Led by 21 nations and the European Commission, the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) met in Cape Town, South Africa last week in an effort to develop cost-effective technologies for the separation and capture of carbon dioxide for its transport and long-term safe storage. Formed in 2003, the CSLF Forum is a voluntary climate initiative of developed and developing nations formed to enable early reduction and steady elimination of the large-source greenhouse gas emissions that account for more than 60% of the world’s manmade CO2. Its 22 members, which produce approximately three-quarters of the world emissions, co-operate and collaborate in technology development and demonstration.James Slutz, CSLF Policy Committee Chairman, and Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Fossil Energy, US Department of Energy, says the CSLF marshals intellectual, technical and financial resources from all parts of the world to support atmospheric stabilization, the long-term goal of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. “The Cape Town meetings focused on how to make sequestration work, and improve carbon capture and storage technologies through co-ordinated research and development with international partners and private industry.”Cape Town was noteworthy for several accomplishments: a CSLF declaration of its support for the G8 recommendations for near term deployment of CCS, and agreement on a mechanism leading to an updated CSLF strategic plan. The meeting also produced recognition of a 20th demonstration project – this one for zero-emissions production of electricity and hydrogen from fossil fuels.Other results from Cape Town included:An examination of CSLF priorities for moving carbon capture and storage (CCS) forward that may be recommended to Energy Ministers at the next meeting, a CSLF 2009 ministerialAgreement on appropriate initiatives and projects which would form an overarching strategy for removing the barriers for CCSAgreement on an updated roadmap for bridging the gap for affordable technology so as to obtain substantial progress in both emerging and industrialized economies to reflect the latest market realities;Agreement on creating successful pathways for Capacity Building as the vehicle for the transfer of technologies, knowledge, and experience about CCS to engineers, scientist, and policy makers in emerging economiesA resolution to increase the role of stakeholders in implementing the policy priorities, and recognition that stakeholders’ expertise is key to assisting in removing the barriers for CCS deployment as they are ultimately responsible for deploying the CCS technologies.Delegates also continued work on fundamental CCS issues such as financial tools, risk management, regulation, legislation and achieving public acceptance. These issues and others will continue to be examined at the next conference, a CSLF ministerial level meeting set to convene in London in late 2009.The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has determined that CO2 capture and storage applied to such large-scale sources as electric generation and industrial activity can achieve up to 55% of the reductions required to stabilise atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas in this century; and that it can reduce ultimate stabilisation costs by 30% or more. Preliminary IPCC findings indicate the world’s potential storage capacity may exceed 11 trillion tonnes balanced against annual world emissions of more than 24 billion tonnes.Geologic storage at great depth is possible in multiple ways – in depleted and declining oil fields where sequestration linked with CO2 enhanced oil recovery can also enhance near-term supply by boosting production; in natural gas fields; in unmineable coal seams, which may add to natural gas supply by displacing methane; in very deep saline reservoirs which underlie much of the world; and in other significant geologic formations such as basalt. Many of the CSLF’s 20 demonstration projects are meant to quantify the potential and identify the best storage sites.The CSLF and the technologies it seeks to develop were identified by international bodies as pivotal in dealing with greenhouse gases and their ultimate stabilisation. The G8 Summit endorsed the CSLF in its Gleneagles Plan of Action on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development, and identified it as a medium of co-operation and collaboration with key developing countries in dealing with greenhouse gases.The CSLF also works with the International Energy Agency and recognises the facts behind IEA findings that the world will have to rely on fossil energy for economic growth and stability for the foreseeable future – use them through an indefinite period required to pass from the present to a point in the future where low- and no-carbon energy sources can meet most requirements. The challenge is to reduce emissions while fossil-energy use rises.Forum membership spans the world’s largest blocs of economic activity, including the North America Free Trade Area, the EU and the leading economies of Asia. Members are Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, the EC, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, the UK and the US.Additional information on the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum may be obtained at http://www.cslforum.org/index.htm or at the US Department of Energy’s CSLF web page at http://www.fe.doe.gov/programs/sequestration/cslf/index.html.