Legal and regulatory frameworks for CO2 storage should be fast-tracked to spur demonstration

“There is an urgent need for governments to develop streamlined regulatory approaches to speed implementation of CO2 storage projects,” said Claude Mandil, Executive Director of the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), today in Oslo at the launch of a new publication: Legal Aspects of CO2 Storage: Update and Recommendations.

Due to their abundance and low cost, coal and other fossil fuels are expected to continue to play a key role in providing energy in the future. Therefore, carbon capture and storage (CCS) represents one of the most promising potential tools in mitigating fossil-related greenhouse gas emissions. However, to date, there has not been sufficient demonstration of CCS, keeping some issues still unsolved and leading to a lack of public confidence in this technology as a viable climate change solution. Meanwhile, several new major CCS projects have been recently announced and require clear guidance on key issues like licensing, monitoring and verification requirements and long-term liability.

“There are a variety of regulatory strategies that governments can use to accelerate project approval for CCS demonstration projects today; these projects will in turn provide important data on CO2 retention to guide the development of longer-term, comprehensive regulations that protect the public health and the environment,” said Mr. Mandil. The new IEA publication is the second in a series. It includes up-to-date case studies and examples from national governments to guide the development of laws and regulations for CO2 storage. The publication includes topics such as: long-term liability and financial responsibility; participation of CCS in emissions trading schemes; property rights, including access rights and intellectual property issues; and public consultation and acceptance.

There have also been significant new legal developments in the international marine environment protection arena by bodies such as the London Protocol, which recently announced an amendment that allows offshore CO2 storage for the first time. “The London Protocol is to be commended for its leadership in expediting the amendment allowing CO2 storage and serves as a model for other regional marine environment treaties,” said Mr. Mandil.

This new publication, produced through the collaboration of IEA and the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF), outlines models and options for governments and industry looking to develop legal and regulatory frameworks for CO2 storage and helps advance this critically needed technology.