EU industrial carbon management strategy ‘hazier than ever’ on carbon capture technologies

The industrial carbon management (ICM) strategy lacks clear criteria for how carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) will be applied in the waste sector, says Zero Waste Europe.
(Source: Unsplash, Anne Nygård)

In the Commission’s strategy document released yesterday, there was a notable absence of specific criteria for addressing the use of CCUS in waste incinerators and its potential implications.

The absence of meticulous design in the Industrial Carbon Management Communication raises concerns that it may inadvertently strengthen the position of waste incineration as the primary waste management solution. This could undermine existing decommissioning plans, particularly in light of the evident overcapacity in Europe.

A recent cost-benefit analysis, conducted by Zero Waste Europe, revealed that CCUS is the least cost-effective method for reducing emissions from waste incinerators, compared to alternative strategies such as mixed waste sorting technologies.

Janek Vahk, Zero Pollution Policy Manager at Zero Waste Europe, states: “We lack clear guidance on which projects will be considering CCUS, especially in the waste sector. The lack of clarity regarding the application of CCUS raises concerns about its potential impact on circularity principles. Right now, it’s hazier than ever. We want to ensure that CCUS does not undermine circularity principles, and for this reason, we strongly urge the Commission to establish quality criteria that safeguard circularity, bridging sectoral gaps affected by the strategy.”

The call for strict quality criteria is echoed by German green groups, and reinforced by this position paper arguing against the mandatory implementation of CCS in waste incinerators.

Zero Waste Europe calls for the European Commission to formulate guiding principles for the application of CCUS to mitigate adverse consequences.


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