Transboundary export of carbon dioxide (CO2) for the purpose of carbon capture and storage (CCS) can now be provisionally allowed under certain circumstances.

That was the agreement made by Parties to the London Protocol last week at their annual meeting in London.

Since 2006, the London Protocol has provided a basis in international environmental law to allow CO2 storage beneath the seabed when it is safe to do so, and to regulate the injection of CO2 waste streams into sub-seabed geological formations for permanent isolation.

The 2009 amendment adopted by Parties to the London Protocol allows for sub-seabed geological formations for sequestration projects to be shared across national boundaries – effectively allowing CO2 streams to be exported for CCS purposes. The 2009 amendment has yet to enter into force.

“The adoption of the solution will remove a barrier for countries who wish to make use of carbon capture and storage – but which do not have ready access to offshore storage sites within their national boundaries,” said Fredrik Haag, Head, Office for the London Convention and Protocol and Ocean Affairs, IMO.

“An important point to note is that reduction of CO2 emissions at source should be the primary focus, and provisional application of the amendment should not be seen as a substitute for other measures to reduce COemissions.”

“The technique may be appropriate for large single point CO2 emission sources such as power stations, chemical and cement plants and steelworks.”

The London Protocol provides the basis in international environmental law for Governments to allow carbon capture and storage (CCS) under the seabed.

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