Industrial Carbon Management Strategy: now we need robust and clear regulation to transform it into reality
Brussels, 6 February 2024 – The European Commission has released today the much-anticipated Industrial Carbon Management Strategy. ESWET – The European Suppliers of Waste-to-Energy Technology wholeheartedly welcomes this initiative, as it addresses critical aspects of CO2 emissions capture, storage, and utilisation, vital for achieving the EU climate targets.
To transform this strategy into reality well-designed regulatory frameworks are crucial. As Charoula Melliou, Head of Policy at ESWET, emphasises: “CCUS technologies are already there and are ready to serve the EU cause, however, to do that, the frameworks that regulate their development and deployment must be comprehensive and well-designed”.
ESWET is pleased to see that the topics of geological storage exploration and CO2 transport infrastructure development have been considered thoroughly in the strategy, but still a strong investment and financial policy to support both transport and storage of CO2 is essential. The EU should also ensure a balanced distribution of carbon storage projects across regions to facilitate equal contributions to its goals.
Regarding carbon removals, a field where the WtE sector has significant potential thanks to its more-than-50% biogenic emissions allowing for BECCS, the topic requires more consideration in the execution of this strategy. The EU legislation must incentivise industrial carbon removals very concretely, with clear objectives and support mechanisms.
As for CCU, the strategy offers a good starting point as to how the EU intends to support the utilisation of carbon, both in its production and in its consumption in industrial sectors. ESWET deems that clear objectives and targets in relevant legislation, as well as precise accounting rules are crucial to enable a higher uptake of sustainable carbon, substituting fossil carbon. A technology-neutral approach is required here.
ESWET appreciates the inclusion of various policy strands in the strategy, creating a favourable environment for industrial carbon management approaches. “Yet, hard-to-abate sectors, including Waste-to-Energy, should be carefully taken into account, and more is expected from the EU on this matter”, Charoula Melliou, Head of Policy at ESWET, highlighted.
Regarding specific legislative matters, ESWET urges the inclusion of CCU alongside CCS in the upcoming Net Zero Industry Act and stresses the importance of the Carbon Removal Certification Framework to counterbalance residual emissions from hard-to-abate sectors, while evaluating all available options and being technology-specific. Finally, ESWET supports the potential integration of industrial carbon removals into the EU ETS accompanied by tailored certification methodologies and an intermediary body handling carbon removal certificates.