Supplementary memorandum submitted by
the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) (GEO 13A) (LETTER
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to examine
the transcript of the oral evidence session of your enquiry onto
the regulation of geo-engineering last month at which Professor
David MacKay and I gave evidence. We have no corrections to make
to the transcript but I hope you will permit me to provide some
clarification on a couple of points raised during the session.
We were asked for the Government definition of geo-engineering.
The Royal Society broadly defines geo-engineering as the "deliberate
large-scale intervention in the climate system" and I
would like to make clear that the Government agrees with this,
recognising that this encompasses both carbon dioxide removal
and solar radiation management techniques and the distinction
made between the two categories.
With regard to the question of carbon capture
and Government priorities, we do not consider conventional carbon
capture and storage (CCS) coupled to coal-fired plants to be a
form of geo-engineering as the carbon dioxide is captured at source
and does not enter the climate system. CCS when coupled with bio-energy
plants, however, is included in our broad definition of geo-engineering.
In this case, carbon dioxide is removed directly from the atmosphere
by biomass which is then harvested for use as fuel. Use of coal
CCS technology is a Government priority in our transition to a
low carbon economy.
I hope this clarifies our position and I await
the outcome of your enquiry with interest.