COVID-19: Climate committee urges investment in CCS for ‘resilient recovery’

May 10 2020

The UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has written to the UK and Scottish governments urging climate policy that delivers “resilient recovery” from the coronavirus crisis while avoiding a “lock-in” of greenhouse gas emissions.

The letters, sent by Lord Deben, Chairman of the CCC, and Baroness Brown, Chair of the CCC’s Adaptation Committee, provide advice on strengthening the economy through actions such as redeploying skilled workforces in future low-carbon industries – including carbon capture and storage (CCS) – and targeted funding for science and innovation in low-carbon technologies.

Key points that will resonate with those supporting the delivery of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technologies include the following:

  • Ensure the recovery does not "lock-in" greenhouse gas emissions or increased climate risk. Support for carbon-intensive sectors should be contingent on them taking real and lasting action on climate change, and new investments should be resilient to climate change.
  • New hydrogen and CCS infrastructure will be needed to support the next phase of the net-zero transition. Post-COVID-19 economic recovery presents an opportunity for governments, regulators and the industry to work together to accelerate these investments.
  • Strengthen incentives to reduce emissions when considering fiscal changes. Changes in tax policy can aid the transition to net-zero emissions. Revenue could be raised by setting or raising carbon prices for these sectors, and low global oil prices provide an opportunity to offset changes in relative prices without hurting consumers.
  • If suppressed oil prices continue to affect Scottish jobs in the North Sea, retrain and redeploy this highly-skilled workforce in future low-carbon industries, including carbon capture and storage (CCS).
  • Targeted science and innovation funding: research and innovation in low-carbon and adaptation technologies is crucial for achieving our climate goals, the development and diffusion of technologies internationally and driving costs down.

Rebecca Bell, Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage Policy and Research Officer, said, “This is a very welcome intervention from the CCC and confirms what we have been saying for some time: that investment in CCS will be crucial for a just transition. We are pleased that the CCC recognises the importance of the skills and expertise in the oil and gas industry in delivering CCS. This move away from producing fossil fuels to storing CO2 will be essential, regardless of what happens to oil prices. As we build a resilient, green economy in the aftermath of COVID-19, it is crucial that low-carbon infrastructure is locked in from the start."

The letters to UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, and Scotland’s environment secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, MSP, can be viewed here:

CCC letter to Boris Johnson

CCC letter to Roseanna Cunningham

UK Committee on Climate Change
Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage

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