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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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§ 6 Principles of International Environmental Law


295 § 6 Principles of International Environmental Law In the previous chapters, the different international, regional and European regulations applicable to CCS projects in sub-seabed geological formations in European waters have been examined. In this way, we saw to what extent offshore CCS projects are in line with the objectives, general principles and the applicable provisions of the examined agreements and directives. Most of the international and regional treaties include in their preambles and/or their general articles some guiding or general principles to guide the interpretation and application of the agreement. The directives include recitals and are related to the TEU and the TFEU. In particular, Article 174 TFEU determines objectives and guiding principles guiding the European Union’s environmental policy and legislation. However, these principles are always to be interpreted within the context of the treaty. They provide guidance for the application and inter- pretation of the treaty, but not for the question of whether an activity in general is in line with the ‘pure’ principles of international environmental law. In particular, as part of the preamble or as a general article of a treaty these principles often are qualified and cannot develop their full effect. In this section, the storage of carbon dioxide in sub-seabed geological formations will be discussed and evaluated to determine whether it is acceptable in light of the principles of international environmental law. As a basis for this discussion, their pure content, their role in international environmental law and the effect of such principles of international...

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