Cape Town - A plan to capture and store carbon dioxide, a
major greenhouse gas, in deep geologic formations was approved by cabinet on
"Cabinet endorsed the carbon capture and storage (CCS) roadmap," Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Collins Chabane
said at a media briefing in Pretoria, broadcast via a video link to Cape Town.
CCS has been identified - in government's long-term
mitigation scenarios plan - as one of the options to reduce carbon dioxide
emissions, one of the main drivers behind global warming.
"One of government's strategic objectives is mitigation
against carbon emissions and adaptation to the impact of climate change,"
Cabinet held its fortnightly meeting on Thursday.
South Africa relies heavily on fossil fuels (coal, gas and
oil) for its energy production.
Chabane said it had voluntarily committed to reduce CO²
emissions by 34% in 2020, and by 45% in 2025, on condition that the requisite
technological and financial support was provided.
"CCS can reduce CO² emissions by 80% to 90%...
particularly CO² from sources such as electricity generation plants,
coal-to-liquid plants and cement manufacturing plants," he said.
CCS involves capturing CO² from a point source, such as a
power station or coal-to-fuel plant; transporting it, usually by pipeline; and,
pumping it down a borehole into porous rock formations deep underground, where
it is contained and stored.
A recently-released Geological Storage Atlas has identified
potential CCS areas in South Africa.
It is understood the next step in the CCS
"roadmap" process will be a test injection of CO² into a suitable
geologic formation, to determine whether such storage can be safely undertaken
in South Africa.