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conceptual mapping >  environment and sustainable development  > Carbon capture and storage : legal issues

International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

Carbon capture and storage : legal issues

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Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS) describes the process of capturing CO2 emissions from industrial and energy-related processes, compressing the gas to a liquid form, transporting it to a storage site (by pipeline, ship, truck or rail), and injecting it into a geological cavity - to isolate it from the atmosphere.

CCS has been described as one option in the « portfolio » of mitigation options - useful as a bridging technology to address the most prevalent greenhouse gases by volume in the short term, while economies make the shift from fossil fuels to low-carbon energy sources, including renewables. The IPCC has estimated that CCS has the potential to contribute 15-55 % of the cumulative mitigation effort worldwide until 2100. However, for this to occur, the IPCC estimates that several hundreds or thousands of CO2 capture systems would need to be installed over the next century.

Such a prospect raises a host of legal and regulatory issues and concerns. CCS activities will have to be undertaken in a manner consistent with the range of existing regulatory frameworks developed at the national level to address environmental and health and safety risks. But consistency with international law will also be essential where transboundary impacts are possible, transboundary transportation is involved, or offshore storage activities are contemplated.

document de référence rédigé le : 2006

date of on-line publication : 5 January 2007

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