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Balancing climate change mitigation and environmental protection interests in the EU Directive on carbon capture and storage

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The EU Climate and Energy Package highlights the potential contradictions between the climate change imperative of reducing GHGs emissions and the importance to maintain environmental integrity. While the package supports climate change mainstreaming, it remains to be seen to what extent it succeeds in achieving internal environmental integration between climate change mitigation and other environmentprotection objectives. Directive 2009/31/EC on the capture and geological storage of carbon dioxide (hereinafter the CCS Directive) offers a paradigmatic example of this potential conflict. One of the main regulatory challenges arising from the CCS Directive relates to finding the proper balance between the different interests involved and the not-fully-consistent objectives of environmental protection, climate change mitigation, and energy security. The present article will discuss this regulatory challenge and examine how the CCS Directive’s regulatory framework for CCS permits a combination of the various interests at stake and the giving of proper weight to concerns about environmental protection. The role that the precautionary principle in conjunction with the proportionality principle may have in balancing climate change mitigation and environment-protection interests will be considered.


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