The EU will fail to meet its net-zero emissions ambition unless it acts with urgency to accelerate and scale up deployment of carbon capture and storage technology, according to a new coalition of industrial companies, business associations and NGOs launched on 25 April.
Chris Davies, director of Carbon Capture & Storage Europe (CCS Europe), said: “The failure to promote widespread CCS deployment exposes a gaping hole in Europe’s climate strategy.”
CCS Europe brings together industry and environmental campaigners who insist the technology is essential to curb CO₂ emissions from industrial sources and to reduce the concentration already within the atmosphere.
CO₂ emissions from heavy industry and hard-to-abate sectors account for close to a quarter of the EU’s total, and a significant proportion of these cannot be avoided and must instead be captured and stored.
Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President, said in March that to become climate neutral, the EU needs “to industrially store around 300m tonnes of CO₂ annually by 2050”, calling it a “staggering amount”.
This view is shared by Davies, who said “it may be an underestimate of the requirement”.
“To meet the target suggested by the Commission President, the EU will have to start building a plant capable of capturing 400,000 tonnes every 12 days for the next 25 years. The emissions have to be curbed."
In March, the Commission proposed as part of the Net Zero Industry Act that 50 million tonnes of CO₂ storage capacity should be made available by 2030.
No EU countries are currently capturing and storing CO₂, although Norway has been permanently storing more than one million tonnes of CO₂ annually since 1996.
CCS Europe argues that most EU member states will need to adopt ambitious deployment strategies and financial support mechanisms to promote CCS.
The majority of EU member states have yet to explain how emission reductions on the scale necessary for industrial sector will be achieved, CCS Europe argues.
Member states also need to adopt strategies to support CCS deployment and to plan for the transport of CO₂, the group says.
CCS is already more advanced in the US than anywhere else in the world where wide-ranging measures have been introduced to accelerate CCS deployment.
Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands are regarded as the EU leaders in giving CCS a prominent place in national climate policies.
Chris Davies commented: “The requirement in the proposed Net-Zero Industry Act to provide 50m tonnes of CO₂ permanent storage capacity by 2030 is very welcome, but the majority of Member States have yet to develop the necessary strategies to encourage CCS investment. We need the Commission to speak up forcefully and provide leadership.”
"Global emissions must be reduced to safeguard our future, and CCS technology will have an essential role to play. Europe needs to be at the forefront of this development and to set the pace in creating a low-emissions industrial base."
* CCS Europe will be officially launched on 25 April with an event in the European Parliament.
** CCS Europe’s members include: Aker Carbon Capture, Baker Hughes, Bellona, Clean Air Task Force, the Confederation of European Waste-to-Energy Plants (CEWEP), CO₂ management, Danish Shipping, Dow, the European Lime Association (EuLA), General Electric (GE), and Novozymes.
 According to the IEA, industry represents 23% of CO₂ emissions globally. According to Eurostat, manufacturing represents 23% of EU emissions.