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A number of large facilities intended for the permanent sequestration of carbon dioxide are being developed in the United States. Several of them will be located in Texas and Louisiana on or near the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, making them easily accessible to ships. At the same time, there is substantial interest in Europe in installing equipment to capture carbon dioxide from certain industrial operations before it is emitted into the atmosphere, but currently there are inadequate facilities existing in Europe to sequester much of this carbon dioxide. Therefore, there is interest in the possibility of using ships to transport the carbon dioxide that has been captured in Europe to the United States for sequestration. This report examines the laws that could be applicable to this shipping. Much of the report would also be relevant to the shipping of carbon dioxide from other origins to other destinations, though domestic laws at either end of the trip may also be relevant.

This report, which is the first to comprehensively study international transport of carbon dioxide, makes several original contributions. First, it highlights the current legal uncertainties involving the cross-border shipping of carbon dioxide for sequestration. Second, it illustrates how market-based mechanisms under the Paris Climate Agreement do and do not relate to carbon dioxide shipping and sequestration, and the need for clarification. Third, the report provides a detailed analysis of the domestic U.S. laws applicable to the cross-border shipping and sequestration of carbon dioxide, and analyzes the legal consequences of the construction of a pier (or jetty) to enable the receipt of carbon dioxide shipped from overseas. Finally, liability regimes studied go beyond maritime conventions to include contractual liability and U.S. admiralty and maritime jurisdiction.

Ultimately, the report is grounded in a global perspective, including regional agreements involving developing countries, for instance, departing from the Eurocentric approach that has prevailed in the existing literature so far.

This report is organized as follows. Chapter 1 introduces essential definitions and details the academic and practical interest in the cross-border shipping of carbon dioxide for permanent storage. Chapter 2 provides a technical overview of relevant issues involved in the different stages of carbon dioxide shipping. It also contextualizes CCS in the context of climate agreements. Chapter 3 zooms in the international treaties applicable to the cross-border transportation of carbon dioxide for permanent storage overseas. Chapter 4 pivots to how the international shipping of carbon dioxide from the European Union for permanent storage in the United States may fit under Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the market-based mechanisms of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Chapter 5 reviews the domestic legislation of the United States that may be applicable to the international shipping of carbon dioxide for permanent storage in the United States, whereas Chapter 6 presents the scope of environmental reviews that may apply under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Chapter 7 analyzes the liability regimes involved in such shipping.


Environmental Law | International Law | Law


Sabin Center for Climate Change Law