The Politics and Policy of Carbon Capture and Storage
Edited by James Meadowcroft and Oluf Langhelle
7. CCS in the UK: squaring coal use with climate change? Ivan Scrase and Jim Watson Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies have recently risen to prominence in UK energy and climate policy debates. For many years these technologies were repeatedly dismissed as impractical or costly, but the rationales for policy support have now strengthened. CCS technologies are now seen as a critical element of the UK’s response to the twin challenges of climate change and energy security. In 2009 the government announced that no new coal-fired power station will be built in the UK unless it demonstrates CCS on at least 400MW of its gross capacity. Support for these technologies is not only driven by national policy concerns, but is also influenced by the government’s position in international climate change diplomacy. Part of the transition in the fortunes of CCS is due to a greater awareness of CCS technologies and some progress in their development. But as these drivers imply, the political context and understanding of the social problems to which policy should respond have changed radically too. These now favour CCS technologies which offer significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions while allowing the continued use of fossil fuels. While CCS has potential applications in abating emissions from the use of natural gas in power stations and industry, the emphasis within this chapter is on coal since in the UK CCS has been approached principally as a ‘cleaner coal’ technology. The policy landscape is still rapidly evolving, and concrete actions...
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