The UK’s prime minister flies to northeast Scotland today to announce millions of pounds of funding for a carbon capture and storage scheme designed to create jobs and help Britain reach net zero by 2050. Rishi Sunak and his team say there’s no way to get to net zero without CCS. Without eliminating carbon-intensive industries like steel and cement making from the UK economy, they’re probably right. But today’s announcement should come with three health warnings. First, it coincides with a plan reported in the Times to issue 100 more North Sea oil and gas drilling licences, helping to neutralise any carbon capture achieved off Aberdeen. Second, as the FT reports, Team Sunak has quietly lowered the UK’s price of carbon pollution for big emitters by increasing their CO2 allowances, further slowing progress towards net zero. Third, there’s still no large-scale commercially viable CCS scheme anywhere in the world, other than those run by companies like Equinor and Chevron to maximise extraction of oil and gas from existing fields. To be viable, they need big state subsidies to support a carbon price at or near $100 a tonne. Sunak’s millions are nowhere near that.
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