Carbon capture and utilisation needs to be incentivised
Avoiding emission in the first place remains a priority for the chemical industry and should be incentivised by the EU’s CO2 emissions accounting framework. Technologies such as Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU), which capture CO2 straight from industrial processes, are vital for our industry to reduce emissions and will reduce the need for carbon removals in the future.
Cefic is concerned about the ongoing ETS directive negotiations, which risk perpetuating the current situation, in which CO2 captured and used for the production of materials and chemicals is not fully acknowledged in the Monitoring Reporting and Verification rules.
Technologies like CCU can contribute to both climate neutrality and circularity objectives and should be recognised accordingly.
Carbon removal is a “must” to tackle “hard-to-abate” emissions.
At the same time, it is also clear that even despite the industry’s efforts to make carbon circular, some emissions will remain (so-called “hard-to-abate” emissions). This is where carbon removal comes into play.
Carbon removal is the process of removing CO2 from the atmosphere and locking it away for decades, centuries, or millennia; it will be an essential tool on the path to 2050 to balance hard- or impossible-to-abate emissions.
To make sure that the industry can invest into all these solutions, it is key to create today the right framework for tomorrow. The upcoming regulation on Carbon Removal Certification needs to send a clear signal to investors and enable the deployment of industrial solutions, which requires time, infrastructure and massive investments.
One step to achieve this would be, for example, to include in the upcoming Carbon Removal Certification Framework (CRCF) a specific clause that guarantees the long-term compatibility of the new certification rules with the EU’s current GHG accounting rules under the EU ETS. For us to accelerate progress on and uptake of CCU, the EU legislation needs to be coherent. In particular, the Carbon Removal Certification and the EU ETS accounting rules need to be aligned.
Another key aspect to pave the way to tomorrow’s carbon removals is to have the right definitions in place. In particular, Cefic believes that the definition of sustainable non-fossil carbon introduced by the European Commission’s Sustainable Carbon Cycles
Communication should include all sources of sustainable circular carbon. This means, it should also include recycled carbon that, in its first lifecycle, came from a fossil source.
Cefic also calls on the Commission to include a definition of “carbon removal products”, replacing the current notion of “carbon storage products.” This new definition would better describe a carbon removal activity that stores atmospheric or biogenic carbon into long-lasting products or materials.
Reaching climate neutrality is a massive task, and to win, we need to ensure that all the necessary pieces are set and ready.