• Expected new EU climate commissioner to give more consideration to carbon capture

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

The Financial Times has reported that the expected new European Union climate commissioner, Dutchman Wopke Hoekstra (a former Dutch foreign minister, employee of McKinsey, and Shell), has been given a brief to (further) explore carbon capture and storage as part of the EU’s climate strategy.

Mr Hoekstra is expected to take up the position in October and will oversee discussions on revising the EU’s 2040 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, which may see the EU adopt the recommendation of its scientific advisory board of a 90-95% reduction. Also for debate is modifying the 2030 target from the present aim of a 55% reduction to 57%. As there is reported to be fierce disagreement on this matter, one wonders why effort should be spent on it, given the relatively small difference in the targets and the relative closeness of the date, with efforts probably better spent to meet the existing target.

On carbon capture and climate, the European Commission is due to publish a road map on its use in heavy industry before the end of the year, and at the heart of the issue seems to be whether it should be considered a ‘last resort’ in difficult-to-abate sectors or simply considered one amongst several decarbonisation options. The EU must also decide what exactly to push for in terms of carbon capture and storage at the COP28 climate talks in Doha starting in November this year. What “unabated” would really mean in terms of the use of fossil fuels must be defined – would 25 or 50% abatement be “abated”, or would it need to be 90% or 95%, for example? And how would such projects be verified, or halted if they were not performing, or did not in practice include their carbon capture components?

Mr Hoekstra’s new role is sure to be a challenging one.