The vast majority (81%) of carbon captured globally to date has been used to extract more oil via the process of Enhanced Oil Recovery, according to a new report conducted by the Tyndall Centre and commissioned by Friends of the Earth Scotland.
There are currently no operational CCS plants in the UK today, yet the UK Committee on Climate Change has plans to increase carbon capture to 176MtCO2 by 2050, this would mean quadrupling the entire current global CCS capacity.
Globally, there are just 26 CCS plants in operation, with capacity currently at around 39MtCO2 per year, this is about 0.1% of annual global emissions from fossil fuels.
In the UK Governments’ recent 10-point climate plan, Boris Johnson pledged a further £200m investment into CCS initiatives. However, following this report, Friends of the Earth are instead calling for a re-direction of investments to back a range of readily deployable renewables and energy efficiency for homes which would create more jobs, more quickly, cut climate emissions and improve people’s quality of life.
Friends of the Earth Scotland’s climate campaigner Jess Cowell said: ‘The world needs urgent cuts to climate emissions every year of this decade but CCS can’t deliver anything meaningful until the 2030s, if at all. Politicians and CCS backers in the fossil fuel industry want us to trust them with a technology with a long history of over-promising and under-delivering.
‘The shocking revelations that the small number of existing Carbon Capture plants in existence are almost all being used to increase fossil fuel extraction must give pause to anyone who is pushing this as a realistic solution to the climate crisis.
‘This report makes it clear that Carbon Capture and Storage is a dangerous distraction from the necessary action to cut climate emissions from our energy sector in this crucial decade. Instead, we need a bold plan setting out steps to phase out fossil fuel extraction and use, while ensuring a just transition for workers and communities dependent on the industry.
‘Carbon is already captured and stored underground in fossil fuels. We should be leaving it there instead of spending billions trying to invent technology to solve this problem of our own creation.’
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