The Politics and Policy of Carbon Capture and Storage
Edited by James Meadowcroft and Oluf Langhelle
Chapter 9: CCS and the European Union: Magic Bullet or Pure Magic?
Dag Harald Claes and Paal Frisvold Europe’s energy situation is precarious. It remains highly dependent on imported fossil fuels and energy consumption continues to increase. Yet the European Union (EU) is committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 60–80 per cent by 2050. This conundrum represents a real threat to Europe’s economic and political viability. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) represents an opportunity to remedy this situation. Indeed it has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions in the EU by over 50 per cent by 2050 (Stangeland 2007). Introducing CCS could also alter the position of coal – turning it into the most abundant, reliable and inexpensive energy source in Europe. While undertaking huge efforts to increase production and consumption of renewable energy, CCS can be Europe’s bridge to a truly sustainable energy chain. In fact, Europe cannot meet its long-term greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets without deploying CCS. This was formally recognized by EU heads of state in March 2006. Three years later, the EU has adopted a comprehensive legal framework for the geological storage of CO2 and established two major funding schemes to support a demonstration programme of up to 12 large-scale CCS projects. It has not been an easy road – the path trodden by any new technology is always strewn with obstacles – and, in truth, the journey has just begun. This chapter explains the background to the EU’s climate and energy policies; and the twists and turns that finally led it to put its weight behind CCS as...
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