Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2014-01-13-Speech-1-064-000"

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"Madam President, our aim should be not only to reduce Europe’s CO emissions but also to do so at the least-possible cost. Europe’s economy must be competitive. For this reason it would be wrong to commit ourselves to the development of particular technologies to the exclusion of others, and the Commission would be right to propose a 2030 low-carbon technology without specifying how it should be reached, because the solution will vary from one country to another. Sometimes renewable energy will play a large part. Elsewhere there will be a role for carbon capture and storage. CCS technology can allow us to use fossil fuels to keep the lights on even when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining. Just as we remove the SO and the NO from modern power stations, we should get used, just as automatically, to removing the CO CCS is the only means of achieving large reductions in emissions from the steel, cement and other major industrial installations. CCS technology is proven, but it is capable of great improvements and cost reductions. We see this time and again as technologies are developed. If we think of the mobile telephone, twenty years ago it was like a brick and now it is the size of a matchbox or smaller. But, even given our present knowledge, the Zero Emissions Platform and major engineering companies like Alstom say that CCS will be cheaper per unit of low-carbon electricity than offshore wind, and in many cases much cheaper than solar. It is clear from the geologists that Europe has an abundance of potentially safe CO storage sites, although they are not always in the most convenient places. So it is a great disappointment that progress in Europe has all but ground to a halt. In 2007 the Council declared that it wanted up to 12 demonstration plants to be in operation by 2015. In fact we will be lucky if the construction of even one plant has been authorised by that date. Governments have thrown money at renewable energy projects but relied entirely on the CO price to promote business investment in CCS. The collapse in that price has taken away the financial justification, as well as slashing the value of the NER300 subsidies we could offer. Renewable energy would have gone the same way were it not receiving specific governmental support. Even in my own country, the UK, where there is cross-party support for CCS, we have yet to see construction cranes in action. Europe’s priority should be to get a range of flagship projects up and running. We must learn by doing, and we need the Commission to come forward with a new strategy. I hope the ideas in this report will contribute to that. The central feature must be a requirement that governments prepare long-term CO reduction plans. CCS can only happen when governments support it, but some of them will only appreciate its value when they actually have to explain how they are going to achieve reductions of 80 % and more. Although I endorse the idea of creating a new European innovation fund, I recognise that the majority of funding will have to come from Member States. The Commission must ensure that CCS is placed financially on a level playing field. Let us keep in mind the big picture. Across the world CO emissions are rising fast. Forty per cent of global electricity comes from coal, and coal is expected to be the single largest source of electricity generation across the world even in 30 years’ time. We have got to deal with the emissions from fossil fuels. It is not surprising that the International Energy Agency stresses the importance of developing CCS, and we should not lose sight of the fact that there are business opportunities here for European companies. There are jobs that can be created. Europe has lost its leadership in the development of solar technology and, with so many CCS projects underway elsewhere in the world, it is at risk of losing out in the development of CCS technology. For the sake of our climate and our economy, let us embrace the full range of technologies that are available to help us reduce our CO emissions and let us make CCS happen."@en1

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