(EnergyAsia, July 8 2013, Monday) —- The Australian Coal Association (ACA) has welcomed the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) endorsement of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology as a key solution in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change.

In a landmark report, released last week, “Technology Roadmap: Carbon Capture and Storage”, the IEA predicts that by 2050, the technology could account for 17% of total emissions reductions needed to limit the increase in average global temperatures to 2⁰C.

The IEA has set a target for the world to launch at least 30 demonstration projects across different sectors by 2020 and to use the technology in power generation and industry to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 2,000 million tonnes per year by 2030. The Paris-based agency also wants the technology deployed in all on-site processes throughout the world by 2050 that would lead to the storage of over seven billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, equal to China’s total annual emissions.

“The IEA highlights that CCS technology will be part of a range of low emissions technologies needed to lower world carbon dioxide emissions while satisfying growing energy demand,” said the association’s CEO, Nikki Williams, who criticised environmentalists for rejecting and attacking the use of CCS technology.

“It’s time for activists to recognise that CCS technology must be part of the world’s low carbon future. CCS will remain a critical greenhouse gas reduction solution, due to the role of fossil fuels and carbon-intensive industries in world economies.”

According to the IEA, 70% of CCS projects need to be implemented in emerging economies where the growth of energy demand is greatest.

Last week, US President Obama announced up to US$8 billion in loan guarantees for CCS projects as part of his “Climate Change Action Plan”.

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said: “The President made clear that we anticipate that coal and other fossil fuels are going to play a significant role for quite some time on the way to a very low carbon economy.”

While CCS development and deployment would not happen immediately, he said that “we will have demonstrated the viability of large-scale storage” of carbon dioxide from industrial operations this decade.

The Australian Coal Association said it is supporting the development of CCS and other low emissions technologies through its Coal21 technology programme, which has so far invested $265 million in 10 research and development projects.