Response to the Cabinet Secretary Michael Matheson’s statement on funding for the Acorn Carbon Capture and Storage project in Scotland.

Climate groups believe CCS will prolong the life of the oil and gas industry when climate science demands that we say no to new oil and gas and rapidly phase it out this decade.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Climate Campaigner Alex Lee said:

“The UK Government should not be pouring further millions of public money into prolonging the life of fossil fuel companies via the carbon capture pipe dreams at the Acorn project or anywhere else. Carbon Capture and Storage is a dangerous distraction from the necessary action to cut climate emissions from our energy sector and transition away from oil and gas throughout the crucial decade up to 2030.

“The Acorn decision has blown a gaping hole in the emissions maths of Scotland’s Climate Change Plan and vindicated those MSPs who demanded that the Government have a Plan B for when CCS did not deliver. The Scottish Government’s plan of relying on CCS to do the heavy lifting of Scotland’s emissions cuts by 2030 was criticised by Holyrood Committees earlier this year because of its expense and unreliability.

“Carbon Capture is the latest oil and gas industry greenwashing tactic and has a long history of over-promising and under-delivering. Public money would deliver more jobs, faster emissions cuts and bigger boosts to wellbeing if it was invested in a range of renewables and energy efficiency measures instead of being wasted on more Carbon Capture projects. “

Research by the Tyndall Centre in January 2021 found that Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology cannot meet the urgent need to reduce climate emissions from the energy sector

Key findings from the report:

  •  Global operational CCS capacity is currently 39MtCO2 per year, this is about 0.1% of annual global emissions from fossil fuels and less than Scotland’s territorial emissions in 2018.
  • There is no operational CCS capacity in the UK yet the UK Committee on Climate Change projects CCS capacity of up to 176MtCO2 by 2050. This would mean that the UK would require quadrupling the entire current global CCS capacity.
  • There are just 26 operational CCS plants in the world, with 81% of carbon captured to date used to extract more oil via the process of Enhanced Oil Recovery [EOR], and at this stage CCS planned deployment remains dominated by EOR.
  • G8 committed to launch 20 large scale projects by 2010, IEA set a goal of 100 projects by 2020, only 5 materialised, two £1bn UK competitions have failed to deliver any demonstration projects.



Ministerial Statement delivered to the Scottish Parliament by Net Zero Secretary Michael Matheson https://www.gov.scot/publications/development-deployment-carbon-capture-utilisation-storage-scotland/

Tyndall Centre Report January 2021

In March 2021 MSPs criticised Scottish Government Climate Change Plan update for its heavy reliance on unproven technology like CCS


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.