A new study released today by Australian commercial law firm, HWL Ebsworth, has defined the critical elements of a carbon dioxide (CO2) storage enforcement regime in a bid to build confidence in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.

Commissioned by the Global CCS Institute, the ‘Effective enforcement of underground storage of carbon dioxide’ study was undertaken by environmental lawyer, Dr. Mereith Gibbs of HWL Ebsworth. Gibbs was appointed by the international membership organisation in February 2016 to help advance CCS in Asia Pacific.

The report assessed five legal jurisdictions in the Commonwealth of Australia, the State of Victoria, Japan, Malaysia and China.

Based on research that took place during the first half of 2016, the report compares existing legislation for current geological storage activities and identifies the additional legislative measures that are required to support permanent geological storage of CO2.

Communities around the world want assurances from governments that CCS is safe and reliable…In this context, effective enforcement is critical to CCS progress the world over

The document covers comprehensive obligations that address the key risks of underground storage of CO2, enforcement mechanisms that are risk-based and a clear allocation of roles and responsibilities to carry out this enforcement.

The report also includes comprehensive monitoring and verification (M&V) requirements, including baseline monitoring, and M&V obligations during both the injection and post-injection phases.

As such, findings were relevant for informing development of legislation in countries where CCS has been identified as a vital part of the low-carbon technology mix.

The Institute’s Acting Global Lead – Policy, Legal & Regulation, Ian Havercroft, explained, “Communities around the world want assurances from governments that CCS is safe and reliable. Effective enforcement regimes require a strong legislative framework that addresses the critical needs of stakeholders. In this context, effective enforcement is critical to CCS progress the world over.”

“Dr Gibbs’ research is therefore a valuable contribution to the growing body of legal knowledge that supports governments in developing pro-CCS policies, as part of an overall commitment to tackling climate change.”