David Cameron on Carbon Capture and Storage

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In June 2008 the leader of the British Conservative Party, David Cameron, unveiled what was dubbed his "Blue Green Charter" outlining his environment policy. In it Cameron outlined his full support for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and a commitment to require new power stations to meet a mandatory "carbon emissions rate" equal to or lower that from power "generated in a modern gas plant."

"Such a standard would mean that a new generation of unabated coal power plants could not be built in this country," he said.[1]Cameron explained that this approach was modeled on California's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Performance Standard (California).

Carbon Policy Comments

The full text of the "Carbon Capture" section of his from his speech is as follows:

"The second example of the potential power of markets and innovation is carbon capture and storage. Right now, our generation has the chance to change our whole relationship with coal and transform the way we generate energy. By capturing the carbon dioxide produced in generation and burying it underground, CCS could reduce our coal-based carbon emissions by up to eighty-five percent. We really could get the energy we need without harming our environment."
"This isn't a distant dream. CCS is truly within our grasp. And we in Britain have got what it takes to make that a reality. We've got an army of experts who have worked for decades in the energy sector. We've got a manufacturing and energy industry that wants to invest and get things going. What's more, we've got the depleted oil and gas fields in the North Sea in which to store the carbon."
"But again, all industry and business are getting from the Government are mixed messages. They're saying "yes" to unabated coal at Kingsnorth. But "well…maybe….erm…we're not sure" to BP and Scottish and Southern's planned gas CCS plant at Peterhead, before seeing it go to California. Oh…but they want a single CCS demonstration project competition. No wonder that E.On announced they would make no further decision on Kingsnorth until the Government made it clear what their policy on it was."
"Compare this confusion to the clarity in California. Governor Schwarzenegger's made it explicitly clear that new coal plants cannot be built without CCS. And as a spur to CCS innovation, he's brought into law the California Greenhouse Gas Emissions Performance Standard. It requires all new power generation serving that state to have emissions no greater than 500 kg of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour. That's the equivalent of a modern gas-fired power plant - the cleanest and most efficient of the hydro-carbon technologies."
"The thinking is simple: just like we have standards set for fridges and other appliances, so too should the energy industry have its own minimum performance standards…and then it's up to the market to compete. That's the right solution for the post-bureaucratic age: non-prescriptive, setting a standard, letting the market do its job. It sends a clear signal that dirty energy has no future in the market, that the cost on carbon pollution is here to stay and that long-term investment decisions must take this into account. This is what we need here - the certainty for businesses to invest in new technology."
"So that's why I can announce today that a Conservative Government will follow the Californian model, and implement an Emissions Performance Standard. This would mean the carbon emissions rate of all electricity generated in our country cannot be any higher than that generated in a modern gas plant. Such a standard would mean that a new generation of unabated coal power plants could not be built in this country."
"And I can also announce that a Conservative Government would take money from the auctioned EU Emissions Trading Scheme credits and use it to fund at least three CCS demonstration projects over the next five to ten years. But I don't just want to wait until we're in government to us on the path to CCS. I want to do all that we can in opposition."
"Right now, there's a massive barrier to the development of CCS in our country. The work to establish which potential sites could be used for storage is very technical, very expensive and there is limited expertise to do it. What's more, there is also no agreement on who should pay for this scoping work - the government or the oil and gas companies? As a result, it's not being done."
"So we're going to set up a panel of experts to advise on how to move matters forward - that way, CCS can be a reality sooner, rather than later, and in Britain rather than everywhere else. And be clear what that means. By making Britain one of the world's test-beds for CCS, we could be global pioneers in both pre- and post-combustion technologies and export our expertise worldwide."
"By funding three demonstration projects, we could have the beginning of a CCS pipeline system which future British - and European - companies could plug into. And by sending out the clearest market signal yet to UK power developers that their product must be clean, we can propel further innovation within our energy sector. So harnessing the power of markets and innovation by giving businesses a secure framework for investment."
"That's the way we'll get greener cars. That's how we'll get greener coal. That's what I mean when I say we can go green and strengthen our economy at the same time."

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