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Government carbon capture plans fail to add up - Conservatives

Conservatives today criticised the vagueness of the funding mechanism proposed by Government to kick-start up to four Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects.

Yesterday energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband proposed that in the future no new coal-fired powerstations should receive planning consent without including a CCS demonstration scheme on their sites.

This followed on from chancellor Alistair Darling’s budget promise that the UK would build up to four CCS demonstration schemes, and that a funding mechanism would be introduced to enable this.

However, the Government has yet to decide exactly how the funding mechanism would work. Miliband said it could be based around a feed-in tariff for CCS, so these projects would receive a fixed price for electricity, or around a fixed price for carbon abated.

Conservative shadow energy and climate change secretary Greg Clark criticised the vagueness of the plans.

“There are still gaps in [the] announcement, including the refusal to make a clear commitment to an Emissions Performance Standard, which would set a legal limit on the level of CO2 pollution that a power plant could emit,” said Clark.

“We also need to know who will pay the new consumer levy and how much will be added to fuel bills.

“The Government must now move to make up for time already lost. The US, China and Germany have pulled ahead of the UK in this vital area due to the Government’s lack of support - we cannot afford any more policy delays.”

The Government’s proposals will only be made available for consultation this summer. they were welcomed by business lobby group the CBI.

“Clean coal can now be a real option when it comes to securing Britain’s energy future,” said CBI director of business environment Neil Bentley.
“Carbon capture and storage could be a transformative technology. We know it can work on a small scale, but is not yet fully commercially viable for large plants, so we welcome this financial support for demonstration CCS projects.
“Developing carbon capture technology is important globally, as well as domestically given that coal use is growing across the world. Therefore it is right for Britain to be part of the global drive towards cleaner coal.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • Carbon capture is making a very big problem indeed for future generations to come and where these generations will look on these decisions as inept thinking of the highest standing, just as the last 12 years of New Labour.
    Sudden leaching and escape of vast quantities of carbon dioxide into the sea and atmosphere would be catastrophic for all those countries living near to the leak, and for that matter the whole world. As this carbon would be under significant pressure, there are no guarantees of long-term stability forever. Movements in the sea bed and tectonic plates, which are constantly shifting, could quite easily rupture and shatter a pressure vessel. In this respect, earthquakes have no respect for anything. Fish life would be destroyed on an unimaginable scale, not to say human life. There is also the future possibility of terrorist or aggressive attacks that could hold the country to ransom. A strategic bomb could make release inevitable. Indeed, the release of killer gases to human and living organs based upon nature, would be like creating a world in an instant of immense pollution. In this respect possibly the release of decades of life-killing pollutants within an instant.
    No one can guarantee anything forever and that is the big hole in this strategy here. Indeed, nothing ever has as the history of the world has shown. Why is it therefore that government always listens to the biggest lobby groups, the rich and powerful who will reap hundreds of billions out of this eventual disastrous state for others to address and solve (if they can) in the future.
    It is another example that 'New Labour' has rushed out to be seen as saviours but where, par for the course, they will dispatch possibly millions to a devastating state of affairs. When therefore will they learn that when corporates are involved, profits are even above human life itself. New Labour say they are leading the world. But my question is what world. It appears to be one of increasing global problems for the future and not saving humanity now.

    Dr David Hill
    World Innovation Foundation Charity
    United Kingdom
    P O Box A60, Huddersfield, HD1 1XJ, United Kingdom
    The World Innovation Foundation Charity
    Advokaturbüro Gubler Walther Leuch
    Marktgasse 38, Postfach, CH-3000 Bern 7, Switzerland
    WIF-KZ Office
    Dyman Hotel, 16th Floor, 2A, Turan Avenue, Astana, 010000, ROK

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