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The EU is trusting fossil fuel firms to help clean up the carbon – POLITICO

In 2009, as part of a recession recovery package, the European Commission launched a €1 billion program to support eight projects in the hope of demonstrating that carbon capture was commercially viable.

The attempt bombed, as not one of the projects succeeded. Thereafter the technology became kryptonite for policymakers.

Domien Vangenechten, a carbon capture specialist at climate policy think tank E3G, argued the breakdown was “a failure of the regulatory environment more than of the technology.” Countries were uncertain investors, Vangenechten said, while the EU pricing on carbon pollution plummeted, lowering the financial incentives to catch emissions.

Carbon capture can mean many different things, and has never been shown to work on a large scale. It can mean trapping emissions before they’re released, which is more cost-effective. Or it can mean literally removing carbon from the atmosphere, a more untested and pricey approach | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Times have changed, and the idea of applying a giant vacuum cleaner to dirty steel, cement and chemical makers is back in vogue. Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, also known as the IPCC, defines carbon capture as one of many ways to keep global temperatures within the threshold of the Paris Accord.

Europe, too, is growing more anxious about losing local industries as China and the U.S. pump money into their own manufacturing.

So to make carbon capture a reality, the EU has decided it must have fossil fuel companies lead the way, investing part of their hefty profits into its development.

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