UKCCSC News 4 December 2008

Hi Folks, Almost a month since the last news, so this one’s a bit longer than usual. First (and foremost?) the UKCCSC homepage has slipped to the number 2 hit on Google for ‘carbon capture and storage’, behind Wikipedia. We’re still ahead on ‘CCS’! I don’t suppose that even putting the abstracts etc from the UKCCSC closure meeting will fix the problem…


1) Mr Obama (he’s not yet Mr President, there’s only 1 of those) has changed the course of US climate policy drastically:

“Obama brings US in from the cold” Independent (20 Nov)

Shouldn’t that be brings them in from the increasing heat?

“”We will establish strong annual targets that set us on a course to reduce emissions to their 1990 levels by 2020 and reduce them by an additional 80 percent by 2050,” he said. Mr Obama had made his support for action clear as a presidential candidate, but he has now spelled out new yearly targets.”

Obama is keen on CCS too.

2) Thanks to Hannah for a round up of what has happened in the UK Parliament recently:

Both the Energy and Climate Change Bills are now law. The following URLs lead to summaries that will give enough info for most people:


Also, the pre-budget report contained some mention of energy including a very minimal mention of CCS…

Video of speech at the bottom. Energy was mainly focussed on efficiency and demand side. RO has been extended by 10 years. Chancellor specifically mentioned that renewables and nuclear would be part of the future, but said nothing about CCS. I (Hannah) had a look for CCS in the relevant chapter of the report and all I found was as below. Note timing of promise (and scale) on the demo.

7.19 Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a key technology for tackling global emissions and has the potential to reduce emissions from fossil fuel power stations by up to 90 per cent. The Government is supporting proposals in the EU to provide funding for up to 12 demonstration projects and to provide an EU-wide regulatory framework for the geological storage of carbon dioxide. The Energy Bill will provide the Government with the powers to permit offshore storage of carbon dioxide from electricity generation. In November 2007, the Government launched a competition to design and build a full-scale demonstration of the full capture, transport and storage chain. The procurement exercise is ongoing.

Table 7.3 – CCS has the potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power stations by up to 90 per cent. The CCS demonstration will deliver savings of 0.7 MtCO2 per year by 2020 (not additional to EU ETS cap).

3) The BBC commissioned a questionnaire for ‘energy experts’, the most interesting question (OK, it’s not actually a question) from a CCS perspective was: 7. Carbon capture and storage is unlikely to prove viable for either technical or financial reasons. Result: Agreed 2; Disagreed 21; Undecided 8


4) Another of those annoying stories involving substantial academic funding going to someone else…

“Bank of America Announces Cleaner Coal Partnership With the Harvard University Center for the Environment” MarketWatch (3 Dec)

“The collaboration, which includes a $1 million grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, will support the development of a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Action Plan.”


And as if that wasn’t enough…


“This collaboration is part of Bank of America’s $20 billion, 10-year environmental initiative to address climate change through lending, investing, the creation of new products and services, operations and philanthropy.”


5) The Sussex Energy Group has published the latest in its series of policy briefings – on UK Government policy for CCS.

Five (edited) key messages are:

  1. The government is right to support CCS technologies. CCS could substantially reduce global emissions, especially in China, India and the USA.
  2. The construction of new coal-fired plants without CCS would damage the UK’s international leadership on climate change and be inconsistent with long term emissions reduction targets.
  3. Energy security arguments are not sufficient to justify new coal plants without CCS.
  4. Requiring new coal fired plants to be ‘capture ready’ is not sufficient.
  5. Additional policies are required to support CCS deployment.

6) This one will run and run…

“Setback for carbon-trapping technology in EU talks (Guardian 14 Nov)

“France, which holds the rotating EU presidency, said a European Parliament proposal to give around 10 billion euros ($12.7 billion) to power generators to explore the technology should be scaled back by some two thirds.”

7) More news on the ETS-permit front, with the UK being (I think) the first EU country auctioning permits sometime from November:

“The UK government is to auction carbon emissions permits to power firms in a sale projected to raise between 1.5 and 2bn euros (£1.2-1.6bn) by 2014.” BBC (18 Nov)

Norway will put its revenue into its windfall fund, the Netherlands will shield low-energy users from the increased price of green electricity, the UK will pocket the cash and run?

“The Treasury is being warned that if it keeps the money, it risks fuelling public cynicism about green taxes. A coalition of green groups and business leaders is demanding proceeds fund a green energy revolution.”

8) They could use the cash to help the poorer parts of UK society? The UK’s Committee on Climate Change chaired by Adair Turner has worked out that ‘green’ energy is more expensive than the conventional stuff.

“UK climate targets to hit household bills-gvt adviser” Guardian (Dec 1)

“Turner said there was a strong economic case for nuclear power and that new coal-fired power stations should only be built if they can be fitted with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology by the early 2020s.”

“Turner told Reuters he was optimistic that CCS technology can be developed by 2020, saying that the government has to legislate on the assumption that CCS will be in place”

9) Proving that no news is good news:

“Greenhouse gases could rise 45 per cent, IEA say” Telegraph (17 Nov)

“The IEA’s World Energy Outlook report says increasing demand and use of energy is unsustainable and has to be curbed.”

The report can be purchased at:

10) Can you have your cake and eat it? Apparently so in politics, where you can promise to reduce carbon emissions by 80% in the dim and distant future but also have a completely conflicting priority.

“But Mr Miliband [UK Climate and Energy Secretary] said that the government’s “top priority” was to prevent a major blackout of energy supply and called the Tories’ opposition to new coal “dogmatic”.” New Energy Focus (13 Nov)

That’s new coal without CCS the Tories oppose, at least while they are in opposition and not facing the wrath of power companies over costs.

11) Yet another large-sum-of-cash story. I guess this isn’t a grant in the normal sense of the word, but it’s a sizeable wad no matter what the currency:

Montanan State University “…receives $67 million grant for carbon-capture research” Great Falls Tribune (18 Nov)

“The funds will be used by the Big Sky Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership to conduct a large-volume test to demonstrate the ability of a geologic formation to safely, permanently and economically store more than 2 million tons of carbon dioxide”

12) And one for the engineers, just to stop them whinging.

“Toshiba to build pilot plant for carbon dioxide-capture technology” EnvironmentalResearchWeb (Dec 3)

“Construction of the plant is scheduled to start in spring 2009, and the commissioning and validation testing is expected to begin in August.”

That’s all again. Mark

Consortium and Network