Avoiding catastrophic climate change over the coming decades will require the entire world to reduce its emissions of CO2 by roughly 80%. In the long run, new—perhaps unimagined—technologies may allow us to sustain such a low-carbon future without the use of coal, oil and natural gas (fossil fuels). However, for at least the next half century, there does not appear to be any way to sustain modern society and allow the rest of the world to develop rapidly without continued use of fossil fuel.
Fortunately CO2 can be captured from power stations (and similar large industrial plants) before it enters the atmosphere and safely disposed a half mile or more (> 1 km) underground in appropriate geological formations. This technology is called carbon capture and sequestration, or CCS for short. Most of the technology required to perform CCS exists today at commercial scale. However, it has yet to be used for making electricity (or other clean energy) at commercial scale. This means that there is an urgent need for a lot of research, development and large-scale testing over the next few years.
Investigators in the CCS Regulatory Project are working with a wide range of stakeholders and experts to design and facilitate the rapid adoption of a U.S. regulatory environment for the capture, transport and geological sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2). Our objective is to assure that CCS will be done in a manner that is safe, environmentally sound, affordable, compatible with evolving international carbon control regimes (including emissions trading) and socially equitable.
The CCS Regulatory Project is building upon previous research by members of our research team and by many others. The result will be detailed policy recommendations, regulatory approaches, and—where appropriate—draft legislative language that addresses CO2 capture, transportation, and injection, as well as long-term stewardship of sequestration sites.
The project is anchored in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. Other members of the project team are located at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, the Institute for Energy and the Environment at the Vermont Law School, and the Washington, DC law firm of Van Ness Feldman.
On October 25 & 26, 2010, the CCSReg project held a workshop on regulation of CCS in Washington, DC. Presentations from the workshop and a summary of comments are available.
On May 19, 2010 the CCSReg project released model legislation that implements the recommendations made in the policy briefs.
A summary of recommendations made in the policy briefs is also available.
The CCSReg project maintains a searchable database on U.S. State CCS Policies. This database is searchable by state, policy type, and CCS component and has a browsable interface.