Industrial carbon capture: Only for truly ‘unavoidable emissions’

(EurActiv, 21 Sep 2023) Upcoming EU legislation should limit industrial carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to truly unavoidable emissions, write Leon de Graaf, Dominika Floriánová, Antoine Grall and Ella Oksala.

The authors of this article all work in the climate practice of #SustainablePublicAffairs, a Brussels-based public affairs agency. 

Wopke Hoekstra, the Dutch nominee to replace Frans Timmermans as EU climate commissioner, is due to take over key remaining parts of his predecessor’s portfolio.

These include steering the EU’s position during international climate negotiations at COP28, overseeing the EU’s 2040 emission reduction target, and the so-called Industrial Carbon Management Strategy that includes a carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) roadmap for heavy industries.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) features as one of the eight technologies on the shortlist of the European Commission’s proposal on the Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA), which is the EU’s effort to participate in the global race for attracting investments in net-zero technologies against the US Inflation Reduction Act and Chinese subsidies.

The issue is that CCS features in the Commission’s NZIA proposal without clearly specifying what it should target. This creates a risk that CCS might be used for too many purposes. This wouldn’t make sense because industrial CCS is a relatively expensive technology that has not yet been proven at scale.

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EurActiv, 21 Sep 2023: Industrial carbon capture: Only for truly ‘unavoidable emissions’