The European Union has been one of the most devoted players in the attempts to combat global climate change and reduce carbon emissions. The long-term energy plans proposed by the European Union depend largely on high technology projects designed to capture carbon dioxide emissions and store them underground. This would help abate global warming while also allowing industries to continue to burn large amounts of fossil fuels. However, weak support for the experimental carbon capturing technology has held the European Union back from reaching its energy goals.
Two carbon capture and storage projects in Germany and the United Kingdom were canceled last quarter mainly due to lack of funds and public opposition to possible environmental risks caused by the projects. Many of the remaining projects will probably share the same fate this year until the uncertainty about strategies to slow climate change is clarified. Despite the recent project shutdowns, the European Union still plans to host six demonstration plants for the carbon capture and storage projects by 2020. Much debate has surrounded these carbon capture projects and critics claim that the technology involved in these projects are costly and potentially dangerous. Adding carbon capture technology to power plants raise the capital cost by at least 30 percent and is said to reduce power output by 20 percent.
Yet, carbon capture projects continue to receive political and financial support in many countries around the world including Norway, the United States, Australia, and Canada. These projects are more popular than other climate change strategies because it allows economies to mitigate global warming without sacrificing the reliability and affordability of fossil fuels like coal. Norway has two operational carbon capture plants and many Norwegian companies are investing in the projects globally in countries like Algeria and Australia. The European Commission is calling for carbon capture projects to account for 19 to 32 percent of total European Union emission cuts by 2050. This will require a major overhaul and progressive development made in carbon capture technologies. Moving forward, these projects will either be a key answer for combatting global climate change or simply another unsuccessful attempt.