Shell Adviser Says EU Should Consider Carbon Rules Through 2030

A Royal Dutch Shell Plc climate adviser said European Union lawmakers should move now to extend carbon-market rules through 2030 rather than tighten emission targets for 2020.

“A high price today doesn’t necessarily help” investors make long-term decisions, David Hone, climate-change adviser for Shell, Europe’s biggest oil company, said today in an interview at a Platts emissions conference in Brussels.

Carbon capture and storage plants, for example, take about a decade to implement, he said. Carbon-capture technology gathers carbon dioxide during power generation and pipes it into underground storage rather than venting it into the air.

The EU is setting rules this year for the third phase of its program, which runs from 2013 through 2020. It has discussed tightening its target to cut emissions 30 percent by 2020. The current target is a 20-percent reduction from 1990 levels.

“Fiddling with phase three is going to take more time than we have got,” Hone said. Instead of tightening the 2020 target, lawmakers could set a reserve price for allowances in the fourth phase, below which the bloc would not sell. That reserve price would “cascade back into phase three,” keeping the market working well, he said.

“By defining phase four, you can send that signal now,” Hone said. Phase-four rules could be set by 2012, he said.

Jos Delbeke, director general for climate at the European Commission, declined to say when plans for phase four will be set. “We are not yet toying with any blueprints for phase four,” he told the conference.

Governments around the world are seeking to cut greenhouse gases as the global population rises and economies in China and India grow. Scientists link man-made emissions to climate change, which may cause stronger storms, drought and food shortages.