|Prof Haszeldine at the SCCS Annual Conference in Edinburgh last week. Photo: Will Robb|
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change yesterday made its starkest prediction yet that the world faces "severe, pervasive and irreversible" damage from the impact of climate change unless electricity is sourced from low-carbon technologies by 2050.
The IPCC's Synthesis Report, published in Copenhagen on Sunday, also stated that fossil fuel power generation without Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) should be "phased out almost entirely by 2100" if global warming is to be limited to a 2C rise. The report pointed out that any mitigation attempts would require substantial emissions reductions over the next few decades and near zero emissions of greenhouse gases by the end of the century.
SCCS Director Prof Stuart Haszeldine (pictured), interviewed on the BBC News last night, said:
Momentum is growing fast [on CCS] but we need to go faster. Effectively, we've lost a decade on this because the first commercial plants to capture carbon from electricity generating were proposed in the middle 2000s, but it's taken governments ten years to work out how to finance this.
The technology is there, so we know how to do that. Countries like the UK have worked out how to pay the running costs [of commercial-scale CCS]. You do that with two methods, which governments worldwide need to adopt. They don't need to wait for a global climate change agreement. Firstly, they need to set a target for how much carbon they want to capture by 2030. And secondly, they need to find a way to pay for that and it's clear that you do that [through] an extra price on electricity, just like we're paying a bit extra for wind power and nuclear.
The extra cost if we decarbonise the whole of the UK power [sector with CCS] is £120 per household per year. That's a small price to pay for a huge insurance, and to cut a third of the UK's emissions.
Politicians have talked and talked and expected this to be delivered for nothing. We don't tip our rubbish into the street and expect someone else to clean it up. So we shouldn't be tipping all our carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. We have to pay a bit more to capture it, and this will create green jobs in one of the fastest growing areas for investment in the UK."