EEB gives a cautious nod to carbon capture and storage

frontpageingressimage_eebFNT.jpg Photo: Bellona Archive

The EEB – the umbrella organization for some 140 European environmental organisations – reached an agreement after a long and difficult discussion on the role of CCS in combating climate change.

Much of the debate focused on questions about safety of storage, CCS leading to prolongation of use of fossil fuels, and other concerns surrounding the new and controversial technology.

“It was a tough, but very important debate. We are pleased with the outcome. This is an important step in the right direction as the EEB plays a key role in EU decision making,” said Bellona Europa’s Paal Frisvold.

Careful support
Frisvold said that EEB support was important in achieving wider acceptance CCS as a tool to limit the consequences of climate change.

Though he is pleased that the EEB has joined forces in the fight for wider development and application of CCS, Frisvold cautioned that the job of gaining public support for the new technology still lies ahead.

The EEB’s acceptance of CSS, he said “is and important breakthrough, but now we must move from acceptance and careful support from the umbrella organization to getting the grassroots movements in Europe to support CCS.”

Dialogue with the civil society is one of the four areas in which the EU will work to achieve full implementation of CCS. The three others are technology, policy framework and demonstration plants.

Within the European Zero Emissions Platform (ZEP) there is a task group that specifically focuses on dialogue with the civil society. Bellona’s Beate Kristiansen leads this group.

Scepticism
Several European environmental organizations still lack information about CCS and its potential of combating climate change.

“Norwegian environmentalists applying pressure about CCS not being implemented on the gas-fired Mongstad power plant from day one shows the support CCS has,” said Frisvold.

“We have a task ahead of us to show other European organizations that CCS is absolutely vital to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.”

Zero tolerance for carbon dioxide leakages
The EEB stressed in their policy paper that CCS allocations must not come at the expense of allocations to renewable energy sources. They are also concerned about storage safety and want strict security regulations for carbon dioxide storage facilities.

Frisvold noted that the EEB’s demands for CCS are the same as Bellona’s. He emphasised that CCS is a bridging technology towards a society based on a truly sustainable energy chain. For this reason, said Frisvold, the development of CCS must not obstruct the development of renewable energy.
“Storage safety is of course of key importance,” said Frisvold.

“There shall be no leakage – if monitoring and site selection is thoroughly executed, along with proper environmental impact assessments, potential leakage is minimal. Natural gas is being stored in large quantities today – an explosive gas which is tremendously much more aggressive greenhouse gas than CO2.”
As pointed out in the Strategic Overview on CSS by ZEP: “In storage sites that are well-sited, operated and monitored, leakages simply should not happen at any significant level. However, in the unlikely event that they do, sophisticated monitoring and remediation techniques, already well proven in the oil and gas industries, should be able to correct them immediately.”

For more information on CCS and ZEP activities– see www.zero-emissionsplatform

Ola Innset

ola@bellona.no