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carbon capture and storage (CCS)

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On July 24, WRI Senior Fellow Karl Hausker, Ph.D., testified in a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy & Commerce, Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change. The hearing, titled “Building America’s Clean Future: Pathways to Decarbonize the Economy,” examined the challenges and opportunities associated with deep decarbonization of the United States economy.

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Most climate change solutions focus on mitigation—ways to slash emissions as quickly as possible, such as by adopting renewable energy. But research shows these aren't enough. To prevent the worst impacts of climate change, the world will need to reach net-negative emissions, a point at which we're actually removing more carbon from the air than we're putting in.

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China and the United States established eight new pacts this week to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Half of these announcements focused on a single climate change mitigation measure—carbon dioxide capture, utilization and storage (CCUS).

China and the United States are world’s leaders when it comes to CCUS research and development, and this week’s agreements build on a long history of CCUS collaboration between the two nations. In fact, China-US partnership on CCUS has in many respects now left the theoretical feasibility realm and entered the “steel-in-the-ground” phase.

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It is common knowledge that China burns a large amount of coal, with the fuel accounting for nearly 70% of China’s primary energy consumption in recent years. What is less commonly known is that China is also working on ways to reduce the impact of its coal use, including aggressively pursuing research and demonstration of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technology.

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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.

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On June 25, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released the 2012 Annual Energy Outlook (2012 AEO) – the same day the public comment period closed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for new power plants. The NSPS proposal marks EPA’s first step toward controlling carbon pollution from stationary sources, and the agency received a record-breaking more than two million comments supporting the rule. EPA will take the comments it receives into consideration before finalizing the rule later this year. (Get more information on the proposed rule, including WRI’s official comment).

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Coal is a key fuel source for current and future electric power generation. Coal becomes even more critical when cost of electricity and security of supply issues are viewed in light of other fuel sources such as gas or uranium. Yet coal combustion

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Global climate change is the greatest environmental challenge we face. We have at most a few decades to make the necessary investments to prevent the most serious impacts of climate change. Future generations will judge us based on the investments we are considering now.

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