EU Billions to keep burning fossil fuels

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Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has been promoted by industry as the solution to tackling climate change. Why stop burning fossil fuels when instead you can capture the carbon dioxide and store it in a hole in the ground?

Defying objections on the grounds of cost, feasibility,the environment and in the face of public opposition , heavy industry has pushed for EU support for CCS. Shell, BP and others representing the industry persuaded UK Liberal MEP Chris Davies to work on their behalf – effectively securing billions of euros in EU subsidies to support the new technology.

Industry had already scored an initial success in 2005 when the European Commission was persuaded to set up an advisory body – the European Technology Platform for Zero Emission Fossil Fuel Power Plants, more commonly known as ZEP. This body, which is dominated by industry, was set up to advise the Commission on public research policies. It is partially funded by the Commission – but has become a vocal and effective industry lobbying vehicle for CCS.

It secured its first major tranche of funding in October 2009 when EU officials announced they would direct €1.05 billion from the EU economic recovery fund to support CCS demonstration projects.

But this was all peanuts compared to the funding industry then went on to obtain via the EU emissions trading scheme.

Key proponents of CCS, including Shell, BP and industry-funded NGOs, Bellona and E3G, succeeded in persuading the UK Liberal MEP Chris Davies to work on their behalf. When the Commission announced the Climate and Energy Package in January 2008, Davies became the rapporteur for the draft directive on CCS in the Parliament.

The industry lobby was supported by national governments championing their biggest multinationals (Britain’s BP and Shell for the Netherlands) and was immensely successful, securing funding for CCS from the third phase of the EU’s emissions trading scheme. This will come in the form of 300 million allowances from the scheme with a value of between 4–7 billion euro, depending on the price of carbon.

This article details the stages of the battle to secure that funding – and Davies’ key role in the fight. But industry is still not satisfied. ZEP is now appealing to the European Commission to provide support to help develop the infrastructure for CCS – a network of carbon dioxide pipelines across Europe. Read the full article here: CCS_lobby

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