Why we cannot afford to turn our backs on new technologies in drive to net zero

The debate around tackling climate change has become increasingly divisive. But one thing is for sure and that is the need for new technologies to come on stream to negate damage being done to the environment.

Whether carbon capture provides one of the answers remains to be seen but to turn our backs on it would be short-sighted.

Yes, there are questions over the sustainability of burning wood, despite Drax’s insistence that by-products are used from other industries. But carbon capture as a technology needs to be seriously explored.

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That is not to say that this should be allowed to become the fig leaf for fossil fuel firms but rather viewed as another tool in the fight against climate change.

A sunrise behind Drax power station near Selby. PIC: James Hardisty.A sunrise behind Drax power station near Selby. PIC: James Hardisty.
A sunrise behind Drax power station near Selby. PIC: James Hardisty.

The Government finds itself in a difficult position having tarnished its reputation globally over the past year.

Earlier this month, former Energy Minister Chris Skidmore resigned from the Tory party whip citing North Sea oil and gas exploration legislation.

The decision to issue licences for oil and gas projects in the North Sea clearly fly in the face of the drive towards net zero. It has led to widespread criticism and undermined Britain’s position as a leader in the fight against climate change.

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Therefore it is vital for the Government to be seen to be backing attempts to protect the environment.

Drax’s bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (Beccs) could create thousands of jobs at its power station.

While the debate around the virtues of Beccs continues, this is a reminder of the need to get ahead in the race to net zero. And Britain can only do this by harnessing the skills and expertise that already exist in places like Yorkshire.

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