BRUSSELS -- All European projects this year for the capture and storage of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas blamed for global warming, have fallen through, EU sources said Thursday.
The aim was for energy and other industrial facilities producing large amounts of CO2 to capture and then store the gas underground as part of efforts to limit climate change.
European Parliament member Chris Davis, of Britain's Liberal Democrat Party, had championed the CO2 capture/storage scheme and expressed deep disappointment at the latest development.
"Hopes of Europe becoming a world leader in the development of a key technology to combat global warming have been dashed," Davies said.
"More than 1.5 billion euros (US$1.9 billion) of EU funding available to support carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects will now be diverted to new renewable energy schemes," he said.
Earlier Thursday, the world's biggest steelmaker ArcelorMittal said it was withdrawing from the EU's Uclos project to install a CO2 capture/storage facility at its plant in Florange, France.
That move could prove highly controversial given the dispute between the French government and the company over the future of Florange where ArcelorMittal has closed capacity in the face of a global steel glut.
The ArcelorMittal announcement "means that not one single new CCS scheme is set to proceed," Davis said, adding it "marks a major failure by Europe to step up to the mark. We talk big about the need for action yet fail to deliver."
EU leaders agreed in 2007 to have 12 CCS demonstration projects in operation by 2015 as the bloc sought to take the lead in combating climate change.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012