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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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§ 1 Introduction

Extract

‘If CO2 capture and storage is going to be a large-scale concept in a not so distant future for mitigating climate change, the legal issues and requirements need to be an area of priority.’1 This doctoral thesis focuses on the legal issues and requirements of carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) projects in sub-seabed geological formations2. In particular, it analyses international and regional maritime and climate protection law applicable to the European jurisdictional zone, as well as relevant European legislation3. This thesis will restrict itself to the jurisdictional zone of the European Union, as the EU is the main promoter of the development and deployment of CCS technology, which could be used to limit global temperature rise to less than 2°C above the pre-industrial level. Irrespective of the fact that it is still uncertain whether CCS technology can in fact help to combat climate change and is an adequate instrument to do so, the European Union advocates the technology in an unprecedented manner. Legal barriers are removed and incentives are provided in order to facilitate the conduct of CCS projects. It is therefore very likely that, within the European Union, CCS projects will take place in the near future and that legal questions assessed in this thesis will become particularly relevant. A number of scientific research projects are already in place and it is nearly certain that CCS technology will soon be used on a commercial scale. Following the statement cited above, this situation requires the clarification of legal...

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