‘Growing momentum’ behind efforts to limit carbon emissions: IEA

‘Growing momentum’ behind efforts to limit carbon emissions: IEA
There is “growing momentum” to global efforts to accelerate carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) techniques to help the world meet increasingly urgent climate change targets, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. (Reuters/File Photo)
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Updated 24 September 2020

‘Growing momentum’ behind efforts to limit carbon emissions: IEA

‘Growing momentum’ behind efforts to limit carbon emissions: IEA
  • Global investment in CCUS techniques — which Saudi Arabia has placed at the center of its energy transition strategy — has already reached $4 billion this year,

DUBAI: There is “growing momentum” to global efforts to accelerate carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) techniques to help the world meet increasingly urgent climate change targets, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday.

Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, said global investment in CCUS techniques — which Saudi Arabia has placed at the center of its energy transition strategy — has already reached $4 billion this year, and will likely increase as pressure to meet international standards on greenhouse gas emissions intensifies.

“If oil- and gas-producing countries like Saudi Arabia make a big push for CCUS, it’s more than welcome,” he added.

“The issue is whether these technologies will reduce emissions in a timely and significant manner.”

Birol was speaking at a virtual event to mark the publication of an IEA report titled “CCUS in clean energy transitions,” which calls for a “profound transformation in the way we produce and use energy that can only be achieved through a broad suite of strategies.” He said: “We love energy, but we don’t like emissions. Energy is good, emissions are bad.”

The Kingdom’s energy strategy, which seeks to promote technologies and processes that actually remove carbon from the circular economy, will be on show at a virtual meeting of G20 energy ministers organized in Riyadh next Sunday.

Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman is expected to focus on the Kingdom’s efforts to develop technologies that eliminate carbon from the atmosphere, either storing it securely or using it in other industrial processes.

Birol said oil and gas producers have to manage a strategy that reconciles the requirements of their economies with long-term climate targets.

“It’s a very important task to see a marriage between the availability of energy and the need to reach target goals,” he added.

The IEA event was opened by Erna Solberg, prime minister of Norway, which this week launched an energy program called Longship, named after the Viking raiding boats that Solberg said were the leading technology of their day.

The project aims to cut emissions in oil-exporting Norway and other countries, and invest in CCUS technologies.

The IEA said CCUS will form a “key pillar of efforts to put the world on the path to net-zero emissions.”

CCUS techniques are already in use in Saudi Arabia at several of its oil-production facilities, and new megaprojects such as Neom will aim to achieve “carbon balance,” partly through the use of clean hydrogen as an alternative to traditional hydrocarbon fuels, as well as other forms of renewable energy.


GM teams up with Microsoft on driverless cars

GM teams up with Microsoft on driverless cars
Updated 9 min 2 sec ago

GM teams up with Microsoft on driverless cars

GM teams up with Microsoft on driverless cars
  • Auto companies have been joining forces and bringing technology firms on board to try to spread out enormous costs
SILVER SPRING, Maryland: General Motors is teaming up with Microsoft to accelerate its rollout of electric, self-driving cars.
In the partnership announced Tuesday, the companies said Microsoft’s Azure cloud and edge computing platform would be used to “commercialize its unique autonomous vehicle solutions at scale.”
Microsoft joins General Motors, Honda and other institutional investors in a combined new equity investment of more than $2 billion in Cruise, bringing its valuation to about $30 billion. Cruise, which GM bought in 2016, has been a leader in driverless technology and got the go-ahead from California late last year to test its automated vehicles in San Francisco without backup drivers.
Auto companies have been joining forces and bringing technology firms on board to try to spread out the enormous costs — and by nature, risks — of developing self-driving and electric vehicles.
Honda is in on the Cruise project with GM, Volkswagen and Ford have teamed up with Pittsburgh autonomous vehicle company Argo AI, and Hyundai joined with Fiat Chrysler last summer in a deal to use Waymo’s driverless car technology.
Toyota and Uber are also working together, while Amazon skipped over the automaker part of the equation and last summer bought self-driving technology company Zoox, which is developing an autonomous vehicle for a ride-hailing service.
Mass adoption of driverless vehicles — and profits — are still a ways off, said industry analyst Sam Abuelsamid of Guidehouse Insights.
“The reality is that the automated driving landscape is taking much longer to mature that had been anticipated a few years ago,” Abuelsamid said. “It’s probably going to be mid-decade before we start to see significant volumes of these vehicles.”
Abuelsamid added that the importance of adding a company like Microsoft to the mix is its cloud computing power and the ability to analyze data from the vehicles to improve the technology.
“Microsoft is a great addition to the team as we drive toward a future world of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “Microsoft will help us accelerate the commercialization of Cruise’s all-electric, self-driving vehicles and help GM realize even more benefits from cloud computing as we launch 30 new electric vehicles globally by 2025 and create new businesses and services to drive growth.”
General Motors has been aggressively revamping its image, saying the industry has reached a history-changing inflection point for mass adoption of electric vehicles. The 112-year-old Detroit automaker this month unveiled a new corporate logo to signify its new direction as it openly pivots to electric vehicles. It wants to be seen as a clean vehicle company, rather than a builder of cloud-spewing gas-powered pickups and SUVs.
GM scrapped its old square blue logo for a lower-case gm surrounded by rounded corners and an ‘m’ that looks like an electrical plug.