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UCL launches Carbon Capture and Storage legal initiative

A UCL initiative launched today will provide a one-stop shop for information about legal developments in the increasingly significant field of carbon capture and storage (CCS).

The Carbon Capture Legal Programme, pioneered by the UCL Centre for Law and the Environment, will provide an authoritative source of objective, up to date and comprehensive information on CCS through a programme of seminars and conferences, as well as establishing an open-access website – – to provide an accessible, independent and authoritative resource, and promote informed discussion within industry, government, the legal profession, NGOs and all those with an interest in CCS legal issues.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is assuming increasing importance as a significant response to climate change and as the need for new approaches to energy delivery intensifies. The 2006 Stern Report recognised the significance of CCS as a method for mitigating the continued use of fossil fuels for global energy generation.

The Programme website will provide in-depth commentary on legislation that may be applicable to carbon capture and storage projects situated onshore or offshore; as well as the legal impacts of the climate change and emissions trading regimes and environmental liabilities, which are also considered by many as posing significant implications for the development, regulation and financing of CCS projects.

“Rapid technological development and innovation has resulted in disparate legal frameworks, which are not well-aligned to the new CCS technologies,” said Professor Richard Macrory, Director of the UCL Centre for Law and the Environment. “The methods proposed for the capture, transport and storage of carbon dioxide have raised a host of important legal questions, at international, regional and national level.

“With CCS gaining a higher policy profile, there is currently an extraordinary amount of policy and legal development taking place at international, regional, and national level. In many instances information of latest developments can be found on various web sites, which are concerned with succinct areas of regulation at the international, regional or national level. There is not, however, a readily accessible resource base which links across the arenas. As a result, even those heavily involved currently do not find it easy to know what is happening in parallel but distinct areas.

“The website will provide a focus for our ongoing work in this exciting and fast-moving area. The Programme and accompanying website are the first of their kind in this field of legal research and it is hoped they will promote further analysis and exploration of the key legal issues surrounding CCS’.

The Programme, which is initially scheduled to run for two years, has been made possible by generous donations from Rio Tinto, RPS Group plc, RWE npower and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. At the UK level, the Programme was endorsed by both DEFRA and the DTI in December 2006. The UCL Centre for Law and the Environment will work closely on the project with the University of Oslo's Research Group in Natural Resources Law. The Group has worked with legal issues related to CCS since 2003 and is the key institution in this field in Norway, the leading European country testing the practicalities of sub-seabed CCS.

Dominique Fourniol | alfa
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