More than eight billion tonnes of annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are being overlooked in a climate debate focused too narrowly on energy policy, according to Brad Page, CEO of the Global CCS Institute.

The institute has released two new public information reports highlighting the long-term application of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology in a variety of industrial sectors.

CCS was first applied to natural gas processing in 1972, a sector that now boasts nine operational large-scale CCS projects with annual capture potential of more than 20 million tonnes of CO2.

The first report, titled Introduction to Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage, summarises 17 CCS projects across sectors including natural gas processing, fertiliser manufacturing and hydrogen production.

The report highlights that 25% of the world’s CO2 emissions, or 8.5 gigatonnes, result from these applications, and other industrial sectors such as iron and steel, cement production and petrochemicals refining.

Industrial process emissions are unavoidable regardless of the energy source used to run the facilities where they take place. “Strong policy support is required globally, now, to help decarbonise these industries,” said Page.

“If we are serious about tackling climate change then we’ve got to reduce emissions from every possible sector of the global economy, urgently and without bias…”

“If we are serious about tackling climate change then we’ve got to reduce emissions from every possible sector of the global economy, urgently and without bias.”

“Steel and cement are vital to build the essential infrastructure that drives economic progress – including the factories where low carbon energy technologies are manufactured. These sectors cannot simply be ‘switched’ out of the global economy, and transitioning to low-carbon energy sources still fails to address the billions of tonnes of emissions released through industrial processes. CCS is the only technology that can deliver deep cuts to these emissions.”

“An electric car may be charged on a grid powered by renewables. But that car cannot be built without metals, plastics and polymers. It cannot be built without factories, production lines, or tools.

The second report from the institute, titled Understanding Industrial CCS Hubs and Clusters explores the economic benefits of building shared infrastructure for multiple small industrial emitters to reduce emissions using CCS.