Commission should appoint carbon capture 'czar'

Brussels, 15 May 2024 --

Appointment by the Commission of a carbon capture envoy or ‘czar’ will help secure the needed acceleration in the technology’s deployment, says advocacy body CCS Europe.

A target to capture 280 million tonnes of CO2 annually by 2040 was proposed in the Commission’s recent Communication on Industrial Carbon Management.

But with projects currently under construction set to deliver less than 2 per cent of this figure, and with most EU Member States still lacking a deployment strategy, the gap between ambition and reality remains huge.

Chris Davies, Director of CCS Europe, says meeting the target will need exceptional engagement with EU governments to identify and address concerns.

“Political leadership from the Commission is required and an appointed representative with expert knowledge could provide the commitment that no Commissioner will have the time to offer.”

Commenting on the need for action at Member State level, Mark Preston Aragonès, Senior Policy Manager, Bellona and Vice-Chair of CCS Europe, said: “Alongside a suite of interventions to massively reduce the generation of CO2 in the first place, carbon capture and storage will necessarily have to play a role if we are to decarbonise Europe's industry. The Commission has recognised this, attributing an immense role to CCS in the recent Communication on Industrial Carbon Management.”

He went on to say: “We're urging the Member States pick up their part of the bargain and urging all stakeholders, especially civil society, labour unions, and local communities, to shape the rules for its deployment, to ensure it actually materialises, that it meets the highest environmental and social integrity, and that it genuinely provides a pathway towards a climate neutral Europe, while supporting a just transition.”

The proposal for a CCS envoy is made in an 'Action Plan for Carbon Capture', proposed by CCS Europe.

It argues that the technology is needed to curb emissions from hard-to-abate industrial sources and to reduce the concentration of CO2 already in the atmosphere.

Other proposals include a requirement for products to include a proportion of low-carbon content that will increase with time, certification and reward for negative emissions, and formation of an industrial alliance to advise the Commission on policy development.

Download the full Action Plan for Carbon Capture.