UK Liberal MEP Chris Davies wants all existing fossil fuel power plants to be retrofitted with CO2 capture and storage technology by 2025, and is calling for a moratorium on new plant constructions after 2015 unless the facilities are able to prevent 90% of their CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere.
Davies is Parliament’s rapporteur on a Commission proposal for a directive to establish a legal framework for the storage of CO2 in underground geological formations. He intends to introduce amendments to the directive that would make a 2015 moratorium and 2025 deadline for CCS retrofitting legally binding.
The MEP announced his plans during a 6 May press conference in Brussels.
“The development of [carbon capture and storage – CCS] must be brought forward and there is no time to lose. The world’s demand for electricity requires the use of coal but to allow the construction of hundreds more dirty power plants undermines all other strategies to reduce emissions,” he said in a statement.
With coal set to remain a central part of the EU’s energy mix, Brussels is betting on CCS technologies as part of wider EU efforts to tackle climate change and to reduce the bloc’s CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020.
But CCS technology is controversial and highly expensive. EU public authorities have yet to offer firm spending commitments in support of ministerial pledges made in March 2007 to have 12 CCS demonstration projects up and running by 2015.
Davies says member states need to show greater political will, and is calling on the incoming French EU Presidency to push to issue to the top of the EU’s agenda.
“What I think should be the minimum is for the French to get this issue sorted. By the end of the French EU Presidency we should know which member states are going to take lead responsibility for ensuring that they are built,” he told EURACTIV in an interview.