Risk governance for geological storage of CO2 under the clean development mechanism

Melisa Pollak, Elizabeth J Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Managing local and global risks from the geological storage of CO2 under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) presents three main challenges. First, the CDM procedures must be adapted to the specifics of the technology. Second, storage must last far longer than the crediting period, leaving questions about the management of long-term risks. Third, management of local environmental, health and safety risks falls largely outside the CDM governance framework. CDM procedures could be adapted to successfully manage the short-term global risk of carbon dioxide re-entering the atmosphere during the CDM crediting period, but local environmental, health and safety risks and long-term global risk cannot be ensured under existing structures. To better manage these risks, the implications for the CDM are: (1) to provide guidance on site characterization requirements, and have an independent auditor verify that the proposed geological storage site has a high likelihood of safely containing the injected carbon dioxide; (2) to require that carbon capture and storage (CCS) project design documents specify post-crediting-period commitments; and (3) to support CCS specific capacity building. But because CDM governance is designed to strike a balance between raspecting host country sovereignty and ensuring high-quality emission reduction credits, some limitations to risk management of geological storage under the CDM remain. These limitations should be weighed against the potential benefits of including CCS in the CDM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-87
Number of pages17
JournalClimate Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
a Submissions from Greenpeace, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA), International Risk Governance Council (IRGC), World Coal Institute (WCI), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), The Bellona Foundation, and the Norwegian Forum for Environment and Development can be found at http://unfccc.int/parties_and_observers/ngo/items/3689.php b Submissions were received from Canada, Japan, Korea, Norway, Portugal (supported by Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovenia, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine), and Saudi Arabia. Submissions can be downloaded from http://unfccc.int/ documentation/documents/advanced_search/items/3594.php?such=j&meeting=%22(SBSTA),+Twenty-seventh+session%22&sorted=agenda#beg


  • Capacity building
  • Carbon capture and storage (CCS)
  • Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
  • Geological storage
  • Risk governance
  • Seepage
  • Site characterization
  • Technology transfer
  • Time


Dive into the research topics of 'Risk governance for geological storage of CO2 under the clean development mechanism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this