This week in Europe… 3-6 December

Europe fails on carbon storage and capture

Battersea Power StationHopes of Europe becoming a world leader in the development of a key technology to combat global warming have been dashed, and more than €1.5 billion of EU funding available to support carbon capture & storage (CCS) projects will now be diverted to new renewable energy schemes. The announcement today that steelmakers ArcelorMittal will not proceed with their Ulcos project in France means that not one single new CCS scheme is set to proceed.

Europe’s Prime Ministers declared in 2007 that they wanted to see up to 12 CCS demonstration projects in operation by 2015. The technology removes CO2 from fossil fuel power stations and industrial plants for permanent injection into rocks deep underground. The UK’s Coalition Government is committed to proceed with four CCS projects, but all require subsidy and the Treasury has preferred to turn down the offer of EU support rather than make a financial commitment itself. Governments in the Netherlands, Romania and Poland have also failed to provide the additional money necessary.

British Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies was responsible for introducing the EU’s special funding mechanism for CCS, and expressed bitter disappointment.

This is a huge blow to efforts to combat climate change. Most studies suggest that CCS is needed to prevent more than 20% of global warming emissions escaping into the atmosphere, but the technology must be developed to bring down costs.

Today’s news marks a major failure by Europe to step up to the mark. We talk big about the need for action yet fail to deliver.

Daily Express makes up anti-Europe stories (hard to believe, I know)

One of the joys of the Leveson Report is the exposure of what one might call dubious editorial practices. here was one of the gems from the questioning of Hugh Whittow, editor of the Daily Express, by Robert Jay;

Q. Can I look more seriously at: “75 per cent say quit the EU now.”

A. Yes.

Q. It’s fair to say that that 22 October 2011 headline –

A. Yes.

Q. — the YouGov poll in fact showed 28 per cent of people did support quitting the EU –

A. Yes.

Q. — and 47 per cent supporting renegotiating the terms.

A. Yes.

Q. You’ve abrogated the two to get to 75 per cent, which is misleading, isn’t it?

A. Well, what you say, it’s misleading, obviously I can’t read the copy, but I’m sure that in the body of the copy it’s explained.

Q. That may well be right, and let’s assume it is, and we can’t read the body of the copy, but the question relates to the headline –

A. I have to –

Q. — that the headline –

A. — accept what you say. Yes, that is right.

Q. Is it another example of two things: one, a misleading headline; do you accept that?

A. I accept that from what you say, yes, but I would like to…

* Mark Valladares is today’s day editor. He rather likes Europe…

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  • Sadly the UK Government has let Yorkshire down (again) by not putting up the cash for the Hatfield project even though the Commisson deemed it the best CCS project in the EU. I am not saying this decison has a direct causal relationship with the disaster (for the Liberal Democrats) that was the Rotherham by-election but to voters in Yorkshire it is further evidence that the Government has no interest in the region.

  • Lorna Dupre 7th Dec '12 - 3:01pm

    Re-read that Daily Express story twice before I twigged that the reason it wasn’t making sense was that ‘abrogated’ should read ‘aggregated’ :-)

  • jenny barnes 7th Dec '12 - 4:05pm

    I doubt the power station pictured is putting out much CO2. CCS is a fairy tale technology. It uses around 25% of the power generated to separate and liquefy the CO2 from the exhaust stream ( thus increasing the coal burnt by a third for the same output) and the resulting liquid has to be stored for several thousand years, ideally permanently, or all that energy is wasted, as the CO2 gets out anyway. In this respect it’s worse than nuclear waste – there’s more of it and it has to be stored probably an orderof magnitude longer. 10,000 years would do.

    The only reason for CCS is so fossil fuel generators can pretend that they’ll be ok to carry on burning.

    So I’m really pleased we’re not wasting money on tech. that has never looked either likely to work or a good idea if it did, and spending it on renewables that probably will. I like concentrated solar in North African deserts, personally.

  • Richard Dean 7th Dec '12 - 10:27pm

    I too agree with Jenny. And has anyone doen a hazard analysis of the various proposals? Putting high pressure CO2 into the earth is like putting a bomb there! And if that bomb explodes or even just escapes quick, people and animals in the area might die of suffocation. Like Pompeii.

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