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Categorized under: Decarbonized Fossil Energy

CATF’s Statement on UK Green Recovery Plan

CLEAN AIR TASK FORCE SUPPORTS UK GOVERNMENT’S GREEN RECOVERY PLAN FOR ITS EMPHASIS ON ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE

PLAN CALLS OUT CARBON CAPTURE AND HYDROGEN AS KEY TECHNOLOGIES IN CLIMATE MITIGATION EFFORTS

LONDON, November 18, 2020 — Clean Air Task Force (CATF) finds a great deal of optimism in the UK government’s Green Recovery plan that also directly addresses the climate crisis, especially by its inclusion of carbon capture and hydrogen technologies in its carbon-neutral energy roadmap. The government’s 10-point plan, released on November 17, includes an additional £200M, cumulating to a £1bn total investment into carbon capture and storage and £500M into low carbon hydrogen, endorsing these methods as a necessary component of attaining net-zero goals. In particular, the plan provides funding for multiple industrial clusters including potentially Teesside, Humber, Port Talbot, Merseyside and Mansfield, to pioneer the decarbonization of the transport, industry and power sectors.

“The UK government’s announcement today highlights the importance of planning and investing in CO2 infrastructure and carbon capture to achieve net-zero emissions.  The UK government’s plan to foster public-private partnerships around large-scale carbon capture and decarbonizing industrial clusters demonstrates that it is ready to support the commercialization of much needed advanced energy technologies.  The urgent need to decarbonize requires implementing these plans immediately,” said Lee Beck, CCUS Policy Innovation Director at Clean Air Task Force.

CATF believes that carbon capture and storage and low carbon hydrogen technology are complementary to existing measures and that leveraging established technologies will accelerate the attainment of net-zero carbon goals. CATF is particularly encouraged by the plan’s ‘all of the above’ approach to climate solutions, in that no pathways are off the table.  Specifically, we strongly endorse their focus on another initiative to develop zero carbon liquid fuels for shipping and possibly aviation.

“Synergies between carbon capture, low-carbon hydrogen production, and industrial clusters could reduce decarbonization costs for all consumers,” said Mike Fowler, Director of Advanced Energy Technology Research at CATF. “We are encouraged that the UK government plan appears to embrace those synergies at key sites, which could pay dividends both for the UK and also for global innovation.”

However, in order for the UK to achieve carbon neutrality, the UK needs to immediately cut methane emissions associated with natural gas development and use. Even under the most optimistic scenarios for the growth of renewables, gas is expected to play a major role in the UK’s energy supply for decades.  Because methane mitigation can do so much to reduce the rate of warming we will experience over the next few decades, it is critical that the UK clean up the methane and all other emissions from its gas development and consumption.  In a post-2050 decarbonized world, gas, in conjunction with carbon capture, may play a key role as a source for dispatchable electricity or zero-carbon fuel, and thus we must deal now with methane pollution.

CATF agrees that the UK government’s endorsement of a portfolio of decarbonization technologies raises their profiles and demonstrates that first movers in decarbonization can draw in additional actors in the carbon capture, transport, and storage value chain, multiplying climate impact. CATF supports the overall goal to establish a fully functional global energy system with net-zero emissions into the atmosphere by mid-century, while still able to produce the energy needed at an affordable cost.