House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee Fifth Carbon Budget Enquiry: Submission by Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage

Robert Haszeldine, Vivian Scott

Research output: Working paper


• More than a decade of UK state R&D investment, totalling in excess of £250 million, has shown CCS to be effective, achievable and strategically beneficial to UK objectives. • The cancellation in November 2015 of the UK Government’s £1 billion CCS capital allocation is an unforeseen and fundamental change to UK energy and climate policy, carried out without consultation. • UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) advice was framed in expectation of UK CCS commercialisation programme delivery leading to routine delivery of the technology on electricity generation and some process industries towards 2030s. • Removal of the CCS contribution towards the Fifth Carbon Budget and beyond severely limits flexibility in the delivery of other low-carbon generation, especially new nuclear where forecast delivery is increasingly in doubt – the CCC and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) should consider the impact of scenarios with no CCS and delayed nuclear capacity. • There appears to be a misinterpretation by government of CCS as a technology that could be purchased as and when required, when it is in fact a core low-carbon enabling infrastructure requiring strategic development. • In the absence of a clear CCS pathway, there is a risk that investors in new gas capacity will price in increased risk of reduced plant operation due to carbon budget constraints, and increasing the cost to consumers. • The siting of any new gas plant, subject to capture readiness, should be assessed with respect to the viability (and cost) of pipeline and/or shipping connection to identified and secure CO2 storage sites. • There is now no pathway to decarbonising high-emission industries. Government should urgently investigate and evaluate the potential to connect, in a stepwise manner, CO2 emissions from industrial sources to storage. • The UK delegation to the Paris UNFCCC climate talks presented the UK Climate Change Act as exemplar of national action, so this must be implemented domestically. The Paris Agreement increases climate change mitigation ambition. As a member of the “high ambition coalition” the UK should work towards net zero emissions by 2050 rather than an 80% reduction. • Setting the Fifth Carbon Budget as advised does not secure either the 80% or 100% reductions trajectory. It is technology and especially infrastructure choices informed by a long-term view towards the 2050 goal that should receive attention in this debate.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

Publication series

NameSCCS Working Papers
No.WP SCCS 2016-03


  • CCS
  • UK energy policy
  • 5th carbon budget
  • UK Committee on Climate Change


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