Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Written Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Greenpeace (U40)

INTRODUCTION

  1.  Greenpeace thanks the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee for the opportunity to contribute to their review of the policies of the United Kingdom Government to address the challenge of climate change, and also the Government's activities in the international arena to drive forward the international response to the issue.

  2.  Greenpeace is an independent non-profit global campaigning organisation that uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems and their causes. We research the solutions and alternatives to help provide a path for a green and peaceful future.

  3.  Our submission examines the opportunities for alternatives to carbon fuels and concludes that the fiscal regime for energy production needs to support the development and use of renewable energy, while carbon sequestration and nuclear power do not have the potential to combat serious climate change. Sequestration and nuclear are needless distractions in the climate change debate. The UK Presidencies of the G8 and EU in 2005 offer immense opportunities for advancing climate change policy internationally.

  4.  While the review of the UK Government Climate Change Programme has been scheduled for some time, recent developments in both the areas of climate politics and climate science makes this review especially significant. The decision of the Russian Government to forward the Kyoto Protocol to the Duma for ratification, as well the Prime Minister's renewed commitment to take action on climate change add to the urgency of the review both in the global and the national context. Russian ratification will mean that the protocol will come into force and the 11th meeting of the parties will also be the first Conference of the Parties of a legally binding protocol to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

  5.  In the meantime, the renewed and intensifying interest of the Prime Minister in climate change is reflected in the activities of the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, who has publicly indicated that climate change is a "greater threat than global terrorism"[115]. In his recent speech on climate change the Prime Minister robustly expressed his strengthening views on the threat of climate change: he described it as "a challenge so far-reaching in its impact and irreversible in its destructive power, that it alters radically human existence"[116].

  6.  What is the extent of this threat? The history of the political processes to mitigate human impact on the climate has been dogged by two significant failures: the first is the failure to engage effectively the United States in the multilateral process to reduce carbon emissions (we will return to this challenge later in this document). The second challenge has been to define adequately "dangerous climate change". This is the objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, as expressed (but not defined) in article 2.[117]

  7.  The ongoing work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has however increased the global understanding of the causes and impacts of climate change. While a global political consensus on what constitutes dangerous interference with the climate system may still be some way off, both the European Union as a whole and Margaret Beckett, the UK Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs[118] have accepted a definition of dangerous climate change. Accepting such a definition effectively sets a cap on global emissions[119].

  8.  Global average mean surface temperature increases must be kept below the threshold of 2ºC above pre-industrial levels and reduced as fast as possible thereafter. To exceed this threshold would have dramatic implications for people, ecosystems and species across the world.

  9.  An increase of just 2ºC could, by the 2050s, result in an additional[120]:

    —  228 million people at risk from malaria;

    —  12 million at risk from hunger as crop yields fall;

    —  2,240 million at risk from water shortages, particularly in the sub-tropics; and

    —  20 million at risk from coastal flooding.

  10.  To stay within this 2º limit, dramatic reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the developed world are necessary: reductions in the order of 30% need to be achieved by 2018. While this target is ambitious, it does fit within the context of another ambitious target identified by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) already endorsed by the Government in the Energy White Paper of 2003.[121] The RCEP has identified a doubling of atmospheric carbon as the limits of acceptable human impact on the climate. While this represents a target that may exceed the 2º limit (depending on climate sensitivity), the emission cuts required to achieve such an objective are similar: such a target will "imply a reduction of 60% from current annual carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 and perhaps of 80% by 2100".[122] Such reductions indicate the inadequacy of the current Kyoto protocol commitment to reduce emissions from the developed world by just 5.2% by 2012.

  11.  The UK Government has been proud of its position as a "market leader" in the global political process to protect the climate. The role of the UK government in the negotiation of the Kyoto protocol in 1997 and the current UK Climate Change Programme[123]—designed to produce emissions reductions of 20% by 2010 (a commitment beyond the call of Kyoto) have been used by Government to justify this claim. While this positioning around the issue of climate change is welcome, an examination of current performance raises serious questions about the capacity of the UK to meet its obligations on climate change. In this context the review of the UK Climate Change Programme is not just a timely opportunity but necessary for a fundamental re-assessment of UK action on climate change.

