David Cameron has drastically cut £1bn of funding for the UK’s Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Commercialisation competition.
Appearing before the Liaison Committee on 12th January 2016, the Prime Minister confirmed that the amount originally dedicated to CCS in his Conservative Party manifesto, has been dismissed from government budgets.
At the COP21 talks in Paris last November, a legally binding climate deal was reached which commits the UK to help keep global warming to less than 2°C in perpetuity. Therefore, from 2050, every tonne of carbon emitted by the UK economy must be equally matched in tonnes of carbon stored, essentially demanding a necessity for CCS.
The UK government has elucidated the cut by stating the necessity for very large quantities of additional equipment and design security, and extra costs for conversion by having to use existing pipelines to transport carbon dioxide (CO2) offshore for the CCS project, co-developed with Department of Energy and Climate Change, to take place.
After cancelling the £1bn competition, the Chancellor subsequently claimed that “CCS is not regarded as affordable”, the Prime Minister stated that “you have to make decisions about technology that works”, and the Secretary of State for energy commented that “CCS is not necessary until 2070.”
Cameron (left) told the same committee in 2014 that “CCS is absolutely vital to decarbonisation,” but went on to state that, “while I completely believe in the idea, the economics of CCS really aren’t working at the moment. CCS is £1bn of capital expenditure, £1bn that we could spend on flood defences, schools or the health service. Even after you’ve spent that £1bn, that doesn’t give you CCS that is competitive in the market.”
Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce highlighted its outrage by citing that “this a huge blow to confidence for the business community, and further confirmation of the inability of governments to give strategic certainty on major energy investment.”