National Infrastructure Commission
Government response endorses Commission vision for action on greenhouse gas removals
The government recently (Tuesday 5th July) published its formal response to the Commission’s 2021 study, Engineered greenhouse gas removals. This study recommended that government commit to the wide scale deployment of new engineered greenhouse gas removal technologies by 2030 in order to meet its climate change obligations. The Commission concluded that these technologies offer the most realistic way to mitigate emissions likely to continue in the 2040s from the hardest to abate sectors.
Given the scale of removals likely to be needed, these technologies would represent a whole new infrastructure sector that could reach revenues matching that of the UK’s water sector by 2050, the Commission found.
The Government’s response accepts the majority of the Commission’s recommendations, including plans to deploy at least 5 MtCO2 of engineered removals a year by 2030, the principle of an independent monitoring and verification regime, and the concept of a market in which polluters are incentivised or obligated to pay for greenhouse gas removals to cover their emissions – possibly through a mechanism like the UK Emissions Trading Scheme.
The Government’s response indicates it will await analysis of their consultation on business models, also published recently, before making further commitments on the policy and funding mechanisms it will use to support early deployment of a portfolio of GGR technologies. The Commission’s report argued that it is critical that as part of its policy development, government give detailed consideration to how it could avoid adverse distributional consequences for people in vulnerable circumstances and disadvantaged groups.
Nick Winser, National Infrastructure Commissioner, recently said:
“The Commission set out that engineered removals are the only way of helping ensure the hardest to abate sectors don’t hold the UK back from meeting our binding climate obligations. It is clear government acknowledges this and accepts the Commission’s analysis of the key steps needed to get this new sector up and running.
“It is particularly encouraging to see government appears ready to ensure that regulators and infrastructure operators coordinate closely in meeting future demand from engineered removals.
“We now need to see the commercial and regulatory frameworks for deploying the underlying transport and storage networks, and it is important government sticks to its own timeline of publishing these this year to allow the market to start planning with greater certainty.”
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