G20 ministers endorse circular carbon economy concept to reduce emissions


RIYADH — Energy ministers from the Group of 20 countries have endorsed the “circular carbon economy” concept for addressing the dual challenge of meeting the world’s growing energy needs while delivering on climate commitments.

They have acknowledged the CCE approach is a holistic, integrated, inclusive, and pragmatic approach to managing emissions that aims to provide new pathways toward economic growth.

In a communiqué after their meeting on Sept.27-28, 2020, the ministers said: “We will endeavor to explore various opportunities, including, the CCE approach and existing G20 programs and initiatives, to advance transitions toward affordable and reliable energy for all."

The CCE approach is built on the “4Rs”: Reduce, reuse, recycle, and remove to advance stable and secure energy markets and energy access for all while holistically managing emissions and advance a cleaner and more sustainable future. Moreover, the reduction can be achieved by encouraging technological innovations like renewables, efficiency, and nuclear.

"Reuse" refers to converting emissions into value-added materials to industries by utilizing and advancing carbon capture and utilization (CCU), and emissions to value (E2V).

"Recycle" means relying on natural processes and decomposition, including the use of energy carriers like hydrogen, methanol, and ammonia representing the natural cycle and recycling.

Lastly, "remove" revolves around implementing natural and geological carbon capture and storage, direct air capture, and natural-based solutions to remove emissions from industries and the atmosphere.

The G20 presented the CCE platform that includes the CCE approach, guide, and the accelerator. The CCE guide provides a toolkit of opportunities recommended options to be utilized by G20 members and beyond, each according to their different national circumstances, needs, and priorities.

The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) has led the CCE guide efforts to address these challenges. CCE adoption can also be found in the private sector.

For example, Saudi Aramco, the world's largest energy company, states on its website: "We are adopting and implementing energy-efficient technologies and practices... energy efficiency is a key component in our strategy to increase the sustainability of our operations. Championing and practicing energy efficiency help us reduce emissions, improve the operational performance of our plants and facilities, and promote environmentally responsible communities."

The CCE approach can help address crucial issues facing the world in achieving universal access to energy. It is in this spirit that the G20 is working to ensure energy access to all, especially vulnerable groups.

Also, the G20 continues to support institutions with frameworks to employ the private sector and enable affordable reliable energy access. G20 members are to apply these systems taking into account system efficiency and national circumstances, including its specific resources endowment and its political, economic, environmental, social, and risk-informed development contexts. — SG