  12.  Emission trends within the UK are not promising for meeting the challenging future emissions reductions necessary to avoid dangerous climate change. Even meeting the self-imposed target of 20% carbon reduction by 2010 is not assured. Reductions since 1990 have been achieved largely because of the switch of electricity generating capacity to gas from coal fired stations. Other sectors have not been as successful in exploiting potential reductions in emissions, and UK performance on climate change and related issues must be considered in this context.

  13. The list of areas where UK aspiration must be higher is significant. The failure to exploit the huge potential resource of energy efficiency, a moratorium on new gas stations, the slow progress in developing wind power (and other renewable energy resources) in the UK, combined with the failure to control the growth in the road and air transport sectors has meant that UK carbon emissions actually rose from 2002-03.[124] At the same time, the UK must be robust when considering some of the huge potential opportunity costs in the climate change policy area. In this context it is important to examine the real potential of the nuclear industry to play a role in responding to climate change as well as the relatively new issue of carbon sequestration.

  14.  The Prime Minister has set out an ambitious agenda for UK leadership in all areas of climate change. The UK Climate Change Programme can potentially deliver enormous social and economic benefits in the medium term for the UK—based on exploiting both the UK's abundant renewable energy resources and the capacity within the UK for industrial and business innovation and delivery. The aggressive pursuit of this sector could deliver significantly to job creation and industrial development, but little has been done so far to develop that potential.[125]

  15.  The Prime Minister has also laid out an ambition to take a lead in the international community, both at the EU and G8 level. Realising these ambitions will not be easy, and will require significant investment of both financial and political capital. But in addition to committing appropriate resources to meet this challenge, the Prime Minister and the Government will need to assess the political and social challenges presented by climate change.

  16.  To be successful in leading both the G8 and EU processes over the next year:

    —  The UK must aggressively pursue domestic reduction targets, as well as laying the groundwork for future ambitious cuts into the second decade of the century.

    —  At the G8, the UK must ensure agreement on a definition of dangerous human interference with the climate (as required by the UNFCC)—and go far beyond the demands of the Kyoto Protocol. This must be a commitment to limit global warming to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, linked to emission reductions that will meet that objective. The G8 can't (and in any case should not) determine the future emissions of the developing world, but can provide resources to make sure that everything possible to promote development there without making the climate situation worse.

    —  The UK must commit to ensuring EU leadership—both at the G8 meeting and throughout the EU presidency following the G8 meeting—on climate issues. Successful action on climate change is dependent upon engaging the United States—the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, with a relatively small percentage of global population—in the political and technical processes that will address the challenges of climate change. This will only be possible if the EU is robust in response to ongoing US refusal to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases and to engage the global political processes responding to climate change.

  17.  Additionally, Greenpeace would like to submit analysis of and recommendations for several specific areas of UK climate and energy policy:

    —  Renewable Energy—an overview of potential pathways (paragraphs 20-40).

    —  An examination of the role nuclear energy in responding to climate change (paragraphs 41-58).

    —  The implications and drawbacks of dependence on carbon sequestration technology (paragraphs 59-62).

  18.  It is now almost a truism that climate change is the most challenging and potentially catastrophic environmental problem facing the world. It is also an opportunity for genuine leadership from the UK in political and commercial/industrial terms. The most pressing question now faced by the UK is how we address that challenge and whether or not we make the most of the opportunities that are part of that challenge.

  19.  Energy generation within the UK is at a crossroads. In order to make our contribution to keeping the global temperature increase below two degrees, we have a limited period in which to undertake the radical overhaul of UK energy generation required to reduce carbon emissions at the rate and extent necessary without jeopardising security of energy supply.

  20.  The following comments must be viewed in light of the lack of development in other sectors where significant carbon reduction potential remains untapped. Government efforts to implement an effective programme of demand reduction in both domestic and commercial sectors, as well as future action to curb increases in emissions from both aviation and road transport will have an impact on the scale of intervention necessary in the electricity generation sector. If there is a massive uptake of energy efficiency measures combined with significant reductions in transport emissions, the burden of action on electricity generation will be reduced. To date action on both demand reduction and transport has been extremely limited, so the bulk of cuts in greenhouse gas emissions will continue to fall on the electricity supply sector.

