduction for the beginning of broad deployment of CCS by 2020," the statement said.
The G8 groups Britain, Canada, Italy, Japan, France, Germany, Russia and the United States. The G8 ministerial talks were later expanded here to include China, India and South Korea.
The 11-nation joint statement said they "will work towards the creation of an enabling environment for the broad deployment".
But the idea of CCS is hotly debated, even among environmentalists.
Greenpeace, which published a report in early May entitled "False hope. Why carbon capture and storage won't save the climate," is spearheading the opposition.
Its long list of complaints includes the argument that the method consumes a lot of energy, is expensive and there is the risk of leaks.
According to experts, the future of the method depends on its cost.
Carbon capture and storage currently costs around 60 euros (95 dollars) per avoided tonne of CO2.
But experts say that cost would have to be at least halved to make it a viable alternative to industries, which can buy CO2 emissions rights for about 25 euros per tonne.
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