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AS ABOVE, SO BELOW: THE MENA REGION’S CCUS AMBITION TOWARDS CARBON NEUTRALITY

The policy paper discusses Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) technology as a promising solution to combat climate change and achieve sustainability in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, emphasizing its potential to complement renewables, support economic growth, and foster international collaboration.

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In this edition of the REMENA policy paper series,  Maryem El Farsaoui explores Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) technology as a promising component of the solution to combat climate change and achieve a more sustainable future in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. While renewables, like solar and wind power, play a crucial role in reducing emissions, CCUS can complement these efforts by capturing carbon dioxide from various sources and thus contributing to decarbonisation efforts, particularly in hard-to-abate sectors like steel and cement production.

 

The author argues that CCUS offers an opportunity for the countries of the MENA region to pursue their climate goals without sacrificing economic growth and energy security. Several countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, have already taken proactive steps to support CCUS projects and are exploring ways to capture carbon and reduce emissions. Other countries of the MENA region, like Oman, Bahrain, and Morocco are also advancing initiatives in this regard.

 

To facilitate the adoption of CCUS and create a level playing field for industries, the paper proposes several measures, such as the establishment of a carbon trading system in the GCC and its interlinkage with the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). Additionally, pointing towards cooperation potential between the MENA region and the EU, the papers discusses possible collaboration on large-scale CCUS hubs and hydrogen production centres, which could foster knowledge sharing and lead to cost reductions, as well as the establishment of joint EU-GCC funding mechanisms for CCSU technologies.

 

The paper thus highlights the advantages and potentials of CCUS to contribute to decarbonisation and the fight against climate change. It points to countries in the MENA region, which due to their natural preconditions for storage, their economics structures as well as first experiences and projects to build on, could position themselves as frontrunners in the adoption and advancement of CCUS technologies.

 

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