RENEWABLE ENERGY: AN OVERVIEW OF POTENTIAL PATHWAYS

  21.  The UK boasts possibly the best renewable resources of any country in Europe. By exploiting just 15% of the total offshore wind strategic resource identified by the DTI[126], energy equivalent to the UK's entire electricity needs could be generated. Factors influencing whether or not we will meet the Government's renewable energy targets of 10% by 2010 and the aspirational target of 20% by 2020 (which hardly reflect the scale of the task ahead) do not concern the scope of potential. The potential is vast. The barriers that stand in the way are a series of inter-related social, regulatory, technical and economic problems. The key to unlocking these barriers remains concerted political action that takes a long-term view of how a sustainable energy system can be achieved.

  22.  After the failure of the Non Fossil Fuel Obligation to foster greater renewable development, the Government has made some efforts to improve the deployment of renewables. The introduction of the Renewables Obligation (RO), as well as increased funding for Research & Development and capital grants schemes have gone some way to increasing the ability of generators to build new renewable energy capacity.

  23.  However, looking further ahead there are significant barriers to the renewables industry meeting the challenge of climate change. The measures taken have served to sustain the status quo that favours large generating utilities over smaller more independent generators that do not have a diverse portfolio or an integrated supply chain to protect them against a volatile electricity market. Also, the emphasis on costs within the RO has only really served to increase the divide between the commercial viability of onshore wind (and landfill gas, supply of which is not likely to significantly increase) and other technologies struggling to become established.

  24.  As a result, action taken to date is failing to support the development of a diverse range of renewable technologies argued for in the Energy White Paper and which will be needed to achieve the target of 60% carbon reductions by 2050.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  25.  In order to achieve a sustainable generation mix that offers a diverse, flexible and secure energy supply, the Government must move as quickly as possible to a genuinely radical approach to develop an energy system based on smaller more dispersed generating units. Such action might include:

  26.  Redeveloping the UK transmission/distribution grids both to support micro generation and major renewables centres. Grid investment needs to take place now to upgrade the transmission grid and distribution network for use in the long term by a variety of sustainable renewable energy sources that offer safe and secure energy. Areas rich in renewable potential, such as the West Coast of Scotland, require grid development where access is currently inadequate. Development of new grid connections that link the source of primary renewable energy such as offshore wind to demand is expensive for individual developers but may represent good public value and an exceptional economic opportunity in the longer term.

  27.  The current grid is not suitable for the kind of diverse energy mix necessary to meet the demands of climate change. The centralised model is outdated and does not represent the optimum model of supply and distribution. In particular a sustainable energy system should foster more decentralised centres of production, which enables heat capture and which is supportive of the characteristics of renewable technologies. Households (and businesses) should be enabled to become small scale generators themselves, which will require Distribution Network Operators radically to transform their business model to one of active, rather than passive, managers of local distribution networks. Greenpeace particularly regrets the lack of emphasis given to facilitating decentralised energy and microgeneration, given the high political priority currently placed on the Sustainable Communities agenda. There are now also strong security drivers for a more decentralised energy model, both in terms of delivering inherent network security and reducing overall dependence on fossil-fuel supplies.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

  28.  A significant increase in research and development must take place if renewables are to become the mainstay of UK energy generation in the future. Although there has been a significant increase in renewable funding from Government over the last few years, expected R & D funding from the DTI from 2003-06 is still less than £60 million[127]. Compare this to the £5 billion that will be provided to the UK's failed private nuclear generator over the next 10 years to pay for its waste and decommissioning legacy. In this context, renewable energy is severely under-supported.

  29.  In order to assist developing renewables, we would also advocate amendments to the RO and possible additional mechanisms, such as:

  30.  Developing mechanisms outside the RO to assist the technologies other than onshore wind that are not currently well supported. Particular help is needed to support sustainable heat production, given heat is the primary energy use in the UK, and could possibly take the form of a heat obligation similar to the existing RO. Greenpeace believes a feed-in tariff or net metering may be required to expedite the growth in micro-renewables. Given the tiny proportion of micro renewables currently connected to local grids, Greenpeace believes that these costs could be readily absorbed by network operators in the short term.

