Climate campaigners have said that the UK Government decision to pledge £20 billion over the next 20 years to the carbon capture industry is a ‘massive handout’ to rich oil companies and that schemes like the Acorn project risk turning the North Sea into ‘Europe’s carbon dumping ground.’

Carbon capture technology has been labelled a ‘dangerous distraction’ from the real, working climate solutions of rapidly reducing our use of fossil fuels through increased home insulation and the expansion of affordable and accessible public transport.

Politicians have been desperately pleading for more public money for carbon capture despite the fact that profiteering fossil fuel companies will be the main beneficiaries.

For example, partners in the Acorn Project include Shell who made $40 billion in profit in 2022, and Harbour Energy who made $2 billion in profit before tax in the first half of 2022. Despite these wealthy partners, the Acorn project appears to be totally reliant on further public subsidy to progress.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Climate Campaigner Alex Lee ( they/them) said,

“The UK Government is happy to throw public money at fossil fuel companies to try and prolong their climate-wrecking industry through the pipe dreams of carbon capture. Acorn and other CCS projects risk turning the seas off Scotland into Europe’s carbon dumping ground.

“In the middle of a cost of living crisis driven by fossil fuel companies it is galling to see politicians delivering further handouts to some of the most profitable polluters on the planet. The only successful capture by this industry in the past 20 years is public money, because it is certainly not capturing carbon.

“Politicians at both Westminster and Holyrood need to wake up and realise that carbon capture and these other so-called negative emissions technologies are a dangerous distraction from the urgent and necessary working of cutting climate emissions at source and delivering a just transition away from fossil fuels.”

Campaigners say that both Governments should be investing in these measures that can improve people’s lives and cut emissions now such as increased home insulation and the expansion of affordable and accessible public transport.


UK Budget decision https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/spring-budget-2023-speech

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn MP demanding support for Acorn project https://www.thenational.scot/news/23316084.snp-call-uk-carbon-capture-funding-north-east-project/

Shell reports highest profits in 115 years https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-64489147

Harbour Energy half year profits in 2022 https://www.harbourenergy.com/news-and-media/latest-news/2022/harbour-energy-s-half-year-results-2022/

Acorn project partners https://www.theacornproject.uk/about-acorn/our-partners

Detailed timeline of CCS failure, along with sources, is available at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1km5E_MmrD-Dkuf2LRGCqffqNIXyoCqeEzR1IR6lw63Q/edit?usp=sharing

Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 73 national member groups, and 5,000 local activist groups.