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Seizing sustainable growth opportunities from carbon capture, usage and storage in the UK

Seizing opportunities from the CCUS value chain can be part of an economy-wide, net-zero-aligned growth path in the UK. The UK has responded to the climate emergency facing the world with an economy-wide target to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. The current decade is critical to ensure coordinated investments in infrastructure, innovation and skills reorient the UK economy towards a net-zero-aligned growth path. As a technological solution for addressing some of the most challenging emissions, CCUS needs to be deployed urgently in the UK and globally, which implies a rapid growth trajectory for the demand for CCUS-related technologies, products and services. The Government's current stated ambition is to capture 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (MtCO2) a year by 2030. To meet net-zero, this needs to be ramped up significantly. There are projects already in early development stages across the UK that together could deliver double that capacity in the 2020s. An inconsistent policy environment, including two failed major demonstration competitions, has been the primary setback against CCUS development in the UK to date. Now is the time to make up for years of stalled progress in deploying this essential technology. What's more, fast, strategic action can unlock growth opportunities along the way. Focus should be on areas where the UK has or can build comparative advantage, crucially by capitalising on its existing capabilities in the oil and gas sector, to deliver significant emissions abatement while generating export opportunities and wider economic benefits from CCUS.

Pia Andres, Ralf Martin, Penny Mealy, Esin Serin, Arjun Shah and Anna Valero

22 September 2021     Paper Number CEPSP38

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This work is published under POID and the CEP's Growth programme.

This publication comes under the following CEP theme: Clean growth