Labour tell Tories to frack off and keep it clean
London Transport, London, UK - photo credit - Matt Obee, http://unsplash.io
Welcome to the thirteenth edition of my weekly blog where I take a closer look at the policies adopted by individual countries in their efforts to meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement. Particular attention is paid to the role that Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage (CCUS) research and technologies are playing in the drive to meet these requirements.
This week we take a look at the UK post-BREXIT. We will explore the potential impact of BREXIT on Paris Agreement targets and examine the promises major political parties made in their election manifestos with respect to Environment and Climate Change. We will also take a look at CCUS projects ongoing in the UK today.
According to Annex I of the Conference of Parties twenty-first session (COP21), UK was the eleventh highest emitting nation of CO2 into the atmosphere based on data submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) ahead of COP21 in December 2015
So what impact will BREXIT have on Paris Agreement targets? In July 2016, the EU unveiled a Paris Agreement target to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% of 1990 levels by 2030. Each member country, including the UK, were given individual emissions reduction targets that in aggregate would accumulate to the overall EU goal. The UK’s decision to invoke Article 50 of the EU constitution and thus leave the EU has major implications for the remaining 27 member states in relation to Paris Agreement targets. Because the UK was the second largest emitter in the EU, now that the UK is no longer a member state the individual country targets for the remaining 27 countries will need to be revised upwards so that the EU can meet their target on a combined basis. In relation to the UK itself, it has made a long-term commitment to reduce CO2 emissions by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050.
UK Election 2017
The Conservative party pledged to diversify the economy’s sources of energy production. They want to further develop the UK’s wind energy sector off-shore and not onshore. Interestingly, the Conservatives have cited how the US reduce its cost of gas production through shale fracking and see this as an avenue towards cheaper and cleaner fuel. They also plan to establish a shale regulator to oversee this industry.
In their election manifesto The Labour party promised to ban fracking if elected as they want to move away from energy that is sourced from fossil fuels citing the Committee on Climate Change’s aim for a sharp decline in gas production from 2030 onwards. Labour explicitly highlight Carbon Capture and Storage technology as a way forward that can aid the transition to cleaner fuels and safeguard jobs. They promised to support future nuclear projects and protect existing employment in this sector. They also pledged to deliver a Clean Air Act “to deal with the Conservative legacy of illegal air quality”.
UK CCUS Projects
Carbon Capture Machine, based out of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland has developed a carbon capture and utilisation technology that converts CO2 emissions in solid carbonate for use in the making of products such as animal feedstocks. In week 11, we highlighted how Samsung had taken a 15% stake in a £5bn carbon capture and storage power plant project in Hatfield, South Yorkshire UK. This plant is scheduled to be operational in 2020 and will capture millions of tonnes of CO2 for storage offshore in the North Sea oil fields. As mentioned in last week’s blog, Mexico and Scotland announced a partnership agreement in which their scientists would share CCUS research with each other.
The UK has been a long time champion of climate change tackling measures and has invested in CCUS projects. On the face of it, BREXIT should not greatly impact their internal policies towards reducing CO2 emissions as the Conservatives and Labour parties are committed to meeting Paris Agreement targets. The re-election of the Conservative Party to power will be interesting, as the Conservative Party are pro-fracking and the Labour Party wanted to outlaw this practice. The overall objective of each party in relation to this area is to source energy for the UK economy as cost effectively and environmentally friendly as possible. If the respective election manifestos were anything to go by, a Labour Party victory would have led to a slightly cleaner economy.
Next week’s blog will profile Indonesia and their efforts to meet their CO2 emissions reduction targets.