House of Lords Press Release
Embargo: Immediate Tuesday 20 October 2009
Contact: Owen Williams 020 7219 8659
LORDS EU COMMITTEE CRITICISE GOVERNMENT AND EUROPEAN COMMISSION'S SLOW PROGRESS ON CARBON CAPTURE AND STORAGE PROJECT
The House of Lords European Union Foreign Affairs sub-committee has strongly criticised the pace of progress of a vital EU China climate change project. It concerns an agreement to jointly build a carbon capture and storage coal fired power station in China - the EU/China Near Zero Emissions Coal Plant Project. Agreed in 2005, the project has yet to complete its first phase of considering options, and there is no agreement on finance to take the project forward.
The Committee have analysed a European Commission Communication on the project as part of their scrutiny of the European Union and are surprised and disappointed there has been so little progress. Lord Roper, Chairman of the Lords EU Select Committee has written to Department of Energy and Climate Change Minister Lord Hunt of Kings Heath to urge the Government to act to ensure this vital project gets back on track.
Lord Teverson, Chairman of the Lord's Foreign Affairs EU Sub-Committee stated
"As we approach Copenhagen in December, everybody is clear that climate change is a top priority for both Europe and the UK. And everybody is aware that a top issue is China's rapid expansion of coal fired power stations together with all the carbon they spew into the atmosphere.
"What better area for the EU and China to work together on than to save the planet? Yet a key EU/China programme to test out carbon capture and storage is proceeding at a snail's pace. We are very critical of how this vital project is being handled. With an initial agreement made by China and the EU in 2005, we have still not completed phase 1, and that is no more than an exploring the options phase. There are also real doubts over whether there will be sufficient finance available to ever complete the project.
"If we cannot make greater progress than this over four years - during which time China has built massive additional coal power capacity, then there is little hope in slowing down China's emissions. China is building some 500 Megawatts of additional coal power capacity every two and a half days and the need for urgent action is paramount.
"The UK Government often trumpet their record in working with developing economies to tackle climate change, and along with the European Commission they must now treat this project with the urgency it deserves. It is one of the projects that must work, and happen quickly if we are to turn climate change rhetoric into effective action.
"Lord Roper, Chairman of the Lords EU Select Committee, will be writing to the Government on behalf of the Committee asking them make getting this crucial project back on track an urgent priority."
Notes to Editors
- The House of Lords European Union Committee undertake regular scrutiny of documents and proposals from the European Commission and the explanatory notes on them produced by the UK Government. The Committee examines these documents, and 'holds under scrutiny' any about which it has concerns, entering into correspondence with the relevant Minister until satisfied. Under the 'scrutiny reserve resolution', the Government may not agree in the EU Council of Ministers to any proposal still held under scrutiny.
In this case the Lords EU Sub-Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Development policy have chosen to take up with the Government the slow progress made on the EU/China Near Zero Emissions Coal Plant Project.
- The Select Committee, which is Chaired by Lord Roper, has seven Sub-Committees including Sub-Committee C on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Development Policy which is Chaired by Lord Teverson.
- Lord Roper, Chairman of the European Union Select Committee wrote to Lord Hunt on 19 October 2009, the full letter is available on the Lords EU Committee website here:
For more information, or to request an interview with Lord Teverson, please contact Owen Williams, Head of Press and Media, House of Lords, on 020 7219 8659.