Responding to the First Minister’s statement on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) this morning, Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Chief Executive Duncan McLaren said:

“The First Minister has today taken an important step forward in heralding a move away from unabated coal power by supporting technology to
capture CO2 emissions. His declaration that the Scottish Government’s ambition is ‘to become a world leader in reducing harmful emissions and
producing clean, green energy as part of our contribution to tackling climate change’ is very welcome.

“However, storage is only half of the equation. It is essential that the Scottish Government equally rapidly strengthen their position to ensure deployment of carbon capture and prevent new unabated coal capacity.  Coal is the most polluting fuel, and Longannet is the UK’s second largest source of CO2 after Drax.

“To be credible on climate change, Alex Salmond has to use the Scottish Government’s planning powers to prevent any new coal power stations being built without technology to capture the damaging emissions, as well as supporting proposals to retro-fit capture technology at Longannet.

Research published today by the University of Edinburgh shows that porous rocks under the North Sea could store European CO2 emissions for hundreds of years. McLaren added:

“This is vitally important for the development of carbon capture and storage technology and shows that Scotland is perfectly placed to be a leader in this field. A CCS cluster on the Firth of Forth based around the existing Longannet power station – where capture could be demonstrated commercially more quickly than at Kingsnorth –  and the Grangemouth industrial complex must be at the forefront of development.

“It would be tragic if we failed to make the most of Scotland’s natural advantages and allowed the development of this technology to be delayed or to happen elsewhere. We urgently need the Scottish Government to introduce the regulations which require any new coal power plant to be fitted with CCS from day one. It is in the Government’s gift to do this. Anything less than fully operational CCS at a commercial scale from the outset would be disastrous for our climate change targets and a real wasted opportunity for Scotland.

“We urge the Scottish Government to show the leadership on this issue that the country deserves and introduce an Emissions Performance
Standard (EPS) for any new coal power capacity.”