An Insight into why environmental groups support CCS

Chris Smith

An Insight into why environmental groups support CCS

Organisation: ENGO Network on CCS

By Chris Smith, Coordinator ENGO Network on CCS

Three years ago an unlikely coalition of policy advisors, scientists, lawyers and other professionals from 10 environmental organizations all around the world came together as a testament to the need for effectively tackling a serious global problem: spiraling carbon emissions leading to climate change. There seemed to be a vast, unoccupied space for work on carbon capture and storage (CCS) by the Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) world, particularly those with an environmental focus. The desire to combat climate change deemed such a knowledge-sharing network necessary and essential, and thus the ENGO Network on CCS began in 2011. From this beginning, members from this geographically and politically diverse group now work together on supporting the safe and effective deployment of CCS, and have since proven that it’s possible to work across continents and cultures, toward a common goal.

From my perspective as Network coordinator, and with a communications background of nearly two decades, communicating clearly on complex issues is always a challenge, no matter the subject. With CCS, a somewhat obscure, technically challenging and at times, controversial topic, it can be even more so. Adding to that challenge is the coordination of such a large group of people across numerous time zones.

Nevertheless, the group has authored a number of white papers and blogs, and engaged in national and international advocacy to assist in moving policy forward that will make safe and effective CCS a timely and meaningful tool against climate change. Just this week, the Network distributed a news release on SaskPower’s Boundary Dam project. Because all Network members agree that the urgency of climate change demands action – more government and industry action than has taken place to date – they came together to release this statement on the world’s first existing coal-fired power plant to use demonstrated carbon capture technology on its entire exhaust gas stream.

Applying CCS should be accepted as best practice for fossil power generation, according to these 10 environmental NGOs. Certainly, it’s one thing to hear such an opinion from industry or government, yet quite another coming from environmentalists who inspire public trust with public and environmental health, safety and welfare as their only vested interests.

Why would so many respected environmental groups be willing to come together around such a technology? It’s simple. Climate change posts a risk for us all and CCS can be a valuable tool in combating the problem, alongside solutions such as renewables, energy efficiency, and more. The more we delay needed emissions reductions, the higher the degree of warming that our planet will be locked into.

Please help us spread the word. After three years, many reporters, government officials and others still may not know we exist. Our mission is clear. The ENGO Network on CCS is an international network of more than 10 environmental NGOs who have joined forces supporting the safe and effective deployment of CCS as a timely mitigation tool for combating climate change.