October 29, 2010
This paper summarizes the discussions from a workshop convened by the Harvard Law School's Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic in Washington, DC on June 21, 2010.
There is broad consensus in scientific, business, and political circles that carbon capture and sequestration ("CCS") must be demonstrated quickly on a large scale because it is likely to be an important technology for reducing carbon dioxide ("CO2") emissions throughout the world. Indeed, a number of commentators predict that it may be impossible to achieve significant emissions reduction in the United States and abroad without the use of CCS.
This paper proposes a framework for a liability regime for geological sites for sequestration of carbon dioxide. It incorporates issues that were discussed at the the June 21, 2010 Expert Workshop Addressing CCS Liability, Oversight, and Trust Fund Issues.
Harvard Law School’s Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic* supports immediate large-scale carbon capture and sequestration (“CCS”) demonstration projects as part of a larger national and global effort to address climate change. Large-scale CCS projects (those that sequester at least 1.5 million tons of captured carbon dioxide (“CO2”) annually) must be demonstrated soon to confirm CCS as a viable strategy to combat climate change and to show the commitment of the United States to achieving meaningful reductions in domestic CO2 emissions.
Many existing proposals either lack sufficient concreteness to make carbon capture and geological sequestration (CCGS) operational or fail to focus on a comprehensive, long term framework for its regulation, thus failing to account adequately for the urgency of the issue, the need to develop immediate experience with large scale demonstration projects, or the financial and other incentives required to launch early demonstration projects. We aim to help fill this void by proposing a roadmap to commercial deployment of CCGS in the United States.