Chemicals, other energy-intensive sectors must accelerate CCS implementation – UN climate panel

Jonathan Lopez


SAO PAULO (ICIS)–Chemicals and other energy-intensive industrial sectors must increase the use of carbon, capture and storage (CCS) technologies to mitigate some of the worse effects of global warming, the UN panel on climate change said this week.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) latest report on progress in the fight against global warming again pointed to methane emissions – mainly emanating from oil and gas production – as a key reason for global warming.

“In contrast to the oil and gas sector, CCS is less mature in the power sector, as well as in cement and chemicals production, where it is a critical mitigation option,” said the IPCC.

The report said global greenhouse gases (GHG), which include gases such as CO2 and methane, have risen by 12% since 2010 and by 54% since 1990.

“The largest share and growth in gross GHG emissions [are] occurring in CO2 from fossil fuels combustion and industrial processes, followed by methane, whereas the highest relative growth occurred in fluorinated gases,” the report added.

The IPCC added that around 80% of global GHG emissions in 2019 came from the sectors of energy, industry, transport and buildings, while around 20% came from agriculture, forestry and other land use.

The UN’s body drew a damning assessment about global warming, but it also added that the lower cost across the board for most renewable energies still made possible to lessen the worse effects of climate change.

It added that to reach net zero emissions, “deep and rapid reductions” in gross emissions are immediately required.

“Global modelled mitigation pathways reaching net zero CO2 and GHG emissions include transitioning from fossil fuels without CCS to very low- or zero-carbon energy sources, such as renewables or fossil fuels with CCS, demand-side measures and improving efficiency, reducing non-CO2 GHG emissions,” said the IPCC.

“In most global modelled pathways, land-use change and forestry (via reforestation and reduced deforestation) and the energy supply sector reach net zero CO2 emissions earlier than the buildings, industry and transport sectors.”

The report went on to say that for industry to reduce its emissions, coordinated action throughout value chains to promote mitigation options would be required, including demand management, energy and materials efficiency, circular material flows and implementation of abatement technologies to change production processes.

The IPCC said the transport sector will be at the centre of those changes, with shipping, aviation and heavy-duty land transport increasingly taking on sustainable biofuels and low-emissions hydrogen and its derivatives, including ammonia and synthetic fuels.

It said advances in battery technologies could facilitate the electrification of heavy-duty trucks and compliment conventional electric rail systems.

The environmental footprint of battery production and growing concerns about critical minerals could be addressed, said the IPCC, by material and supply diversification strategies, energy and material efficiency improvements and circular material flows.

Countries signatories to the 2015 Paris Accord committed to limit global warming to 1.5°C, compared with pre-industrial levels, by 2100.

Most scientists agree that, at current emissions rates, the world is on course for a 2.5-3°C rise in temperatures, which the UN has warned would have dramatic consequences for people in all continents.

“More than a century of burning fossil fuels as well as unequal and unsustainable energy and land use has led to global warming of 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels. This has resulted in more frequent and more intense extreme weather events that have caused increasingly dangerous impacts on nature and people in every region of the world,” the IPCC said this week.

“Every increment of warming results in rapidly escalating hazards. More intense heatwaves, heavier rainfall and other weather extremes further increase risks for human health and ecosystems. In every region, people are dying from extreme heat. Climate-driven food and water insecurity is expected to increase with increased warming.”


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