Australia – The Australian government announced on Thursday a grant commitment of A$250 million ($180 million) to promote the development of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) projects, as part of a broader technology drive to help reduce carbon emissions.
The grants will be used to support the design and construction of carbon capture hubs and shared infrastructure, as well as the research and commercialization of carbon capture technologies and the identification of feasible carbon storage locations.
The details of the investment, which were first announced in May’s budget, come as Canberra faces international pressure to commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, in line with the majority of large nations, and to increase its targeted reductions for 2030 ahead of next month’s UN climate meeting.
Australia, which is largely reliant on coal and gas exports, has prioritized carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen research to help reduce emissions while maintaining access to gas and coal.
The government’s attempt to encourage CCS involves the establishment of regulations for the issuance of carbon credits for CCS projects, which will be finalized shortly. Carbon credits may be sold to the federal government’s Emissions Reduction Fund or to other businesses in need of carbon offsets.
CCS opponents argue that it is a waste of money that will merely extend the usage of planet-warming fossil fuels.
The Australia Institute, a think tank, said in a submission to the government on its proposed mechanism for allocating carbon credits for CCS that the credits should not be awarded to oil and gas projects because CCS accounts for just a “small fraction” of total oil and gas emissions.