A communiqué drafted by participants from 22 coal-heavy countries at the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) that was held in Washington D.C. last week affirms that carbon capture and storage (CCS) is an indispensable element of any effective response to climate change.

Members of the ministerial-level international climate change initiative also urged acceleration of the demonstration and global deployment of CCS technologies, pledging to take “necessary actions individually and collaboratively to make this happen.”

The CSLF’s communiqué notes that CCS is the only climate change mitigation technology option available to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions from both coal and gas-fired power plants and a range of industrial processes including cement and steel manufacturing. Significantly, it declares that the “next seven years” are critically important for creating the conditions for CCS to be ready for large-scale deployment by the end of the decade. ““It is clear that significant progress has been made on CCS, challenges remain, but these are challenges that we can—and will—overcome,” CSLF member country energy and environment ministers said in a statement on Friday.

A common goal outlined by the ministers is to ensure that the “conditions are right for completing CCS projects currently under construction of in advanced stages of planning. They also seek to increase the number of new large CCS demonstrations by 2020 to enable future commercial deployment in the early 2020s.

Key actions outlined to enable accelerated CCS deployment include developing “predictable” financial frameworks and incentive mechanisms; developing workable CCS demonstration and deployment strategies for the power and industrial sectors; continuing to establish permitting frameworks that will ensure the safety and integrity of integrated CCS systems; and sharing information.

According to the Global CCS Institute, of 64 active large-scale integrated CCS projects, only 29 are dedicated to the power sector. Of these, only two are currently under construction—the Boundary Dam project in Canada and the Kemper County integrated gasification combined cycle project in the U.S.—both which are scheduled to be operational next year.  Only another nine power generation projects are in the “define” stage, which means they must demonstrate technical and economic viability as well as estimate overall project capital and operating costs to allow investment decisions to be made.  The International Energy Agency says in its recent World Energy Outlook that it expects only 1% of global fossil fired–power plants will be equipped with CCS by 2035.

The CSLF’s 22-country membership includes the Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Commission, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, the UK, and the U.S.

Sonal Patel, associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)