CCS in the 2021 London Convention Meeting, LC43

News

By Tim Dixon

27 October 2021

The London Convention and the London Protocol are the global marine treaties that protect the marine environment. We previously reported on the CCS amendments and the recent 2019 Resolution to allow export of CO2 (detailed in IEAGHG report 2020-TR/02).

For the annual meeting of the Parties in 2021, LC43, the CCS agenda item and the Marine Geoengineering agenda item were on the 25 October. IEAGHG was the only CCS-related organisation attending.

For the CCS agenda item in terms of the amendments, there was no further progress in the acceptance of the CO2 export amendment 2009, still just seven countries. This is why the Export Resolution on Provisional Application in 2019 was needed to allow export of CO2 for offshore geological storage ahead of the coming into force of the 2009 amendment. Two Declarations of Provisional Application have been received by IMO, from Norway and the Netherlands. Ratification of the 2009 export amendment was encouraged by Norway.

Under the CCS agenda item, which calls for updates on relevant activities, IEAGHG reported by submitting an information paper on updates on offshore CO2 sequestration (as CCS is known in the LC) and by a verbal summary in plenary.

This IEAGHG paper and verbal summary covered some of the latest reports from IEA and IPCC on the necessity for carbon capture and storage (CCS) to meet global climate ambitions, and updates from the UNFCCC on countries including CCS in their climate plans. Also covered was the GHGT conference paper and IEAGHG report, both co-authored by IEAGHG with IMO, to draw attention to and to make more accessible the London Protocol’s CCS export guidelines and guidance. Also covered was the report on the 4th Offshore CCS workshop held in Norway in February 2020.

Finally, not covered in the paper but included in the verbal summary, we mentioned the CCS offshore project developments this year. Most recently with the UK government announcement on two CCS cluster projects to proceed, one with a storage site under the North Sea and one under Liverpool Bay. Also the potential CO2 storage projects being considered offshore in Denmark, Australia, USA Gulf of Mexico, and the Norwegian Northern Lights project being under construction.

An update was also given by Norway on the need for CCS and the Longship project enabling capture projects across Northern Europe.

Given the number of offshore storage projects proceeding, there was a request for Parties to report as much detail as possible on their permitting, including how the London Protocol guidelines and guidance are used.

Under the Marine Geoengineering agenda item, the status of the 2013 amendment to regulate marine geoengineering is that it has been accepted by only six Parties, far short of the two thirds needed of the 53 Parties to the London Protocol for it to come into force. Also reported was some work from the London Convention Scientific Group’s meeting. Most notably, a proposal to add more techniques to 2013 amendment to regulate marine geoengineering, which allows listed techniques but for research purposes only. The only current technique covered is ocean fertilisation. Proposed to be covered in future work are: fertilization for fish stock enhancement; macroalgae cultivation for sequestration including artificial upwelling; reflective particles/material; adding alkaline material directly to the ocean; coastal spreading of olivine; and mineralization in rocks under the seabed. In this LC43, this proposal was supported by a request for urgent consideration of [note the new term] “ocean interventions for climate change mitigation” beyond just ocean fertilization, given the growing interest in such techniques and the coverage in the recent IPCC WG1 report. So we can expect to see more consideration of these geoengineering techniques in future Scientific Group meetings. 

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