European Commission president eager for carbon capture and storage

European Commission

Publish date: January 22, 2008

Written by: Anne Karin Sæther

Translated by: Charles Digges

In a departure from his earlier sceptical view of carbon capture and storage (CCS), European Commission President José Manuel Durão Barroso is now calling for all new factories built to include CSS technology.

Speaking in London Tuesday, Barroso said that capture and sequestration of CO2 (CCS) will be an important component in the battle against climate change, which will demand significant investment in such technology.

“We need to make CCS the norm for new power plants, and to set up 12 demonstration plants by 2015”, he said.

New stance for the president

Barroso’s comments mark the first time that he has been so concrete in his support for CSS technology, said Bellona Europa’s Paal Frisvold.

Barroso had long favoured other technologies, but in Tuesday’s speech he noted that fossil fuels will be a key source of energy for decades to come. The use of fossil fuels without any CCS will risks ballooning global emissions by mid century.

“Earlier, he had listened to those who alleged that the technology for CCS was not sufficiently ripe, and that commercialising was a long way off, which is not quite correct,” said Frisvold.

An important signal
Tomorrow, on January 23, the European Commission will present its new energy and climate package, which will put weight on CCS. Bellona’s Frisvold indicated that it is of great significance that the Commission’s president so clearly emphasises this approach.

“It is a very important signal that Barroso says so clearly that CSS should be the norm for new factories. In his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize, Al Gore said that no new coal fired plants should be built without CSS technology. But that Barroso would say this in the middle of the EU’s tug of war about means of action for introducing this technology means a lot,” said Frisvold.

Concrete results

Frisvold thinks that Barroso’s comments will lead to concrete results in discussions in the EU’s decision-making bodies over the next year and a half.

“The energy and climate package the Commission is coming out with tomorrow contains suggestions that don’t go as far but will be discussed in the European Council and the European Parliament,” Frisvold said.

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