October 26, 2009
Dear Mr. Miliband,
Regarding ‘Copenhagen needs CCS‘:
While I agree that CCS appears to be an attractive technology, which could one day make significant contributions to reducing emissions, it is also being used as a Trojan horse by energy companies. By promising future reductions in emissions (say in 10-15 years time), they seek to get permission for new coal power stations (such as Kingsnorth in Kent).
In addition, despite the energy companies’ claims that CCS works and will be installed, they demand massive support from the taxpayer and guarantees that they will not be forced to switch off their polluting coal power if it does not work. Both demands are unacceptable.
By all means let the public support CCS research and demonstration, but there must be no more handouts to one of the world’s most polluting industries (over and above the billions they have made from the EU emissions trading scheme).
In addition, all existing power stations should be retrofitted, or closed. The UK provides a third of its electricity from coal. We could easily substitute this with offshore wind and gas (with combined heat and power, this would be a huge boost), while we perfect the research on new coal.
As for industry-sponsored reports about the lights going out? Well, the government has a 20% efficiency target – if we hit that, and had a modest expansion of renewables, I think we could probably keep the lights on.
Alasdair CameronLetters to the EurActiv editor