Carbon capture and storage technology- not the solution to Europe’s fossil fuel addiction

Members of the European Parliament today voted with a clear majority to support a controversial  own-initiative report on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS), is an uncertain, expensive, energy intensive technology which aims to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fuel combustion, transport it to a storage site and deposit it underground.

In the power sector there are several viable alternatives to fossil fuels, and deep emission reductions should be made through significant energy efficiency measures, a reduction in overall energy consumption, and a high share of renewables. CCS, while masquerading as a solution to tackling carbon emissions, is in reality used to justify 'business as usual', an excuse to continue building coal-fired power plants, and does little to combat our world’s fossil fuel addiction.

The report, from UK Liberal Chris Davies, is very problematic for the Greens, namely as it calls for CCS targets in the 2030 climate and energy policy framework. Greens on the other hand have consistently called for three ambitious binding targets on energy efficiency, renewable energies and greenhouse gas emissions reductions, a position only last week supported by a majority of MEPs at committee level.

The report also disingenuously states that the public is supportive of CCS, is concerned that the liabilities for CCS developers are excessive and calls for revision of the carbon leakage provisions of the CCS directive in relation to ETS allowances.

Such a positive report on CCS diverts attention away from 'no-regrets' options for tackling climate change, at a crucial time in the debate, and the Greens have submitted amendments which state that no public support should go to CCS in the power sector, and to amend the provisions to limit CCS to industrial sectors, where the technology may have a role to play if it is first proved effective. Instead Greens have always pushed for more investments to be made in energy savings and renewable energy sources, not in an uncertain technology which ultimately perpetuates a fossil-fuel based economy.

Unfortunately these amendments were rejected by the pro-CCS Parliament...