  31.  Changing the currently uniform value of ROCs to a grading system that differentiates between the developed renewable technology of onshore wind and developing technologies like wind, wave and biomass. By re-valuing the price of ROCs to reflect the stage of development of the technology that generated the power, the Government will be fostering an environment of "learning by doing" in that a developing technology can take part in the market and reduce its overall cost/KWh through accelerated research and development.

  32.  We also see particular barriers hampering renewables in the regulatory structures outlined below:

  33.  The local/regional planning system : Although public acceptance of wind power continues to show high levels of public support (a recent ICM poll shows support for wind power at around 80%[128]) the opposition of a vocal few continues to attract disproportionate press coverage which in turn influences local decision-makers.

  34.  PPS22 is a positive step towards making clear to local authorities the need to take account of the wider threat from climate change, but applications still take too long to come to a decision. In part this is because of the resource shortages planning has faced and the increasingly complex demands that sustainable development places on planners. It is important that the additional resources now being delivered by Government to improve planning performance and recruitment prove adequate. Regional spatial development strategies could be obliged to identify areas where there would be a presumption in favour of wind. This proactive planning approach would ensure community ownership is secured early on and environmentally contentious geographic areas are identified and excluded from development opportunities from the outset.

OFFICE OF GAS AND ELECTRICITY MARKETS (OFGEM)

  35.  Another barrier has been the narrow way in which OFGEM has interpreted its remit. Greenpeace is concerned that OFGEM's consultations are characterised by short-term cost-benefit assessments that fail to recognise both existing environmental/social costs which are currently externalised, and the immense costs to consumers posed by climate change in the longer term if emission reductions are not made now. Many of OFGEM's consultations are highly technical and engage only the "usual suspects". There is a concerning lack of vision and forward thinking at OFGEM which raises questions about OFGEM's ability to instigate the radical reconfiguration of networks and regulation required to achieve ambitious emissions reductions. Given the long term nature of investments in energy infrastructure, it is critical that OFGEM works to a longer term horizon than at present.

  36.  The requirements under Section 83 of the recent Energy Act 2004 (for OFGEM to pursue sustainable development for the benefit of consumers as a key part of its statutory purposes) offers the opportunity for a reinvigorated response from OFGEM to the environmental imperative.

NEW ELECTRICITY TRADING ARRANGEMENTS (NETA)

  37.  A further barrier to renewables has been the introduction of NETA which at one point brought wholesale prices below the cost of production, increasing the need for renewables support. NETA is designed to encourage the cheapest form of generation and does not offer any incentive to increase the efficiency of electricity production. Of particular concern to Greenpeace is the massive waste of primary energy associated with the regulatory regime's failure to value heat energy, whether wasted or captured. The plight of CHP under NETA illustrates this point. NETA has served to reinforce the dominance of the existing grid by large, wasteful centralised units of conventional generation sources in the primary energy market. This has served to undermine the effectiveness of secondary mechanisms such as the RO or carbon emissions trading scheme.

  38.  In addition, NETA penalises generators for generating either above or below their agreed output, which is a particular problem for variable sources of power such as wind. This adds to the risk taken when investing in intermittent renewable sources such as wind power and therefore detracts from the attractiveness of wind as an investment.

  39.  NETA also discourages renewable development because of the huge transaction costs involved simply to participate in the market. This means disproportionate costs are incurred by small-scale renewable generators.

CONCLUSIONS

  40.  The Government has made efforts to increase the capacity of renewable energy on the grid. It is imperative however that the Government remains focused on its primary motivation for bringing about this uptake in renewables. Namely, the need to combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions by 60% by 2050. The role of the energy generation sector in meeting this target has become increasingly important as effective transport and demand reduction measures have failed to materialise. As was made clear at the beginning of this submission, it is the view of Greenpeace that the barriers identified (particularly the regulatory obstacles that have come about through NETA and OFGEM) can and should be fully addressed through decisive political action from Government.

  41.  The Government's task therefore is not simply to encourage an increase in the capacity of renewable energy from which ever type of technology comes forward under the existing regulatory and economic parameters. Rather, it is to foster a renewables industry where a number of different technologies are capable of commercial deployment on the scale that we are currently seeing with wind power. This diverse portfolio of renewable technologies that are small scale, flexible and safely responsive to demand represents the future of sustainable energy generation in the UK. It is the responsibility of the UK Government to take the necessary steps now in order to bring about this long-term future.

