Lords EU Committee criticises progress on carbon capture project

20 October 2009

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.”

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