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Posted by on in General
Time to Break the Chain

Since the Spending Review decision to cancel the CCS Competition, the UK Government and industry have been working hard behind the scenes to think about a new approach for CCS. Then Brexit happened. Whatever else one might surmise about the impact of this result, one thing is certain – there is likely to be a long period of upheaval and uncertainty as the UK attempts to unhinge itself from Brussels.

In some ways, this actually presents an opportunity to reinforce and reposition climate change arguments and the importance of CCS. There are positive signs that the UK is not backing down on its commitments – only last week (30th June), the Government announced that the UK will legislate for a 57% emissions reductions target for the fifth carbon budget (covering the period 2028-2032) in line with the advice of the Committee on Climate Change.

Political turmoil or not, the UK remains a signatory to the Paris Agreement and the goal of limiting the global temperature increase to well below 2°C. Meeting this goal will require serious action from all countries around the world and the UK must play its part. On the 29th June, the CCSA held an important joint workshop with the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) on “CCS Post-Paris: Realising Global Ambitions”. At this workshop, one presenter pointed to the importance of CCS in enabling countries to have “options” available by which the aim of the Paris Agreement can be met. The point was made that because CCS is essential to decarbonising industrial sectors (such as steel, cement, refining etc) as well as power, has a role to play in decarbonising heat and is the best option for producing zero-carbon hydrogen as a fuel – countries will find it exceedingly difficult to meet the Paris Agreement if CCS is not available. Furthermore, the contribution that bioenergy with CCS (bioCCS or BECCS) could make is enormous as it actually enables emissions to be removed from the atmosphere. Imagine the massive benefit this could have, particularly in terms of offsetting hard-to-decarbonise sectors such as aviation.

The big question we are now faced with in the UK (aside from the Brexit fallout of course!) is: how to get CCS on track?