Eamon Ryan preparing to deploy controversial carbon capture technology in bid to cut emissions


Mr Ryan said the technology was intended for use in limited circumstances, such as in the cement industry and incinerators.

He said he would bring proposals to government in the coming weeks for regulations to ensure this.

CCS is divisive as major oil and gas producing countries argue they can continue extraction and expansion of fossil fuels because CCS will take care of the emissions.

Use of the technology on a large-scale is still unproven, however, and critics warn it could take many years of research and development to perfect it, if at all.

Mr Ryan agreed there were “very valid concerns” around it and stressed it could not be used as a “get out of jail card” for the fossil fuel industry.

Ireland’s cement plants burn huge amounts of fossil fuels to create the high temperatures needed for their kilns.

They have yet to find ways to reproduce the temperatures with renewable energies but even when they do, the breaking of rock for the raw material also releases large amounts of carbon.

Mr Ryan said CCS was needed by the end of the decade – the deadline for the legally binding requirement to cut national emissions by 51pc.

He said the companies themselves would have to invest in CCS but he said this would be cheaper than paying penalties for exceeding emission allowances.

Asked how he would prevent CCS deployment becoming the norm in other large energy using companies, he said regulations could govern its use.

“It isn’t agreed by Government yet but I’ll be going to Government with it in the next few weeks.

“It will take time to set up regulatory mechanisms but regulation is a good way of doing it because then there’s certainty for business.”

Mr Ryan was speaking at the Cop28 climate summit where he denied that he and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar held different views on the continued use of fossil fuels and CCS.

In his world leaders speech on Saturday, Mr Varadkar referred to wanting a “reduction in the use of fossil fuels.”

He said prior to the speech that he wanted the summit to agree to phase out “unabated fossil fuels”.

He also hinted at broader use of mechanisms to capture or offset emissions.

“It doesn’t mean that they [fossil fuels] can never be used but it means that if they are going to be used, they have to be abated or offset in some way” he said.

Mr Ryan has pushed for a less qualified phase-out but he insisted there was no difference of opinion.

He said did not want to bogged down in the wording because the goal – preventing global temperature rise exceeding 1.5 degrees – was what mattered.

Climate campaigners have called for clarity, however.

Oisín Coghlan of Friends of the Earth said the Taoiseach’s language was “ambiguous, if not evasive”.

“We need the Government to clarify that Ireland is committed to phasing out fossil fuels entirely, not just reducing them,” he said.



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