The Brits on a low carb diet for the world

What does England have to tell the U.S. about climate change? Essentially “Get with the program,” although Lord Peter Truscott was much more polite and indirect when speaking at OTC today.
Truscott acknowledged that “debate rumbles on in parts of the U.S.” over whether humans are changing the earth’s environment for the worse, but the British government has decided it’s happening and the problem is “clear and grave.”
“We’ve moved from whether it is happening to what do we do about it,” the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Energy said during a talk titled “A Low Carbon Future: Is This Achievable in the Oil Patch?”
Truscott said it was a combination of energy security issues and high oil prices that led his nation to address climate change on a broad policy level. Unlike in the U.S., where a vocal environmental community has led the call for change, the U.K.’s change-of-heart was more of a top-down movement, Truscott said.
“We do have a strong environmental movement in the U.K. but it’s not as advanced as in other countries in Europe, such as Germany, where they’ve had a strong ‘Green’ movement (referring to the political party) or Denmark where they are far ahead on renewables,” Truscott said.
The Blair government isn’t trying to dictate how carbon dioxide emissions are reduced, he said, but is relying on the markets to come up with the best technologies. For example, the government will be holding a competition for companies to propose ways to capture and store CO2 emissions from a power plant, a process called carbon sequestration. Oil companies have injected CO2 underground to improve the flow from older oil wells for years, but it’s been on a limited scale.
“The technologies involved in CCS are well known, but system integration and commercial demonstration are needed if CCS is to play a significant role in the coming decades,” Truscott said.
The U.S. is already running such a competition, known as FutureGen. Texas and Illinois each have two sites that are finalists for the project.

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