Government bets on carbon capture and storage technology despite scientists’ doubts | Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

The UK government will defy scientific doubts to bet heavily on carbon dioxide capture and storage technology in underwater caverns, to enable an expansion of oil and gas in the North Sea.

Grant Shapps, the energy and net zero secretary, will unveil the ‘power up Britain’ strategy, with carbon capture and storage (CCS) at its heart, on Thursday during a visit at a nuclear fusion development facility in Oxford.

Shapps said continued North Sea oil and gas production was still needed and that the UK had a geological advantage in being able to store most of the carbon likely to be produced in Europe during the next 250 years in the great caverns below. The North Sea.

“Unless you can explain how we can go (to net zero) without oil and gas, we need oil and gas,” he said. “I’m very keen for us to fill those cavities with stored carbon. I think there are huge opportunities for us to do that.

Shapps highlighted the £20 billion the government plans to spend over 20 years on developing CCS, which he said would generate new jobs and make the UK a world leader in technology.

Among the 1,000 pages of proposals to be published on Thursday will be boosts for offshore wind, hydrogen, heat pumps and electric vehicles. A green finance strategy, to be set out by Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt, will aim to mobilize private sector money for investment in green industry, and there will be a consultation on border carbon taxes , aimed at penalizing the import of high-carbon goods from overseas.

But the plans contain no new government spending and campaigners said they missed key elements, such as a comprehensive home insulation scheme and a complete lifting of a ban on new onshore wind turbines in England.

Ministers are also believed to have rejected or amended dozens of the 130 policy recommendations made by Tory MP Chris Skidmore in his review of the net zero strategy, released in January. For example, oil and gas companies will not be forced to stop flaring, car manufacturers will not be given a target for the proportion of electric vehicles they must sell, and the ban on the sale of boilers new gas from 2035 will not be advanced.

Meanwhile, the government is in the midst of a new licensing round for oil and gas development in the North Sea, which will run until next June, and oil and gas companies, which have made profits records in recent months, propose new developments, encouraged by tax breaks for investments in fossil fuel assets under the windfall tax.

Proposals under consideration include a potentially massive new field called Rosebank, which campaign group Uplift say could receive an effective subsidy of £3.75billion under the windfall tax.

Scientists told the Guardian that overreliance on CCS is misguided. More than 700 scientists have written to the Prime Minister asking him not to grant new oil and gas licenses, describing CCS as ‘to be proven on a large scale’, and the UN Secretary General called on governments last week stop developing oil and gas. .

Bob Ward, policy officer at the Grantham Institute, said CCS technology would be needed for some industries, but using it to enable the continued use of fossil fuels was a mistake. “What doesn’t make sense is to pursue the development of new fossil fuel reserves assuming that CCS will be available to absorb all additional emissions. Although CCS costs will decrease, it will make the use of fossil fuels even more expensive, and it will not eliminate all the risks resulting from fossil fuel price volatility and energy insecurity. A thriving and competitive economy in the future will be powered by clean and affordable household energy, not unreliable and insecure fossil fuels,” he said.

“CCS is not needed if the government moves to renewables as soon as possible – especially since I don’t know of any working CCS,” added Mark Maslin, professor of earth sciences at UCL.

Kevin Anderson, Professor of Energy and Climate at Manchester, said: “When it comes to energy emissions, CCS’s claimed perspective continues its long-standing role in supporting the development of the oil and gas industry. and in delaying real emissions reductions.. Given the enormous cost, very high life-cycle emissions, and appalling toll of working as promised, there is little or no merit in pursuing CCS as a major element of the UK’s energy strategy.

Emily Shuckburgh, Director of Cambridge Zero at the University of Cambridge, who organized the letter by scientists, said: “Advancing CCS is important because some hard-to-decarbonise sectors will need it if we are to reach net zero quickly. . However, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is clear that the level of greenhouse gas emissions this decade will determine whether the temperature increase can be limited to 1.5°C. (above pre-industrial levels). In this context, our energy strategy must focus on scaling up proven renewable technologies, developing energy storage, supporting energy efficiency and reducing demand.

The government’s plans could also be subject to a legal challenge. The ‘power up Britain’ strategy is largely a response to a High Court ruling last year, when a judge agreed with campaigners that government policies at the time were inadequate to meet the legally binding commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The court ordered a rethink, with a deadline of the end of this month.

Mike Childs, policy officer at Friends of the Earth, which led the case, said lawyers would carefully review the documents and return to court if the proposals did not match. “These plans seem half-baked, half-hearted and dangerously lacking in ambition,” he warned. “These announcements will do little to boost energy security, reduce bills or put us on track to meet climate goals.”

Alok Sharma, Conservative MP and former chair of the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference, said: “The announcements made are a very welcome step in the right direction and speedy delivery is now vital. However, what we have yet to see is that big bazooka moment, commensurate with the scale of the challenge. We cannot afford to wait for the government to shape the UK’s strategic response to other countries’ green growth initiatives, such as the US Cut Inflation Act, which is helping to attract billions of private sector investments right now.


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button