The government-devised plan claims that the UK will be able to continue extracting fossil fuels without undermining its net zero commitments by investing up to £20 billion in carbon capture, a technology that scientists have criticised for being unscalable and an unfit substitute for renewable energy.
According to the report, the UK “will be powered by renewables including wind and solar, hydrogen, power with carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) and new nuclear plants—while recognising the vital role that UK oil and gas will play in the transition.”
Following the energy crisis caused by the Russian war in Ukraine, countries and companies alike have deepened their investments in oil and gas projects to protect energy security and lower prices. The UK has joined the renewed offshore oil boom, with $7 billion (£5.6 billion) in investments into new projects in the North Sea, as well as offering tax incentives for fossil fuel investments.
The government’s renewed interest in fossil fuels is evident throughout the UK’s energy plan, with passages like “we remain absolutely committed to maximising the vital production of UK oil and gas as the North Sea basin declines.”
A continued interest in fossil fuels was reflected in the UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s recent budget announcement, which included a £20 billion package for carbon capture and storage (CCS) to store between 20 million and 30 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2030.
Carbon capture and storage
(CCS) is the process of capturing carbon dioxide emissions as they are produced and putting them into underground storage. The technology has been recognised as a key lever in limiting global temperatures by helping industries like aviation, agriculture, shipping, and industrial processes to offset their remaining emissions on the path to net zero. However, CCS is currently unscalable, expensive, and can serve as a means for companies to take advantage of offsets rather than focusing on reducing emissions at the source.
For example, British multinational oil and gas company BP has recently announced they will help develop one of the UK’s leading carbon capture projects as the Government hopes to accelerate the development of the technology in its push for its 2050 net zero targets through its Powering up Britain plan.
The oil and gas giant is paying an undisclosed sum for a 40pc stake in the Viking CCS project owned by its North Sea rival Harbour Energy. The project will take carbon dioxide emitted from factories in the Humber region and stash it in empty gas fields under the southern North Sea.
Harbour aims to store up to 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year by 2030, which is around a third of the Government’s national target.
The UK’s carbon capture-heavy plan comes shortly after the Climate Change Committee, the government’s climate adviser, described the UK as “strikingly unprepared for climate change.”
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?