Tue, Feb 17, 2015 - Page 9 News List

Breaking the stalemate of Europe’s climate change policy

Agreeing on a balanced portfolio of energy solutions has proved difficult, but carbon capture and storage means ‘sustainable growth’ is not necessarily a dirty idea

By Graeme Sweeney

The continent’s largest petroleum companies, and equipment suppliers, are ready to invest what is needed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. However, in order for that to be possible, realistic policies and strategies are needed.

CCS has been recognized at the highest political level as a part of the EU’s 2030 Climate and Energy framework and the European Energy Security Strategy. However, it is time to translate recognition into concrete action. That, in turn, requires investment incentives, improved carbon pricing and an upgrade to the emissions trading system. A game-changing solution presupposes substantial political will; it is essential that European leaders show that they know what needs to be done.

Sustainable growth need not be an oxymoron. However, to achieve it, Europe must overcome the ideological stalemate that is paralyzing the environmental debate. To reconcile its environmental priorities with continued growth, it must act realistically, pragmatically and — above all — immediately.

Graeme Sweeney, a former executive vice president at Royal Dutch Shell, is chairman of the Advisory Council of the European Technology Platform of Zero Emission Fossil Fuels Power Plants.

Copyright: Project Syndicate

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