NUCLEAR POWER AND CLIMATE CHANGE

  42.  The present discussion of new build for nuclear plants in the UK is not about utilising nuclear power to significantly offset CO2 emissions, but to replace the current fleet of reactors in order for nuclear power to maintain its current market share in terms of electricity produced (and therefore possibly maintain the same level of CO2 offset at present).

  43.  Greenpeace believes that Government should not make any intervention in the energy framework that acts as an explicit or implicit support to new nuclear power. One of the objectives of the Government White Paper is that functioning markets should be an objective of energy policy and these are completely undermined if nuclear power is given the sort of support that has been given to British Energy. Obviously Government has to have a role in regulation, safety, ensuring proper waste disposal etc but nuclear power has had 50 years of substantial government support in many countries worldwide support to develop. It is a nonsense to have functioning energy markets which are still biased by support to nuclear power. Greenpeace will oppose all new nuclear power stations for reasons of radioactive discharges, waste, and danger of catastrophic accident. But even within the Government's own terms of reference, new nuclear power should receive no support whatsoever.

  44.  Nuclear power provides roughly 22% of the UK's electricity and currently offsets approximately 7% of the UK's CO2 emissions (6% of total greenhouse gas emissions). Most of the offset is achieved through operation of British Energy's reactors (which have a capacity of 9,600 MW). All but one of BE's reactors are due to close by 2020. All of BNFL's reactors will close by 2010.

  45.The figure of 7% CO2 offset from nuclear power is lower than the 9% CO2 offset based on information in British Energy's 2001 submission to the Energy Review (which covered BE and BNFL plants). That is because the actual output from BE's reactors over the past three years has not met the company's projections.

  46.  By 2010, due to changes in fuel mix and nuclear plant closures, it is estimated that the CO2 offset from nuclear power in the UK will be around 4-5%.

  47.  For the UK's nuclear industry to maintain a) its market share as an electricity producer and b) to act as a source of energy to offset CO2 emissions it will have to replace its current fleet of reactors and then build many more.

  48.  In order to replace the existing electricity output from existing reactors BNFL/Westinghouse has proposed building a fleet of 10 AP1,000MWe (or AP1,1000MWe) reactors. The AP1000 design has yet been tested (ie constructed and operated) and is not yet licensed anywhere in the world.

  49.  Industry figures are based on a modular production line design specifically in order to reduce costs.[129] This carries two major risks:

    —  Modular design increases the risk of generic faults which—as with reactors systems in Japan and France—can lead to a lot of reactors being closed at once if a major fault is found.

    —  A program of reactor construction on a modular design basis—to reduce costs—would mean a significant financial commitment to an as yet untested design.

  50.  As can be seen below, there can be massive differences given for capital costs for reactors. Similarly, massive uncertainty exists over waste costs. This is particularly true for the UK as a there is no final waste disposal route with the result there is no final cost for intermediate level waste, high level waste or spent nuclear fuel disposition.

  51.  Costs: The lowest cost estimates, provided by the nuclear industry, put the cost between US$1.1billion-$1.5 billion per AP1,1000MWe plant.[130] The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in the US has challenged these figures, saying that construction costs would be 60% higher than industry estimates.[131]

  52.  It should be noted that BNFL/Westinghouse claim that by the time of construction of the fourth reactor, construction costs would be significantly less than for the first and second reactors. The costs given below assume all the reactors will cost the same. Estimates should be undertaken to assess reactor costs—using both industry estimates and independent costings on unit prices for a ten reactor construction program (this should also take into account externalities of setting up production centres, staff training etc).

  53.  Using the currently available range of figures, based on today's prices and current exchange rates, we can however provide rough estimate the costs for a new build program:

    —  10 AP1,100 reactors, to replace most of existing reactors, would entail capital expenditure of £.6.14 billion-£8.37 billion (industry figures) or £9.82 billion-£13.39 billion (CBO's figures, using 60% increase over industry costs as the basis).

    —  20 plants—to offset 10% of CO2 (depending on fuel mix at the time) would cost £12.28 billion-£16.74 billion (industry figures) or £19.64 billion-£26.79 billion (CBO figures).

