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Offshore Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage

An International Environmental Law Perspective

Friederike Marie Lehmann

The technology of offshore carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) is likely to be deployed on a commercial scale soon. CCS technology could be used to limit global temperature rise to less than 2°C above the pre-industrial level. However, such projects entail many environmental risks, and their effectiveness for the mitigation of climate change is disputed. This book tries to clarify open legal questions regarding European offshore CCS projects in the context of international and regional maritime and climate protection law as well as relevant European legislation. Taking the remaining scientific uncertainty into account, this book concludes that the permission and encouragement of offshore CCS projects is highly problematic from an international environmental law perspective.

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List of Abbreviations .................................................................................... XVII § 1 Introduction ............................................................................................. 1 A. Aim of this Thesis ..................................................................................... 2 B. Area of Examination ................................................................................. 3 I. Subject of Examination ..................................................................... 3 II. Examination Criteria ......................................................................... 5 1. Coherence within the Treaty ........................................................ 5 2. Compatibility with other Relevant Sources of Law ..................... 7 3. Acceptability in Light of the Principles of International Environmental Law ................................................. 10 III. Resulting Structure of the Thesis ...................................................... 11 C. Chapter Breakdown and Outline of the Main Arguments ........................ 11 § 2 Science and Economic Aspects of CCS Projects .................................... 17 A. Capture of CO2 ......................................................................................... 17 I. Capture Mechanisms ......................................................................... 18 1. Post-combustion ........................................................................... 18 2. Pre-combustion ............................................................................. 19 3. Oxyfuel Combustion .................................................................... 20 II. Environmental Impacts caused by the Capture Process .................... 20 III. Costs of Carbon Dioxide Capture ...................................................... 22 IV. Conclusion ......................................................................................... 23 B. Transport ................................................................................................... 23 C. Sub-Seabed Geological Storage ................................................................ 25 I. Storage Site Selection Criteria ........................................................... 26 II. Potential Leakage Pathways .............................................................. 30 III. Monitoring Plans ............................................................................... 33 IV. Remediation Plans ............................................................................. 34 V. Impacts on the Marine Environment ................................................. 35 1. Global Environmental Impacts ..................................................... 35 2. Local Environmental Impacts ...................................................... 36 a) Groundwater Contamination .................................................... 36 X b) Induced Seismicity ................................................................... 37 c) Effects of the Chemical Change of Seawater on Different Organisms ........................................................... 37 3. Evaluations Resulting from the Request for the Introduction of Maximum Leakage Rates ......................................................... 40 VI. Costs of Offshore Storage of CO2 ..................................................... 41 D. Economic Feasibility of CCS Projects ...................................................... 42 E. Conclusion ................................................................................................ 42 § 3 Offshore Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage Projects under Marine Environmental Protection Law ................................................... 45 A. Different Procedures of Offshore CCS Projects ....................................... 46 B. Historical Development ............................................................................ 47 C. United Nations Convention on the Law of the...

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