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Royal Society: Capturing an opportunity or storing up trouble? CCS in the UK and Europe

The EU's energy policy sets out ambitious energy and climate change objectives, including a compulsory 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and a 'decarbonised' energy supply in the longer term.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) forms an important component of the EU's strategy to meet these targets. In a new report from the European Academies Science Advisory Council, experts from across Europe evaluate the potential and the challenges of CCS development in Europe. They find that at present the economics of CCS are not viable and strong policy actions are needed urgently if the key next steps are to be realised, in particular CCS demonstration plants and the first generation of commercial facilities.

The EASAC CCS report was launched in Brussels on 22 May, and a follow up discussion event, focusing on the challenges of CCS deployment in the UK, was held at the Royal Society on 12 June. A key conclusion of the report is that for CCS to make a significant contribution in Europe to climate change mitigation, technologies, capacity and infrastructure need to be developed steadily and with greater urgency than currently prevails. CCS is not a tap that can simply be turned on, if and when suitable financial conditions emerge, or if future policy makers decide that CCS is a crucial component of Europe's energy strategy.

The report considers the three main components of CCS - capture, transport and storage.  It also presents an evaluation of alternatives to mainstream CCS technologies and reviews the important overarching issue of public engagement.

Drawing these strands together the report evaluates the prospects for CCS in Europe up to 2050, and makes recommendations on the policy initiatives considered necessary to enable CCS to contribute appropriately in Europe to climate change mitigation. The financial viability of CCS, storage issues, CCS technology development, CO2 transport and public engagement are evaluated and discussed.

The report can be downloaded here.

Link to the website of the Royal Society.

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