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EU to Bet Big on Carbon Removals to Meet Net-Zero Goal

The European Union must raise significantly emissions capture and removals to meet its target to become a carbon-neutral bloc by 2050, the European Commission said in a draft document seen by Bloomberg News.

According to the Commission’s estimates, the EU will need to capture 450 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually, per the document expected to be unveiled on February 6.  

That level of emission removals would be nearly ten times the current global capacity of carbon capture and storage (CCS), which was 50 million tons in 2022, per data from BloombergNEF cited by Bloomberg.

In the draft carbon removal plan, the European Commission says that “Reaching economy-wide climate neutrality by 2050 will require carbon removals to counter-balance residual emissions from hard-to-abate sectors within the EU at the latest by 2050 and to achieve negative emissions thereafter.”

The Commission is expected to call on EU member states to accelerate the timelines for carbon capture sites, and plan and put in place transport infrastructure for the captured CO2.

“Theoretical geological storage possibilities have been mapped in many member states, but these sites now need to be turned into bankable CO2 storage capacities,” the EC says in the draft seen by Bloomberg.

At the end of last year, the European Parliament said “To reach the EU’s climate goals, emission reduction efforts will need to be complemented by measures to remove carbon from the atmosphere.”

The Parliament also adopted in November its position on a new EU certification framework for technological and natural carbon removals to help achieve EU climate neutrality by 2050. With 448 votes to 65 and 114 abstentions, MEPs agreed to set up a system to improve the EU’s capacity to quantify, monitor, and verify carbon removals. It should help to increase their use, build trust with stakeholders and industry, and counter greenwashing, the European Parliament said.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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