Is carbon capture and storage a fossil fuel industry fig leaf or vital for net zero plans?


Is carbon capture and storage a fossil fuel industry fig leaf or vital for net zero plans?

Depending on who you talk to, carbon capture and storage (CCS) is either a fig leaf for the oil and gas industry or a vital part of the shift to net zero.

The PM has announced millions of pounds for the Acorn carbon capture project today – a joint venture between Shell and other firms.

The prime minister also confirmed hundreds of new licences for North Sea oil and gas exploration – putting down a marker against Labour plans to stop new drilling.

In essence, carbon capture technology is about removing carbon dioxide from industrial processes and smoke stacks, and pumping it into depleted oil and gas fields a mile or so below the seabed.

It would be locked up in rocks rather than adding to global warming in the atmosphere.

Is carbon capture and storage a fossil fuel industry fig leaf or vital for net zero plans?

CCS hasn’t been done at scale before and it will be expensive at first.

But Norway and some other countries are also racing to start up schemes to meet their climate obligations.

Rishi Sunak defends oil drilling expansion as critics warn of climate consequences

The supporters of the technology say it could make industries that can’t be decarbonised, such as cement production, far more sustainable.

It could also remove many of the greenhouse gas emissions that result from turning natural gas into cleaner hydrogen.

But green groups warn that could sustain the production of fossil fuels into the long term.

They want oil and gas left in the ground as soon as possible – and say CCS is a distraction from reducing carbon across the economy.

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