UCL launches first ever online legal resource for carbon capture

15 October 2007

The UCL Centre for Law and the Environment is host to a new online resource bringing together the many different elements of law surrounding carbon capture and storage technology. The Carbon Capture Legal Programme is the first resource of its kind, and will be of use to governments, companies, lawyers, and non-governmental organisations involved in carbon capture programmes across the world.

Smoking Chimney

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is widely thought to offer one of the key solutions to ongoing carbon emissions caused by the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity. The technology works by siphoning off the carbon products of conventional power generation and storing them underground in natural reservoirs, such as depleted oil and gas fields or saline aquifers, instead of discharging them into the atmosphere, where they contribute to global warming.

The 2006 Stern report, which was commissioned by the government to look at the issue of climate change, pointed out that CCS could mean that conventional electricity generation can continue without the same impact on the environment. This would enable a smooth transition into other, more sustainable and non-polluting, sources of power.

However, there are many legal complications to CCS, which crosses into areas such as marine legislation at international, regional and national levels; international climate change legislation; and the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme. The Carbon Capture Legal Programme’s new website is the first online resource to detail the relevant legal information in all these areas, and the Centre for Law and the Environment is the first dedicated centre for research into the related legal issues.

Professor Richard Macrory, who heads up the project, said: “The legal community must play its part in responding to the challenge of climate change. This new UCL resource base is intended to stimulate informed debate on how we should best develop an appropriate regulatory framework for carbon capture and storage both internationally and nationally.”

The two-year programme is sponsored by Rio Tinto, RPS Group plc, RWE npower and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

For more information, follow the links at the top of this item, or contact Ian Havercroft, Senior Researcher at UCL Laws, on +44 (0)20 7679 1504.