The Chancellor has stated (writing in the Independent 21 April 2006) that “The environmental challenge must be moved to the centre of policy”. The UK has domestic targets for CO2 reduction of 20% by 2010, and 60% by 2050. In contrast to these aspirations, CO2 emissions have fallen by 15%, but are now increasing (DEFRA 2006). Private car fuel costs, with CO2 emissions, have barely changed since 1985 (85p then to 95p/litre now), and air travel is rising.
If the UK is serious about reducing CO2 emissions in the short or medium term, then it is clear that existing policies are either not working or are too slow to act.
Electricity generation comprises about one third of UK CO2 emissions, and so must be seriously considered as a target for large scale emission reductions. The benefits of this are large single-site reductions, compared to wind generation or to efficiency savings. To illustrate the size of this opportunity for CO2 emissions reduction the BP-Peterhead proposition, for 350MW low carbon electricity with CCS, can be calculated to avoid as much CO2 as all wind generation active in the UK during 2005
The question could be framed as: “Is now a good enough time to deploy one or several full-scale pilots in the UK?” A full analysis, published 2006, is contained in the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee Report 578i, and the Government reply 1036.