Saltholme RSPB reserve, near Middlesbrough.

Coal and carbon capture and storage

Coal use has declined substantially in recent years and the UK Government has committed to phasing out unabated coal (coal power without carbon capture and storage) entirely by 2025.

Overview

We are opposed to the construction and use of new coal-fired power generation capacity in the UK.

Along with many other organisations we support government plans to phase out unabated coal and are calling on them to do this as soon as possible. The rapidly declining contribution of coal, one of the dirtiest energy sources, to the power system means government should be able to achieve this within the next few years and by 2025 at the absolute latest. 

Government and the industry are putting forward carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology as a means of 'greening' coal. We agree that this technology could play an important role in the fight against climate change, but it is as yet unproven, so it needs to be developed and tested as rapidly as possible.

Cooling towers at the coal fired power station at Ratcliffe-on-Soar, Nottinghamshire.

Support for carbon capture and storage

We support attempts to develop carbon capture and storage technology and deployment in the UK, but only where it is retrofitted onto existing power stations, or where it is proposed for a new plant but 100 per cent of emissions are captured.

Under no circumstances should CCS demonstration on the part of a plant be used to justify a new coal power station.

In addition, we support the introduction of a standard for new power plants which would rule out new or existing coal power without carbon capture and storage (CCS) and phase in better practice across any new and existing gas plants.

This would set the UK on the road to becoming an efficient and vibrant low carbon economy, and ensure we play our part in safeguarding the world's biodiversity from the devastating impacts of climate change.

Fairy Glen RSPB reserve. Foliage: young leaves back-lit, glow a vivid green. The Black Isle, Ross-shire, near Rosemarkie, Scotland