Chris Davies attends the Clean Transition Dialogue


Representatives from 27 European companies and business associations met at the Berlaymont on Thursday, 22 February, for the European Commission's Clean Transition Dialogue - a five hours opportunity to express their concerns and propose ways forward to Vice-President Maros Sefcovic and the Director-Generals of DG CLIMA, DG ENER and DG GROW.

CCS Europe director, Chris Davies, welcomed the Commission's Industrial Carbon Management Communication and its unequivocal declaration that carbon capture was essential to curb emissions from hard-to-abate industrial sectors like lime, cement, steel, chemicals, aluminium and waste-to-energy, as well as to reduce CO2 levels already in the atmosphere.

But he pointed out that 16 years after the Commission tabled the CO2 Storage Directive no CO2 is yet being stored on a commercial basis in the Union, and the increased scale in ambition required was hardly appreciated.  The first Final Investment Decision for a full-chain CCS project was taken only last May, with Denmark's Kalundborg Hub expected to capture 430,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.  Yet to meet the Commission's target of 280m tonnes of annual CO2 capture by 2040 more than 500 similar projects will be needed, or one of every 11 or 12 days.

The Commission should introduce measures to define and reward producers of negative emissions, and should introduce legislation to require many products to have a zero carbon content.  Both measures would stimulate investment, he said.

However, Chris Davies said that, while it was EU Member States not the Commission that would drive CCS deployment, the Communication admitted that most still had not recognised CCS as "legitimate or necessary".  He called for the Commission to provide leadership and engage with Ministers to stress the importance of the technology. Pressure on the Commission for measures to facilitate CCS deployment needed to be coming from national governments not from Brussels.

He suggested that a proposal in the Communication to appoint 'coordinators' to liaise with Member States to take CCS forward was one that should be carried through urgently. 

Responding in part, Ditte-Juul Joergensen, DG of DG ENER, informed the meeting that heads of all sections in DG CLIMA and DG ENER will be meeting next week to consider how to convince Member States to comply fully with the need to prepare National Energy and Climate Plans.  Kurt Vandenberghe, DG of DG CLIMA, added that Member States needed to start thinking of the NECPs less as an exercise in compliance with legislation and more as the basis for future investment plans.