Rachel Reeves comments on Government response

20 September 2019

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee has commented today on the publication of the Government’s response to the Committee report on Carbon Capture Usage and Storage and on the new administration’s overall approach to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Given the Government’s ‘disappointing’ response on Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS), which ‘appears to row back from statements made by former Ministers’, the Chair has also written to the Minister Kwasi Kwarteng with a series of questions seeking to establish the Government’s policy direction on CCUS.

Chair's comments

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee said:

“The Secretary of State is happy to reiterate the Government’s commitment to net-zero by 2050 but fails to give any sense that her Government is dedicated to the urgent actions necessary to achieve it.

“It’s easy to set a target. The harder challenge is putting in place the measures needed to get to net-zero by 2050. Unfortunately, the Secretary of State’s letter gives little confidence that the Government has a clear idea of the policies it wants to pursue to make UK net-zero carbon emissions a reality. Given the UK is hosting COP26 next year, it’s important that we provide international leadership by getting our act together at home on climate change policy.

“It’s encouraging that the Treasury’s review will look at the benefits, as well as the costs, of net zero. Ending the UK’s contribution to climate change has the potential for major health and environmental benefits. It is also crucial the Treasury examines where costs will fall, how the transition can be funded, and how to manage the impacts on bill-payers, motorists and carbon-intensive industries.”

“The Minister’s response to our Carbon Capture Usage and Storage report is very disappointing and sits in contrast to the initial enthusiasm to our findings displayed by the previous Minister, Claire Perry. The Government’s response barely engages with the specific recommendations of our report and it is worrying that the Government now appears to be rowing back on previous commitments. This must be concerning for industry and investors and I hope the Government will rethink its approach and come forward with a clearer indication of what it is doing to ensure CCUS technology is able to deliver on its potential.”

In July, Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee wrote to Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom, the then new Secretary of State for DBEIS, to press for action on a series of policy fronts such as electric vehicles, carbon capture usage and storage, and energy efficiency, to ramp up UK efforts to meet future carbon budgets and the net-zero 2050 target. 

In April, the BEIS Committee published its report, Carbon capture usage and storage: third time lucky? The report urged the Government to give a clear policy direction to ensure the UK was able to seize the industrial and decarbonisation benefits of carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS). The report noted that although the UK has one of the most favourable environments globally for CCUS the technology had suffered 15 years of turbulent policy support, including the cancellation of two major competitions at a late stage. No commercial-scale plant for CCUS has yet been constructed in the UK.

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