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Moving CCS forward in Europe

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Environmental groups call for revised strategy and fresh incentives

European-based members of the ENGO Network on CCS have published “Moving CCS Forward in Europe,” a report examining the current status of this essential climate change mitigation technology in Europe, why policy efforts have stalled, and recommendations for improving momentum.

Alongside E3G, authors from two other environmental organizations – Bellona Foundation and ZERO – jointly contributed to the report, which was presented by lead author Chris Littlecott at a European meeting of the Global CCS Institute (GCCSI) in Edinburgh.

“To move CCS forward in Europe, we need to look beyond the limits of the current bureaucratic imagination,” Littlecott said. “Politicians and policymakers need to realise that CCS on industrial emitters and gas power plants is essential as we move to a low-carbon economy.

“CCS can provide enduring value to Europe through boosting low-carbon competitiveness and enabling job retention. To make that vision a reality we need to see new policy instruments brought forward and investment in an enabling infrastructure for CO2 transport and storage.”

GCCSI welcomed the publication. “This report from the ENGO Network is an important contribution to the European debate on reinvigorating CCS,” said Global CCS Institute CEO Brad Page. “As well as examining the difficulties European projects have faced, it explores the European Commission’s ideas for invigorating CCS in the region.

“The report makes it clear that the deployment of CCS in Europe is at a crossroads. New measures and new approaches are needed to ensure that CCS projects move past Final Investment Decision to enable widespread deployment in the coming years if Europe's emission ambitions are to be achieved.”

The paper reviews Europe’s previous efforts at CCS, looks at how policy could be reconsidered going forward and suggests ways to win back political support to inform policy choices. It also presents ideas on how EU-wide and Member State policy incentives could work together to accelerate action on CCS. Finally, it considers the case of Norway, a country that is not an EU member, but has had similar leadership aspirations for CCS.

The paper highlights how a revitalised vision of CCS in Europe would need to include:

  • Greater attention to the value proposition of CCS – for example, with respect to:

o job retention for industrial emitters,
o the added value that would come from low-carbon industrial production,
o the potential for CCS plants to play a flexible role in balancing renewables,
o additional revenue creation through use of CO2,
o the proactive development of clusters and industrial ecologies, and
o the critical contribution to climate stability from being able to secure
negative emissions from CCS in conjunction with sustainable biomass.

  • A focus on how early investment in CO2 storage and transport infrastructures are key enablers for effective cost reduction and deployment at scale.
  • An acknowledgement that if CCS is to be deployed, it will require a package of finance and regulation to pull it through from demonstration to deployment. An ETS-only approach is no longer credible.
  • An awareness that continued investment in unabated fossil plants is fast reaching its limits, and that any justification of new investments with a vague suggestion of future CCS deployment is a threat to credibility. The CCS sector in Europe needs to position itself as serious about climate change. EU Member States are already at the point of being able to say ‘no new coal without CCS’. We are not far off from them having to say the same for gas too.

Members of the international ENGO Network on CCS share knowledge and work toward common positions and public responses to international developments related to CCS. Network members are Clean Air Task Force, E3G, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Climate Institute, The Pembina Institute, World Resources Institute, Green Alliance, Environmental Defense Fund, Bellona Foundation and Zero Emission Resource Organisation.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Chris Smith, coordinator,csmith@engonetwork.org, USA (817) 229-1320

Chris Littlecott, E3G,chris.littlecott@e3g.org, UK, +44 (0)7920 461812

www.engonetwork.org

The report and a pdf version of this press release are attached.

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