• Environmental groups criticise UK CCS plans

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Environmental groups Global Witness and Friends of the Earth Scotland have argued that the UK government’s push to deploy carbon capture and storage cannot be expected “to make a meaningful contribution to 2030 climate targets”, and that even if “deployed on a massive scale at a scarcely credible rate” it would “only start to deliver too late”. The groups also pointed to work that highlights the over-promising and under-delivering record of CCS technology, and criticised CCS for not being net-zero. Instead, the groups recommend a focus on renewable energies and energy efficiency for buildings.  While it is true that CCS deployment has been disappointing to date and most CCS installations are not zero-carbon but instead reduce carbon dioxide emissions by around 90%, it is perhaps more revealing to focus on a different question – without CCS, how would carbon emissions be reduced in industries such as steel and cement? If CCS technology is not developed and refined soon, how will it be available when widely and even more urgently needed? Furthermore, how would ‘negative’ emissions be achieved, which may play small but significant role in the fight against climate change? The UK government’s response was that CCS and renewables “are not mutually exclusive, but work hand-in-hand. Indeed, the independent Committee on Climate Change described [CCS] as ‘a necessity, not an option’.”