Calls For A Europe Carbon Capture & Storage Tsar

17th June 2024

Industry groups and major oil companies are urging the European Union (EU) to appoint a dedicated carbon capture and storage (CCS) envoy to promote this climate solution, despite ongoing skepticism. Euronews Green reported Wednesday that supporters believe a dedicated envoy could enhance the EU's efforts in capturing and permanently storing carbon dioxide underground. However, critics argue that focusing on CCS might distract from the urgent need to reduce fossil fuel consumption.

Calls For A Europe Carbon Capture & Storage Tsar

CCS Europe, a Brussels-based trade association, proposed the idea in May 2024, emphasising the need for political leadership to meet climate targets. Despite the EU’s Net-Zero Industry Act mandating an annual injection capacity of 50 million tons by 2030, the industry acknowledges it is not on track to meet this goal, with projected capacity at only 42 million tons if all projects proceed.

“Political leadership from the Commission is required, and an appointed representative with expert knowledge could provide the commitment that no Commissioner will have the time to offer,” said Chris Davies, a former UK MEP who steered the EU’s first CCS legislation through the European Parliament and now chairs the lobby group. Davies further stated that to meet the Commission’s target of capturing 280 million tons of CO2 annually by 2040, the construction of no fewer than 650 carbon capture plants of similar scale must commence over the next 14 years—equivalent to one every eight days.

The largest current project, Northern Lights in Norway, has an initial capacity of just 1.5 million tons per year. Financial challenges and a lack of final investment decisions hinder the progress of numerous small pilot projects. Protea supports the need for a European CCS lead, offering access to high-level government support and associated stakeholders to ensure that CCS becomes a vital component of global objectives for reducing CO2 emissions and tackling global warming.

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