This time next month a new European Commission will be installed, whether we’re still in or have already left. With the priority of the new Commission being the Green New Deal, we can expect to see real movement on climate change in the coming 5 years. With the right efforts at national level, we can make this a success and achieve a Just Transition in the UK and across Europe.
This is what the thousands marching the streets of London demand from politicians. Not just words, but concrete actions and crucially, investment for a sustainable future.
Part of this sustainable future is CCS - Carbon Capture and Storage.
On 8 October I hosted an event in the European Parliament together with my Lib Dem colleague Chris Davies. Chris and I may differ on some of our politics but we both see a bright future for the UK inside the EU - and we’re both passionate about CCS and what it can do for our regions, communities and the environment.
At this roundtable we heard from businesses, NGOs and trade unions consensus on a simple message: CSS is a key enabler for decarbonisation. It will make the transition cheaper, but also make industry and manufacturing more environmentally sustainable, protect tens of thousands of well-paid jobs in the process and crucially create thousands more.
The North East has a particular role to play in this. Teesside is particularly well-placed for CCS not only because of its industrial heritage and geography, but importantly due to the fact that we see CCS as part of our regional future. And our experience can benefit other industrial regions in Europe. This is why I made the deployment of CCS in Teesside and Europe one of my key priorities as an MEP back in 2014.
CCS is the only technology which offers an affordable and sustainable future to energy intensive industries. But it won’t happen unless we make it happen. 40 projects are currently in development globally, most in some form of public-private partnership. This is a big technology and infrastructure endeavour, one that requires serious public support. This is a good investment for our public authorities to make, whether it’s the EU or the UK government, because it’s an investment that will save money down the line.
For this to be operational in time to meet our carbon objectives in the future, we need to start investing massively now. We simply don’t have any more time to waste, and that’s precisely the message of the extinction rebellion movement.