Greens slam SNP reliance on carbon capture

For immediate release 14 March 2011

Claims by SNP Ministers that the North Sea could capture a century's worth of carbon dioxide from Scotland's power plants were today heavily criticised by the Green MSPs. The technology remains unproven, Greens note, and should only be considered an interim measure to reduce emissions from existing coal, oil and gas plants ahead of their early decommissioning. Research published last year concludes that "geologic sequestration of CO2 [is] a profoundly non-feasible option for the management of CO2 emissions". Coal remains exceptionally dirty to extract, with SNP Ministers having presided over a substantial increase in opencast extraction since 2007, while oil and gas prices will continue to rise over the longer term as reserves run down.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"Carbon capture and storage remains an unproven technology, yet to be demonstrated anywhere in the world, and research published last year suggests it "cannot be made feasible at any cost". With such question marks over the whole idea, SNP Ministers should not be predicting job numbers drawn up on the back of a fag packet. Scotland's renewable potential can meet our power needs almost six times over, and if we had a Government prepared to commit to that task, we could already be exporting the surplus to our neighbours. Large-scale carbon capture, even if it eventually works, risks becoming a poor excuse to keep dirty power plants running longer.

"By all means let's continue the research to see if some of the pollution from existing plants can be captured, but above all we must not allow the prospect of CCS be used to justify new coal power stations, as the SNP Government has tried to do. Ministers would be well advised to get behind renewables instead. We know they work, we know they're clean, and we know they'll bring real jobs for the long term."