EU reaffirms CCS crucial to achieving climate targets

EU reaffirms CCS crucial to achieving climate targets

The European Parliament Committee on Industry (ITRE) has adopted a position on the Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA), further endorsing the emerging consensus on the vital role of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in achieving Europe’s climate targets.

Courtesy of the European Commission / Photo by Mauro Bottaro

The position adopted by ITRE is said to strengthen the breakthrough measures on CCS from the European Commission proposal.

ITRE has included four key measures for CCS deployment in Europe, including an EU CO2 storage target which preserves the EC’s proposal to have a target of 50Mt of CO2 in annual injection capacity by 2030, but go further by requiring targets for 2035, 2040, and 2050 and by promoting geographical spread of storage sites across the EU.

This target is said to be key to ensuring that sufficient storage will be available on time and that the EU develops its own storage capacity. The Parliament also ensured better monitoring of the progress achieved towards the target.

The ITRE Committee put the obligation of this target on oil and gas sellers, as the oil and gas sectors have the technology and resources to put CO2 back in the ground permanently and add the possibility of penalties.

Furthermore, a major step taken by the Parliament is the expansion of the NZIA scope to CO2 transport, ensuring that the CO2 infrastructure projects necessary for the transport of captured CO2 to storage sites are covered. The Parliament tasked the EU and Member States to ensure the needed investments in CO2 transport infrastructure, including cross-border infrastructure, are being made.  

The Parliament also added measures on fair and open access to CO2 storage and gave the EC two years to provide a regulatory framework for an EU CO2 market.

“We got two important additions to the NZIA proposal today. The first is the expansion of the scope to CO2 transport and the measures to ensure the transport infrastructure will be developed on time. The second is that the Parliament aims to ensure open and fair access, transparent pricing, and competitive CO2 markets,” said Alessia Virone, Government Affairs Director, Europe.

“The Parliament is also pushing the Commission to draft an additional legislative proposal to regulate CO2 markets, and prevent potential monopolies in the early stages of carbon capture and storage deployment”.

On 16 March, EC President Ursula von der Leyen announced the proposal of the NZIA which aims to strengthen the resilience and competitiveness of net-zero technologies manufacturing in the EU.

These positions follow on from the broader embrace of CCS technology by the EU in recent years, with Von der Leyen promising a CCS strategy by the end of her term.

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According to the Clean Air Task Force (CATF), the NZIA was proposed at a crucial time for climate and energy policy in Europe as the EU is not on track to hit 2030 emissions reduction targets and, it is a long way behind on building the clean energy infrastructure needed to decarbonize the entire economy.  

CATS notes that the Council still needs to reach its general approach, but the EU institutions are all committed to finishing the negotiations on the NZIA during this legislative term.

“The challenge facing Europe is fundamentally about unlocking the requisite funding, regulatory landscape and large-scale deployment to deliver on climate ambition,” said Lee Beck, Clean Air Task Force’s Senior Director, Europe and Middle East. “Europe needs an options-based strategy to achieve climate neutrality while achieving long-term energy security and economic growth. A well-designed Net-Zero Industry Act can be a conduit for this in many ways.” 

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