WRI provides strategic advice on the development of best practices, regulations, and standards for CCS and participates in the development of national and international strategies for CCS deployment, consistent with environmental and social integrity.
Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) is the process by which carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and other industrial facilities are captured and stored underground. The process is currently being demonstrated worldwide at commercial scales, but without more experience, the role of CCS in meeting future climate goals will remain uncertain—especially in emerging economies. Without policies to support these demonstrations, environmental regulations and standards that protect water and other natural resources, and engaged local communities and citizens, CCS will not be able to play the large role assumed by some analysts.
WRI began evaluating regulatory issues for carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and storage in 2006, convening stakeholders to formulate the Guidelines for Carbon Dioxide Capture, Transport, and Storage, and the Guidelines for Community Engagement in CCS Projects. In addition, WRI has created an online CCS regulatory comparison matrix that allows one to compare CCS international regulations and regulatory proposals across a number of critical issues. WRI has country-specific experience in China and South Africa, and engages in key international dialogues regarding CCS standards and regulations. In this context, WRI has worked with the Canadian Standards Association as part of a technical committee and is a liaison and member of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to the ISO/TC 265, developing international standards for CCS in both capacities.
Prioritize Environmental Integrity with CCS Deployments
WRI’s work on CCS has been prefaced by five guiding principles. CCS should not be deployed unless we can:
Protect human health and safety
Protect underground sources of drinking water and other natural resources
Ensure market confidence in emissions reduction through greenhouse gas accounting
Facilitate cost-effective, timely deployment
Guidelines for Carbon Dioxide Capture, Transport, and Storage
WRI convened a diverse group of over 80 stakeholders to develop Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage Guidelines to ensure CCS projects are conducted safely and effectively. The starting point for the guidelines stakeholder discussions was that CCS will most likely be needed to achieve the magnitude of CO2 emissions reduction required to stabilize and reduce atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.
The goal of this effort was to develop a set of preliminary guidelines and recommendations for the deployment of CCS technologies in the United States. The CCS Guidelines are written for those who may be involved in decisions on a proposed project: the developers, regulators, financiers, insurers, project operators, and policymakers.
These guidelines are intended to guide full-scale demonstration of and build public confidence in CCS technologies by informing how projects should be conducted. Their purpose is not to make a case for or against CCS, but rather to develop practical considerations for demonstrating and deploying CCS technologies.
Discussions of the Guidelines were predicated on the following principles:
Protect human health and safety.
Protect underground sources of drinking water and other natural resources.
Ensure market confidence in emission reductions through regulatory clarity and proper GHG accounting.