5.4 International legal framework

International law is important to encouraging the commercial-scale deployment of CCS for the reasons identified in Section 5.3 above.

It is true that in recent years the ability to conduct CCS activities under international law has evolved significantly. However, some barriers still remain. For example, the export of CO2 is prohibited under Article 6 of the London Protocol, which means that until this Protocol is amended CO2 will stay within national boundaries (this is discussed further below). Likewise, storage of CO2 may be classified as pollution in certain circumstances.

If stages of the CCS project cycle take place in international waters or involve multiple actors from different States, questions arise as to which State should take responsibility for any leakage of emissions, on-going monitoring and liability for remediation, and whether such activities can take place at all. For example, as no State is able to assert sovereignty over the sea bed in areas beyond national jurisdiction, the ability to undertake storage activities in these areas is likely to be limited (discussed further below). In the absence of clear guidance on these issues, most States have avoided projects in these areas. Nevertheless, if CCS becomes a viable mechanism, with potential storage sites in these areas, the international community will need to determine appropriate regulatory frameworks.