A major investigation from the Environmental Audit Committee, EAC is urging the government to produce a new strategy on Carbon Capture and Storage, CCS following the cancellation of a pioneering £1bn CCS competition last year, six months before it was due to be awarded.
The EAC is calling for the Treasury to "green-check" all its decisions after the report suggested that it puts short term priorities over long term sustainability – potentially increasing costs to the economy in the future.
In particular, the EAC’s scrutiny focused on the CCS competition, stating that before the Treasury cancelled it, the Government “did not quantify all the costs and benefits of delaying CCS deployment” and this meant that the full risks of cancelling the competition were not factored into the decision.
The concluding EAC recommendation encourages a new strategy for CCS, as part of the carbon reduction plan by the end of the year in order to meet long-term climate change targets.
“This is a timely recommendation and one that we welcome” said Professor Steve Widdicombe, Head of Marine Ecology and Biodiversity research at PML. “As part of a collaborative European project researching the requirements for the environmentally safe and sustainable implementation of CCS projects, PML scientists have joined other international experts in Portugal this week for a PML-led workshop. The workshop will specifically focus on identifying what environmental measurements are needed by industry and regulators to ensure CCS activities do not have a detrimental impact on marine ecosystems. This will contribute to the overall project ‘Strategies for Environmental Monitoring of Marine Carbon Capture & Storage’ (STEMM-CCS) which was funded by the European Union and was created to help scientists, industry and regulators build guidelines for best practice, and gain new insights and tools for all phases of the CO2 storage cycle at offshore CCS sites.”
Capturing carbon dioxide and storing it underground in geological formations has been identified as one way of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2), resulting from the burning of fossil fuels and other industrial processes, therefore an important climate change mitigation strategy.
Professor Widdicombe continued: “CCS is an essential tool in tackling the problem of rising CO2 emissions and the best practices we develop from our work within the STEMM-CCS project will ensure that future CCS projects can be run in an environmentally safe way. This work is essential to provide public trust in a technology which, when deployed at an industrial scale, could contribute significantly to our fight against climate change.”