European politicians gather in Strasbourg to discuss industry CCS

EU-Flag-cc-EU-Parliament-2013-1. Creative Commons: European Parliament, 2013

British Labour MEP Theresa Griffin opened the meeting by outlining a concrete goal: that CCS could account for 4% of Europe’s greenhouse gas emission reductions in the year 2030 – if we get going now. As calculated by the Commission’s technology platform for CCS, the Zero Emissions Platform (ZEP), this 4% represents some 222 Mt of CO2. The contribution that can be made by industry to reduce Europe’s emissions is thereby clear.

The presentations from both the Teesside Collective (UK) and ROAD (Netherlands) focussed on the need to ensure funding mechanisms for CCS, pointing out that the UK is leading in Europe in CCS deployment thanks to a number of measures including a CO2 floor price and Contracts for Difference (CfD).

On the point of financing, Green MEP Claude Turmes turned the discussion to the CO2 price. Turmes noted the calls for a strenghtened European Emissions Trading System (ETS), but also pointed out that it was industrial sectors themselves who negotiated all the loopholes to the ETS which are now contributing to a carbon price too low to incentivise, or provide income through the NER scheme, to drive CCS.

CCS event_ Griffin _ Kirton-Darling

Leading CCS MEPs Theresa Griffin and Jude Kirton-Darling opened and moderated the event in Strasbourg

While Bellona is positive on the process of reforming the ETS, details of which are currently being negotiated, there is also concern that the reforms do not go far enough nor soon enough. But the prospect of the Innovation and Modernisation Funds, especially if they can be combined, to fund CCS projects and infrastructure is welcome. Bellona addresses this opportunity in its response to the ETS Directive consultation.

Visibility of the challenges of the low CO2 price and related CCS funding mechanisms was one issue CCS proponents raised for policy makers to tackle. Another was the role of Member States or regions in driving CCS. The recently released heavy industry decarbonisation roadmaps by the UK were brought up as an example of how national governments could help signal the way forward for industry. But equally and perhaps more important will be the engagement of regional initiatives on CCS, as represented by the Teesside Collective and in Rotterdam with ROAD, but also as seen in Antwerp, Grangemouth and Norway.

British Labour MEP Jude Kirton-Darling concluded the event by remarking on the big decisions that lie ahead of European policy makers – energy union, energy security, 2030 and COP 21 in Paris – welcoming proposals and amendments to ensure CCS is part of this picture. Because, as she noted, CCS lies somewhere in that «black box» of solutions we need to square climate action with industry and growth.