    —  To build 40 plants would costs £24.56 billion-£33.48 billion (industry figures) or £39.28 billion-£53.58 billion (CBO figures). To put this in perspective, the whole Trident missile and submarine program is estimated to have cost £30 billion.

  54.  A program of "only" 10 reactors would involve huge capital outlay. Private investors would not want to expose themselves to such a massive risk. Indeed, at the recent Annual Utilities Market Convention, organised by the Energy Information Centre (Birmingham, 5 October 2004), senior city analysts and market advisers said that the city would not be prepared to invest in new build and this would have to be undertaken by the Government.

  55.  Financial Risks: The CBO report (see Annex 3) states that there is a high risk of a company involved in construction of a new reactor defaulting on government loans, such as the amount of finance involved in capital expenditure. The CBO's concern is somewhat analogous to concerns raised by environment groups over the recently passed Energy Act, which would allow for the Government to bailout private operators if they failed to provide fully for their liabilities. Despite concerns raised by the Trade and Industry Committee on this issue, the final version of the Energy Act contained no obligation on the future private operators to fully fund their waste costs. Knowing this could lead plant builders/operators to run a plant and profit strip, leaving liabilities to be paid for by the taxpayer. New legislation would be needed (or current legislation amended) to place a legal obligation on future private operators to fully fund their liabilities before paying dividends etc.

  56.  CO2 offset from the whole fuel cycle: In order to fully assess the CO2 offset from a program of 10 new reactors calculations would have to be done on the energy needed—and CO2 produced—from uranium mining, processing and enriching, fuel fabrication (using both fresh uranium and reprocessed uranium), reactor construction, spent fuel storage and disposal options.

  57.  Timing: To achieve replacement one plant would have to be built every one and half years between 2010 (when licensing may have finished) and 2025. It is expected that the first new reactor will not come on line until 2018-20. It is not known how long it would take for a replacement program of 10 reactors.

  58.  Radioactive waste: The industry proposal for a new nuclear fleet proposes that spent nuclear fuel arisings could remain on site with the closed reactor for up to 100 years. On sites housing a number of facilities (eg a decommissioned plant and/or an existing waste store) a new reactor could significantly add to the overall site hazard. In the case of Sizewell B, for example, where spent fuel will be stored from the current reactor, new build plus a store could significantly add to the long term risk for that site. As noted earlier, there is currently no final disposal option and, according to NIREX, it is not expected that a radioactive waste dump would be available for at least the next 25-40 years.

  59.  Terrorism: Apart from the risk of a major accident leading to either plant shutdown and/or serious off-site contamination, another major risk from nuclear facilities is the potential for them to be used as terrorist targets. (For more detail, please see: Assessing the Risk of Terrorist Attacks on Nuclear Facilities (July 2004) which contains detailed information on this issue. Greenpeace information on terrorism and the nuclear industry is referenced in the report http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/POSTpn222.pdf).

CARBON SEQUESTRATION

  60.  The Prime Minister has suggested that carbon sequestration—the act of capturing and storing CO2 either below ground, on or below sea beds—is "a low carbon technology" and should be considered an environmentally acceptable method of controlling CO2 emissions. Others have suggested that absorption by vegetation above ground or the use of techniques such as iron fertilisation of Southern Oceans or placing liquid CO2 on the sea bed should be considered as viable options. In the first instance, the use of the environment as a dump for carbon dioxide in this way presents an unacceptable risk to already threatened environments; and does so with no guarantee of success. Indeed in the case of "tree planting" to "absorb" carbon dioxide emissions this is a dangerous option because there is no way to guarantee long-term removal of CO2 from the biosphere.

  61.  More importantly however, even technically feasible options for carbon capture cannot be described as low carbon technology. It does not reduce carbon dioxide production or replace capacity that does, unlike energy efficiency technologies or the capacity to generate renewable energy. It is in fact an imperfect "end of pipe" disposal solution to a problem that needs to be solved at a "systems" level. There is—possibly—still a real opportunity to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. This must be done at the rate required keep global temperature increase within the 2º widely accepted as the upper limit of the climate's tolerance before catastrophic occurs. The danger is that the pursuit of carbon sequestration at this point could prove a distraction from these fundamental challenges.

