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Capture of carbon dioxide as a means of fighting climate change

Resolution 1552 (2007)

Parliamentary Assembly
Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 24 May 2007 (see Doc. 11180, report of the Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs, rapporteur: Mr Grachev).
1. Climate change is one of the major threats to sustainable development and the world economy, as well as to mankind’s health and welfare.
2. The Parliamentary Assembly is aware of the seriousness of this problem and recalls its support for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and for the Kyoto Protocol, which is aimed at stabilising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
3. The Assembly refers in particular to its Resolutions 1243 (2001) on the Kyoto Protocol on climate change: need for committed international solidarity, and 1292 (2002) on the World Summit on Sustainable Development: ten years after Rio, and to its Recommendation 1594 (2003) on follow-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development: a common challenge, and its Resolution 1406 (2004) on global warming: beyond Kyoto.
4. The Assembly welcomes the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol on 16 February 2005 following its ratification by the Russian Federation.
5. The comprehensive action plans for implementing the Kyoto Protocol depend on measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the one hand and increasing absorption of those gases on the other. For this purpose, it is necessary to encourage and develop the second most important instrument for combating climate change, namely the capture and storage of carbon dioxide by living matter.
6. Carbon capture and storage systems and technologies are attracting attention at the highest level both as a mechanism for higher energy efficiency and as instruments in the fight against global climate change. The concept of carbon sinks is based on the natural ability of forests and soils to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and temporarily store it.
7. The Assembly welcomes the signing of the international charter on carbon dioxide capture and storage and the setting up of the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, with the participation notably of Australia and the United States, which are among the countries that have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol. This forum provides a framework for the major industrialised countries to work together and aims to promote technologies which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal power plants and produce hydrogen for use as a source of energy, particularly in the transport sector.
8. The Assembly regrets that, at the 12th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in Nairobi from 6 to 17 November 2006, political and technical discussion of carbon dioxide storage and capture was deferred to the 2007 conference.
9. The Assembly considers that given the current situation of energy deficit and the inability to cover it with the available renewable energy sources, the only way to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emission is to develop alternative energies.
10. The Assembly considers that the fight against climate change should be central to the actions of all political, economic and social players. Governments, parliaments, local and regional authorities as well as civil society should, each at its level, become involved in the control and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
11. The Assembly calls on the parties to the international charter on carbon dioxide capture and storage to continue their efforts to propose new legal, economic and organisational measures to stimulate activities in the field of carbon capture.
12. The Assembly calls on the Council of Europe member and observer states to:
12.1 take additional measures to further the implementation of the targets set in the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change;
12.2 continue negotiations and consultations with the states parties to the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on questions of economic, environmental, scientific and technical co-operation, particularly with regard to carbon capture and storage;
12.3 co-ordinate their activities at European and global level, particularly through cooperation with United Nations bodies and other international organisations and institutions;
12.4 take comprehensive measures to support natural mechanisms for capturing and storing carbon dioxide and affording comprehensive protection to, and improving the quality of, natural reservoirs and sinks;
12.5 develop specific national policies aimed at reducing the obstacles to natural carbon dioxide storage;
12.6 step up efforts to create effective mechanisms to promote new technological processes contributing to carbon capture and the conservation of fuel resources;
12.7 implement national policies and measures for developing carbon sinks through the use of more sophisticated technologies for absorption by agriculture and forestry ;
12.8 introduce policies and action plans at national level for conserving vegetation and, in particular, restoring forests, maintaining the potential of carbon capture of the oceans and cleaning rivers and seas, which are natural carbon sinks;
12.9 give local and regional authorities relevant powers and means allowing them to fight climate change;
12.10 increase the natural potential for carbon uptake and develop carbon sinks, in particular by:
12.10.1 facilitating identification and location of the sources of forest fires;
12.10.2 improving prevention of spontaneous peat fires through irrigation;
12.10.3 encouraging the use of fertilizers to stimulate and speed up photosynthesis by land plants;
12.10.4 encouraging the large-scale use of physical, physicochemical and biological methods to eliminate oil films on the surface of natural bodies of water;
12.10.5 facilitating the capture of carbon dioxide from sea water by sea molluscs which store carbon dioxide in their shells as calcium carbonate;
12.10.6 developing plant species capable of storing more biomass than the currently existing natural species;
12.10.7 developing the waste-free use and processing of forest resources by national economies and improved forest management;
12.10.8 using non-mouldboard tillage methods in agriculture and promoting perennial crops through the use of organic fertilizers such as manure;
12.10.9 reducing the quantities of methane and nitrogen oxide emitted by agriculture by improving livestock breeding and soil treatment methods and by using new types of fertilizer and new ways of introducing them into the soil;
12.11 create a mechanism, similar to the trade market to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which will allow major greenhouse gas emitters to plant forests and invest in water resource purification, in their own or another country, to contribute to the fight against climate change;
12.12 adopt, as part of the comprehensive plans for implementing the Kyoto Protocol for 2006-10, measures aimed at reducing emissions and increasing the absorption of greenhouse gases in the different sectors of the economy.
13. The Assembly invites member and observer states that have not yet done so to sign and/or ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
14. It also calls on the states parties to the Kyoto Protocol, together with the states parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to continue negotiations and consultations on questions of economic, environmental, scientific and technical co-operation to increase the levels of stored and captured carbon, and to establish international co-operation to:
14.1 implement projects and technologies for carbon sequestration and partnership schemes to promote technologies for producing hydrogen as an alternative energy source to fossil fuels;
14.2 create economic mechanisms to facilitate investment in reforestation, water resource purification and other measures to develop biogenic carbon sinks.
15. The Assembly calls on national parliaments to organise national parliamentary debates on the subject with a view to adopting all appropriate measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote carbon dioxide capture and storage.
16. Lastly, it calls on the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe to continue its activities aimed at encouraging and increasing the number of innovative projects undertaken by local and regional authorities to combat climate change.