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Daily Telegraph: EU power station carbon to be buried

By Charles Clover, Environment Editor
Last Updated: 2:02am GMT 03/03/2007

Plans to pump carbon dioxide emissions from all Europe’s coal fired power stations into underground chambers by 2020 will be discussed by EU leaders at a summit in Brussels next week.

Tony Blair and the other leaders will discuss the plan as a way of achieving Europe’s self-imposed target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by that date.

As a first step, they are expected to approve a programme of building 12 demonstration projects for carbon capture and storage technology at coal and gas fired power stations by 2015, one of which is expected to be in Britain.

Officials say the summit will put Europe “on track to being the first competitive energy-secure, low-carbon economy”.

A senior Foreign Office official said that a commitment by Europe to remove carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation by 2020 would “fundamentally change the debate in Australia and similarly in the United States.”

He added: “There will be a broad commitment to getting to that level in Europe by 2020.”

Sharing carbon capture technology with developing countries such as China, which will build enough coal fired power stations this year to power the whole of Britain, is seen as the key to bringing America, China and India on board a successor to the Kyoto climate treaty after 2012.

But the proposal to capture carbon from coal or gas fired power stations underground goes against the Kyoto agreement, which does not recognise carbon capture technology as a valid way of trading emissions. Britain is asking for this to be changed.

Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, has been accused by the Tories of giving “mixed signals” about the development of carbon capture technology because he has so far refused to provide any form of subsidy for a world-class demonstration project at Peterhead, a collaboration between BP, Shell and others.

This project uses hydrogen manufactured from North Sea natural gas to create a decarbonised fuel, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 90 per cent and pumping 1.8 million tons of carbon dioxide back permanently into the Miller field in the North Sea.

It would save the same amount of carbon as the whole wind industry.

George Osborn, the shadow Chancellor, says that a Tory government would give carbon capture plants the same financial incentives as wind farms.

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