Davies: European Parliament backs report calling for EU action to promote carbon capture

Chris Davies MEP MEPs today overwhelmingly approved a report calling for EU action to kick-start the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to reduce CO2 emissions from industry and power generation, with 524 voting in favour and just 141 against.

Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, who authored the report, commented:

“With CO2 capture plants under construction in the USA, Canada and China, Europe could not only fail to achieve CO2 reductions at the least possible cost but also risks losing out on export orders.

“CCS can help to provide Europe with low carbon electricity even when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining. Flagship projects to develop the technology need to be given financial support equivalent to that given to renewable energy.

“Most governments have yet to give thought to how they will achieve CO2 reductions of 80% or more by 2050. When they start to look to the long-term a significant number will realise that CCS could have a key role to play.”

The lead CCS project in Europe at present is in the UK. The British government is supporting a major engineering study into the use of the technology by the White Rose consortium at Drax power station in Yorkshire.

Chris Davies’ report calls on every EU country to publish a CO2-reduction strategy indicating how they will achieve the 2050 goal. Those governments that choose to endorse carbon capture would have to play an active role in providing financial support, assisting in the building of a pipeline network and helping to prepare storage sites. The MEP has also called for an EU-wide target to be agreed so that unused funds currently set aside for CCS are spent and a range of flagship projects brought forward. This would promote innovation, reduce costs and help make CCS become accepted as a viable option in the long-term.

Carbon capture innovation projects can now apply for £168m worth of funding for the development of clean energy under the EU’s 2014-2020 Horizon 2020 research framework. Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard told the Parliament on Monday that the promotion of CCS would feature in the climate and energy strategy that the European Commission will adopt next week.

Notes to editors

The full report can be found here.

UK government support for the development of CCS includes a £1 billion commercialisation competition to support the development commercial-scale CCS and a £125 million 4-year research programme

https://www.gov.uk/uk-carbon-capture-and-storage-government-funding-and-support#ccs-commercialisation-competition

The International Energy Agency says that CCS should be responsible for 20% of the CO2 reductions to be achieved globally by 2050.

Davies: EU move to tackle waste from plastic bags

Chris Davies MEPThe European Commission today proposed measures to reduce the amount of plastic bags littering the environment, polluting the marine system and killing wildlife across the EU.

In 2010, over 8 billion plastic carrier bags were littered in the EU, which translates to almost 200 plastic bags per EU citizen a year.

The European Commission proposal leaves it open to Member States to choose the most appropriate measures to reduce the overall usage such as charges, reduction targets or a ban under certain conditions.

Commenting on today’s proposals by the European Commission, Liberal Democrat European Environment spokesperson Chris Davies said: Continue reading

Davies: Tories blow second chance on business carbon vote

Chris Davies MEPConservative MEPs got a second opportunity to help British business today – and once again blew it.

In April, the European Parliament voted on a proposal to backload the continent’s Emissions Trading Scheme that sets a price for industrial carbon dioxide emissions in an effort to combat climate change.  The vote was lost be 334-315 with British Tory MEPs voting against.

Today, the Environment Committee of the European Parliament voted again on the measure, sending it back to the full parliament for another attempt to pass the legislation.

Tory MEPs voted against backloading despite knowing that carbon prices in the UK leave UK manufacturers paying more for their electricity than their EU competitors and the EU plans would have reduced that gap.

Their votes pu tUK manufacturing industry at a disadvantage compared to Germany or the Netherlands.

Speaking after the Environment Committee’s 2-1 endorsement of the plan UK Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies MEP said, “Conservative MEPs have turned their back on the future and shown their contempt both for the needs of British industry and the policies of the coalition government. Continue reading

Davies: EU Fisheries policy reform achieved

Europe’s common fisheries policy is set for radical reform after negotiators for EU governments and the European Parliament reached agreement in Brussels at 03.00 this morning.

Supporters of the deal claim that it paves the way for rebuilding Europe’s depleted fish stocks and curbing the discard of millions of tonnes of fish each year.

British representatives have played a key role in securing the reform.  They say that it demonstrates how EU policies can be changed for the better.

An obligation to land all pelagic fish, such as mackerel, will commence from 1 January 2015.  Other reforms, which must yet be formally approved by ministers and MEPs, will be phased in over subsequent years.

Long term management plans are to be prepared for every fishery with the aim of increasing fish numbers above the maximum sustainable yield.

Fishermen will have a new role in determining practices appropriate to local conditions as micro-management from Brussels is reduced.

Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, secretary of the cross-party ‘Fish for the Future’ group in the European Parliament, described the deal as a major step forward that would promote sustainable fishing practices.  Continue reading

Lib Dem MEPs press Commission on olive oil regulation

Lib Dem MEPs have demanded an explanation from the European Commission regarding the decision to ban reusable olive oil dishes in restaurants, and will be tabling a series of parliamentary questions to get the bottom of the matter.

George Lyon MEP, Liberal Democrat European agriculture spokesperson, commented:

“At a time when the focus should be on promoting jobs and growth, this latest decision from the Council and European Commission really beggars belief. Banning reusable olive oil jugs would place an unnecessary burden on restaurants and potentially drive up prices for customers.” Continue reading