New international rules to allow storage of CO2 in seabed adopted
of Contracting Parties to the London Protocol, 30 October - 3 November 2006
Storage of carbon
dioxide (CO2) under the seabed will be allowed from 10 February
2007, under amendments to an international convention governing the dumping
of wastes at sea.
Parties to the London Protocol, at their first meeting held in London from 30
October to 3 November, adopted amendments to the 1996 Protocol to the Convention
on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter,
1972 (London Convention). The amendments regulate the sequestration of CO2
streams from CO2 capture processes in sub-seabed geological
agreed that guidance on the means by which sub-seabed geological sequestration
of carbon dioxide can be conducted should be developed as soon as possible.
This will, when finalized, form an important part of the regulation of this
activity. Arrangements have been made to ensure that this guidance will be considered
for adoption at the 2nd Meeting of Contracting Parties in November 2007.
that a basis has been created in international environmental law to regulate
carbon capture and storage (CCS) in sub-seabed geological formations, for permanent
isolation, as part of a suite of measures to tackle the challenge of climate
change and ocean acidification, including, first and foremost, the need to further
develop low carbon forms of energy. In practice, this option would apply to
large point sources of CO2 emissions, including power plants,
steel and cement works.
Protocol, which entered into force on 24 March 2006, takes a precautionary approach
and prohibits the dumping of wastes at sea, except for certain substances, listed
in the Annex I to the Protocol* . "CO2
streams from CO2capture processes" have now been added
to the list.
which will enter into force 100 days after adoption (i.e. on 10 February 2007),
state that carbon dioxide streams may only be considered for dumping, if: disposal
is into a sub-seabed geological formation; they consist overwhelmingly of carbon
dioxide (they may contain incidental associated substances derived from the
source material and the capture and sequestration processes used); and no wastes
or other matter are added for the purpose of disposing of them.
The 1996 Protocol
has currently been ratified by 29 countries and replaces the London Convention
1972 for those countries. The 1972 Convention has been ratified by 81 countries.
annex lists the following wastes or other matter which may be considered for
dumping: 1 dredged material; 2 sewage sludge; 3 fish waste, or material resulting
from industrial fish processing operations; 4 vessels and platforms or other
man-made structures at sea; 5 inert, inorganic geological material; 6 organic
material of natural origin; and 7 bulky items primarily comprising iron, steel,
concrete and similarly unharmful materials for which the concern is physical
impact, and limited to those circumstances where such wastes are generated at
locations, such as small islands with isolated communities, having no practicable
access to disposal options other than dumping.
8 CO2 streams from CO2 capture processes.
43, 8 November 2006
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