• Legal international trade in CO2 moves a step closer

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Legal roadblocks to the export of CO2 to other countries for sub-sea storage are an important step closer to being dismantled following an agreement between the parties on the London Protocol earlier this month. The Protocol was adopted in 1996 and is one of the key international agreements protecting marine environments, preventing the dumping of wastes at sea and the trading of such wastes across international boundaries. Carbon dioxide fell under the Protocol as a waste product, and thus schemes such as Norway’s proposed Northern Lights project, which would store CO2 imported from other European countries, were unworkable amongst parties to the Protocol. This was recognised as a problem as early as 2009, when an amendment to the Protocol was adopted; however, the amendment has not yet been ratified. To get around this, a resolution was adopted during a convention of the parties between 7-11 October this year that would allow “provisional application” of the amendment. This revision must still gain “sufficient acceptance” by contracting parties to the protocol, then a declaration must be deposited to the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization. There is no indication at present that there should be any problem in carrying out these latter actions, meaning that the Northern Lights should be able to proceed within international law.