Global uncertainty continues over decarbonisation technologies

Uptake of carbon abatement technologies is 'highly or very highly uncertain', new report by World Energy Council says

FILE PHOTO: Steam rises from the cooling towers of the coal power plant of RWE, one of Europe's biggest electricity and gas companies in Niederaussem, Germany,  March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

The world faces continued uncertainty over decarbonising economies post-pandemic, as pressure mounts on countries to adopt stronger carbon abatement strategies, according to a new report by the World Energy Council.

Around 40 per cent of respondents said the uptake of carbon abatement technologies, which have proved popular among upstream producers, is "highly or very highly uncertain", according to the World Energy Issues Monitor report, which polled 2,500 industry leaders from 108 countries.

Carbon capture utilisation and storage has become popular with industries, including energy, as a way to reach climate goals.

Companies such as coal-fired power plants and oil producers capture the carbon and store or reuse it in mature oil fields to extract more output.

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest exporter of crude recently sold gas to South Korea for the production of hydrogen, an alternative fuel, in exchange for carbon dioxide.

However, respondents to the survey remained sceptical.

"With large scale carbon capture utilisation and storage [CCUS] deployment yet to take off, and a wide-ranging spectrum of national and corporate net-zero commitments, there is significant uncertainty about how to strike a balance between decarbonising the global economy while simultaneously ensuring that human needs are met during the recovery," the World Energy Council said on Wednesday.

The shock to global energy demand last year, stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic, had a significant impact on oil-exporting countries, the report found.

"Countries that had started diversification of their energy supply have continued or accelerated transition and reinvigorated the energy agenda in the region," it added.

Earlier this year, oil exporters Saudi Arabia and the UAE announced hydrogen programmes to look for fossil-fuel alternatives to power their economies.

In Asia, the report noted that Covid-19 had changed the "leadership mindset" towards energy. Economic trends proved to be the greatest source of uncertainty for the region, where the main challenge is to accelerate the pace of transition to carbon neutrality.

"The global imperative to secure more energy and climate neutrality is the key to enabling whole societies to recover and flourish," said Angela Wilkinson, secretary general of the World Energy Council.

"A holistic view of energy" to enable global human and sustainable development is needed to promote recovery and transition in the global economy, she added.