  62.  Significantly, applications for carbon capture and storage are limited. In the first instance, of course, it would only be applicable for fixed emissions sources, conveniently located near a suitably depleted saline water aquifer or depleted oil or gas field. (This rules out for the foreseeable future road transport or aviation, the two fastest growing areas of carbon emissions world-wide.) Further, the projected growth in demand for energy, especially in the developing world, means that dependence on carbon sequestration will lock future energy development into a conventional, fossil fuel trajectory. Every fossil-fuel power station constructed now in India means CO2 emissions for a further 40 years. Finally there is a distinct possibility, subject to further evaluation, that capacity for carbon storage will be overwhelmed by the projected increase demand for energy services in the developed and developing world. Given the substantial uncertainties over guarantees of effective storage, an energy strategy that relied upon fossil-fuel generation coupled with carbon sequestration could be a gamble that could go badly wrong.

  63.  With a significant range of technical and political options to develop genuinely sustainable energy still available, governments have a duty to concentrate all resources in the design and implementation of a truly sustainable energy system. This must be based upon the speedy development of renewable energy combined with effective measures to curb energy use in all sectors. Resources spent on chasing disposal technologies such as carbon sequestration represent wasted resources, and would undermine the success of efforts to combat climate change.

12 October 2004



115   King, David A. 9 January 2004. In: Science: Policy Forum: Climate Change Science: Adapt, Mitigate or Ignore. Vol 303, p 176-177. Back

116   Speech by Prime Minister The Rt Hon Tony Blair, MP 14 September 2005 to Prince of Wales' Business and Environment Programme. http://www.number10.gov.uk/output/page6333.asp Back

117   http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/conveng.pdf Back

118   iv-Speech from Margaret Beckett to the Earth Institute, Columbia University-May 2004.
http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/ministers/speeches/mb040503.htm 
Back

119   The relationship of global average temperature rise and total global emissions is complex, in part because of climate sensitivity-the sensitivity of the temperature to rising levels of carbon in the atmosphere. However the IPCC TAR (is this true?) is robust enough in its understanding of this relationship to identify the 2 threshold as the basis for future action. http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/ Back

120   "Millions at risk: Defining critical climate change threats and targets"-Jackson Environment Institute-Parry and Livermore, 2001. Back

121   DEFRA 2003. The scientific case for setting a long-term emission reduction target (paper published 24 February 2003 to accompany the Energy White Paper). http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/ Back

122   Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution 2000. The 22nd Report. Energy: the Changing Climate. London. Back

123   Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs 2000. Climate Change The UK Programme. November, 2000. Back

124   DEFRA 2004. Statistical release: 2002 UK air emission estimates and climate change sustainable development indicator. http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2004/040325a.htm Back

125   Find attached as an annex to this submission, two Greenpeace reports: Seawind East and Seawind Europe on the potential for job creation and economic development and the renewable energy industry. Back

126   Robert Gross "Technologies and innovation for system change in the UK: status, prospects and system requirements of some leading renewable energy options" Energy Policy-November 2004. Back

127   Catherine Mitchell "Renewable Energy Policy in the UK" 1990-2000 Energy Policy-November 2004. Back

128   A copy of the poll can be found at http://www.icmresearch.co.uk/reviews/2004/Greenpeace-windfarms/greenpeace-windfarms-aug.asp Back

129   Nuclear Power and the Characteristics of "Ordinariness"-the Case of UK Energy Policy, McKerron, NERA, September 2004. Back

130   WESTINGHOUSE EXPECTS TO RECEIVE NRC CERTIFICATION FOR ITS AP1000 ADVANCED Platts Nuclear News Flashes 3 September 2004. This gave Westinghouse costs of US$2.2-2.7 billion for two reactors. The International Herald Tribune, (2/9/04) "China looks abroad for nuclear help" quoted Westinghouse as giving a figure of US$1.5 billion per reactor. Back

131   Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate 7 May 2003 S 14 Energy Policy Act of 2003 As introduced on 30 April 2003 The CBO puts the cost of the first reactor at US$2.5 billion. http://www.cbo.gov/showdoc.cfm?index=4206&sequence=0 Back


 
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