Following The House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee’s report titled Carbon capture usage and storage: third time lucky? Scottish Carbon Capture Storage (SCCS) have responded with its thoughts on the future of CCS in the UK.
The House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee has advised the UK Government that it need to take quick action on vital technology to tackle climate change.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS), the topic of the Committee’s report, is the most cost-effective – and for some industries, the only – solution to this. The UK is well placed to develop CCS technology, meaning the country can create a new industry permanently storing carbon dioxide (CO2) and exporting the technology to capture and store CO2 to the rest of the world.
“We strongly welcome the Committee’s report and urge the government to act on its recommendations. We are pleased to see the Committee focusing on the ‘how’ rather than the ‘why’ of CCS,” said Stuart Haszeldine, Professor of CCS at the University of Edinburgh and SCCS Director.
“It has been shown time and time again that CCS is not just the lowest cost way of decarbonising the UK economy. It will be essential if the world is to achieve the climate ambitions of the Paris Agreement.”
“There are five potential CCUS clusters of high-emitting industries, which want to reduce their emissions by capturing and permanently storing the CO2 they emit. Each cluster has different and complementary strengths, and the UK Government needs to support them to collaborate, not pit them against each other in a competitive arena.”
Get in gear and release the handbrake
Having read this forthright retort from SCCS, I have to say I couldn’t agree more. It definitely seems as though the UK has had the handbrake on as it moves forward in tackling climate change.
Further still, I would question if there really is a clear appetite for rapid change to tackle CO2 emissions. If there is, I’m not sure I’ve seen evidence of it.
There is undoubtedly good intent, but it would also be easy for one to argue that we’ve seen a lot of posturing rather than firm action, which then leads me to question why that is.
I wrote several weeks ago that the battle to arrest and even reverse climate change, as well as clean up our unnecessary waste (plastic) and chase sustainability, is the single biggest unifying movement I can personally recall. This has been crystallised in the last 2-3 years as awareness of our impact on the planet has proliferated, and yet the UK Government has arguably been so distracted by Brexit that tangible action on emissions and sustainability has not been as noticeably high up its own agenda.
Where is the mass uptake of carbon capture and storage technologies, that we know to be readily available?
We’ve seen investment in hydrogen mobility but again, the UK lags far behind many other nations in this regard. Were are the big budgets for this imperative fuel in the here and now?
Where are announcements of Direct Air Capture (DAC) plants that our industry knows so much about, plants that can not only suck harmful CO2 out of the local atmosphere but also repurpose it for good use in various applications?
This latter point was one I made myself just weeks ago at the British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA) Annual Conference in Manchester…
“There is still a question of how development of carbon storage will be paid for, and how networks of networks of pipes to transport the CO2 will be funded. It’s clear that a new business needs to be created, with CO2 as its subject.”
“The appetite for rapid change to tackle CO2 emissions is clear, but the vagueness of government policy, and the lack of dedicated funding for CCS, continues to act as a brake on these ambitions. We could be well on our way to decarbonising the whole economy in 2023, if the UK Government takes the Committee’s recommendations on board,” Haszeldine concluded.
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