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EU pushes forward climate action in Europe with Industrial Carbon Management Strategy

February 6, 2024 Work Area: Carbon Capture

Brussels — Clean Air Task Force (CATF) welcomes the European Commission’s Industrial Carbon Management Strategy (ICMS) to enable the development and scale-up of carbon capture, removal, use, and storage technologies across the European Union. 

“The Industrial Carbon Management Strategy is a huge step forward for EU climate action,” said Eadbhard Pernot, Policy Manager, Carbon Capture. “Getting Europe to climate neutrality will require a massive scale up of carbon capture, and this strategy sets the course to deliver it.” 

The Industrial Carbon Management Strategy lays out an ambitious plan for scaling up CO2 capture, utilisation, and storage in line with Commission’s assessment of the EU’s 2040 climate target – also released today. To stay on track for climate neutrality, the Strategy targets an annual CO2 injection capacity of at least 250 million tonnes per year in the European Economic Area by 2040. A key measure to accelerate the deployment of this capacity is the establishment of an investment atlas of potential CO2 storage sites, with Member States encouraged to contribute and acquire data. This could support Member States in identifying suitable storage areas and speed up the process. 

The development of storage sites in Europe thus far has been largely confined to the North Sea, making the development of storage sites in other regions an important priority for EU policymakers. As CATF’s carbon capture and storage cost tool highlights, developing new storage sites will be critical to ensuring the costs of carbon capture and storage are reduced, and that a level playing field is established for decarbonising industries across the EU. The Strategy calls on Member States to put in place transparent permitting processes and support net-zero strategic projects for carbon capture and storage, which should help redress the current imbalance. 

The Strategy also recognises the need for an extensive cross-border transport network to provide capture projects with open and competitive access to a wider range of CO2 sinks. To help realise this network, the Commission will start preparatory work in view of a proposal for a possible future CO2 transport regulatory package, establish minimum standards for CO2 specifications, and proposes setting up an EU-wide CO2 transport infrastructure planning mechanism. 

Supporting analysis from the Joint Research Centre estimates this network could come at a cost of around 16 billion euros by 2040. The announced creation of an Important Project of common European Interest (IPCEI) for CO2 infrastructure and plans to engage with the European Investment Bank is targeted at bridging this funding gap – but additional measures to drive investment will clearly be needed. The Strategy envisages a significant role for Member State funding for deployment, and suggests national budgets to their projects could be directed through a dedicated EU-wide auction under the Innovation Fund. 

“The necessary build out of a trans-European network for CO2 will be a major undertaking, facing several technical, regulatory, and economic hurdles, said Toby Lockwood, Technology and Markets Director, Carbon Capture. “This Strategy should catalyse more coordinated action and funding from the EU and Member States that will be needed to overcome these challenges within a rapidly diminishing window of time”.  

The Strategy also commits to establishing a dedicated voluntary demand assessment and demand aggregation platform for CO2 transport or storage services, called for by CATF in its Recommendations for the EU Industrial Carbon Management Strategy. This will provide project developers along the carbon management value chain with better visibility on supply and demand for captured CO2, helping project planning and investment. 

The Communication is clear on the speed at which carbon management must be scaled in coming decades but, with strong commitments lacking for several of the proposed actions, there is a risk that work may not be carried out in the necessary timeframe to deliver on the EU’s climate goals. 

“While the Strategy is an important first step, the work to get carbon capture and storage going in Europe is just beginning, said Alessia Virone, EU Government Affairs Director. “The next Commission will need to keep carbon management high on the industrial decarbonisation agenda, and to focus on developing a regulatory framework for CO2 infrastructure to ensure investment flows into the sector.”  

The Strategy is the result of over three years of work by the Commission, informed by stakeholder inputs and the CCUS Forum. It will be up to the next Commission to maintain this much-needed focus on carbon management and make sure the Strategy delivers on its objectives. 

Presse Kontakt

Julia Kislitsyna, Communications Manager – Europe, +49 151 16 220 453, [email protected]

Über Clean Air Task Force 

Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a global nonprofit organization working to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. With more than 25 years of internationally recognized expertise on climate policy and a fierce commitment to exploring all potential solutions, CATF is a pragmatic, non-ideological advocacy group with the bold ideas needed to address climate change. CATF has offices in Boston, Washington D.C., and Brussels, with staff working virtually around the world. Visit catf.us and follow @cleanaircatf. 

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