‘We Are Not Alone Anymore’

The recommendation is unanimously supported by the power industry, the European Commission (EC), The EU Parliament and several important environmental NGOs. “Only a year ago, the situation was completely different. People’s thoughts about CCS have changed, said Paal Frisvold of Bellona’s Brussels office. “Finally we are not alone anymore.”

Clear-Cut Conclusions
The EU’s strategy to remove 30 Gigatonnes of CO2 by the year 2050 can be found in three documents: The Strategic Research Agenda, the Strategic Deployment Document and in the document outlining the Platform’s vision. The conclusions are clear-cut – CCS is an indispensable tool for reducing the CO2-emissions from fossil fuels, and it needs to be implemented now.

The Platform stressed that it is both economically and technologically feasible to implement CCS immediately. However, the costs and risks involved for power companies are currently greater than the economical gain. The Platform concluded that the lack of a political framework geared toward CCS’s exploitation is the most important obstacle to its commercial implementation.

In addition, the Technology Platform made several specific recommendations in their three documents, including: 1) Assuring that CCS is included in a CO2-emissions trading system by the year 2007; 2) Immediately deploying 10-12 large scale CCS-projects across Europe. The purpose of this would be to improve the cost efficiency and the technology so as to better the potential for commercial use. Statoil and Shell’s Halten-CO2 project at the Tjeldbergodden and Draugen could potentially become one of these projects. The Technology platforms third recommendation was to prepare CCS so that it meets the EU’s guidelines for government funding by 2007. This is an important point for Norway, which has been concerned about whether or not government subsidies are in accordance with the European Economic Area (EEA) consensus.

Wide Support
A united power industry supported the conclusions of the Technology Platform documents. Several CEOs from the major power companies in Europe were present at the general assembly, and they fully support the work to implement CCS on a large scale. They all stressed the importance of implementing the technology as soon as possible, and asked that a political framework be created to facilitate CCS.

“How can we expect countries like China and India to implement CCS if we don’t do it ourselves,” said Harry Roels, CEO of the German power-company RWE.

The EU was also very up-beat about CCS implementation. Both EU Commissioner Stavros Dimas, the EU Parliament represented by Jerzy Buzek, and the EU Presidency represented by Sirrka Vilkamo, praised the work of the Technology Platform and said that they would give their full support, and would work toward implementing the CCS technology as soon as possible.

[picture1{Bellona’s Beate Kristiansen, Paal Frisvold and Marius Holm at the ZEP General Assembly}]“The work on CCS is driven forward by the vision of a low-carbon future, but CCS also has the advantage that it will increase profits,” Dimas said in his speech, and added that the technology will improve Europe’s competitiveness on the international market.

“By presenting the implementation document at such an early stage, we are giving European industry a huge advantage,” he said.

The work of the Technology Platform represents an important victory for The Bellona Foundation.

“This is a great day,” Bellona President Frederic Hauge said. “This is something we’ve been working on for a long time. Not long ago people laughed at us when we spoke of CCS. They’re no longer laughing.”

WWF Supports CCS
Some environmental NGOs are still sceptical about CCS. It was therefore something of a lingering mystery as to what stance James Leape, Secretary General of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) International James Leape would take on the matter. Leape, however, dispelled all doubt as to which side he was on in the fight against climate change when he gave his full support to CCS.

“With the energy consumption that we have today we will be unable to meet our goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius without the help of CCS,” said Leape.

“Even though we are extremely successful with energy efficiency technologies and the development of renewable energy sources, we will still need CCS. Now is the time to wake up and see that CCS is part of the solution,” he concluded.

Helle Veiersted

Daniel Jensen

daniel@bellona.no