Government blamed for giving heavy emitters a free pass

The Environmental Audit Committee has said the combination of removal and reduction targets does not incentivise sectors to decarbonise

Ministers have been warned that the current government policy on negative emissions technologies could put the UK’s net zero at risk.

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has said that currently, greenhouse gas reductions and removal targets are combined, offering little incentive for industries such as steel and cement to prioritise cutting emissions,

MPs argue that the government is failing to take enough action to roll out technologies.

Both bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS) have close to zero installations in the UK, the EAC noted.

EAC Chairman, Philip Dunne, said: “Presently there is little in terms of incentive, and very little in terms of any government direction or clarity. The fact that removal and reduction targets are combined enables many sectors averse or unable to cut emissions to dodge their responsibilities.

“Transparency and accountability must be improved by separating these targets out and highlighting the work that needs to be done.”

In its Net Zero Strategy, the government has committed to deploying at least five million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year of engineered greenhouse gas removals (GGR) by 2030.

A government spokesperson told ELN: “The UK benefits from having access to highly diverse sources of energy supply, but our exposure to volatile fossil fuels only further underlines the importance of our plan to generate more cheap, homegrown renewable energy.

“However, we cannot turn off oil and gas overnight, so greenhouse gas removals have an essential role to play in supporting our transition to clean energy and we are giving them our full backing, with £1 billion of initial investment.”

The government is expected to reveal its energy security strategy in the coming days.

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