Richard North, 27/04/2012  

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Taken at face value – or at any value – this story does not make sense. The UK is trying to kick-start CCS in this country at a cost of £1 billion – against complaints that the sum is not enough to get the project up and running.

And from Calgary, Alberta, we get news that TransAlta Corp has abandoned plans to build a C$1.4 billion ($1.42 billion) carbon capture and storage facility at an Alberta coal-fired electricity plant because it could find no buyers for the carbon dioxide and no way to sell emission-reduction credits.

Yet the Green Boy is spending £60 million of our money for developing countries "to build carbon capture and storage (CCS) plants". The money, we are told, will go towards demonstrating the technology, "which involves burying carbon emissions from fossil fuel power stations", but has yet to be used at a large power station.

Now, we haven't been able to get this system working yet, even with a billion on the table. And, with the billion-plus Canadian scheme falling apart, what is the £60 million supposed to do for developing countries? They might be able to get CCS up and running cheaper, but not that cheap. And the money is supposedly for plants (plural).

Fortunately, no amount of money is likely to get this system running, and nor would we want it to. It increases fuel consumption (and electricity generation costs) by anything from 40-100 percent, which means it can't survive without subsidies, which we will have to pay.

The madness of this is self-evident, investing money in order to increase the costs of production. And if we can't afford this, developing countries certainly can't.

So the question remains. What is this £60 million for? You can't buy CCS for such a sum, and it wouldn't do any good if you could. So why is Cameron giving away £60 million of our money for such a fatuous project when, even if it was being sensibly spent, it couldn't achieve anything?

As always, it seems, we are being taken for fools. This looks very much like token spending, just so the "Green Tosser" can look good at an international ministerial meeting which he is chairing in London. And I'm afraid that simply isn't good enough.


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