BeZero Carbon is a global rating agency for the Voluntary Carbon Market, whose ratings allow all market participants to price and manage risk. Its report has recommended the UK Government should make carbon removals one of the UK Infrastructure Bank’s (UKIB) top priorities. Otherwise, it could miss its climate change goals and lose out on a multi-trillion-dollar market.
BeZero Carbon’s Beyond Zero report found that the UK has the potential to become a world-leader in carbon removal technology. However, it is currently held back by a lack of investment in science and technology. Capital allocated by the state investment bank can help unlock greater private sector growth and reap significant economic and environmental rewards.
The UK is uniquely placed to be an exporter of this new industry. Especially with its universities and the largest technology sector in Europe. However, public funding in the US, via the Inflation Reduction Act, is overshadowing the UK.
“Carbon removal is vital for the Net Zero transition but can also turbo-charge the UK economy, creating thousands of new jobs while also tapping into a multi-trillion-dollar market.”
To attract new talent and investment, the Government should consider adding carbon removals to the priorities of the UKIB. Additionally, it should appoint a Parliamentarian to lead a task force for Carbon Removals. They should also launch a regulated Carbon Removal Accelerator.
Without investment in carbon removals on a major scale, the report found that the UK cannot meet its climate change goals. Both the Climate Change Committee and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change see investment in carbon removal as “unavoidable” to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees. To support carbon removal at this scale required, the carbon removals market could reach $6.5trillion in value by 2050. This would give a first-mover advantage to those who swiftly invest in this new technology.
The market is also being hindered by the UK’s failure to draw upon its science and technology facilities for commercial gain. The report found only five to seven per cent of UK businesses reported cooperation with universities, Higher Education Institutions or public sector research organisations, despite these institutions pioneering research in this new field.
If the UK invests effectively in this technology, it could turbo-charge domestic growth and support levelling up. 77 per cent of the thousands of highly-skilled green jobs created by carbon capture and removals will be in the Midlands, Scotland and the North.
Ted Christie Miller, head of carbon removal at BeZero Carbon said: “Investing in carbon removal is an opportunity the UK cannot afford to lose. Carbon removal is vital for the Net Zero transition but can also turbo-charge the UK economy. It would create thousands of new jobs while also tapping into a multi-trillion-dollar market.
“The Government needs to take carbon removal seriously to drive forward investment into this rapidly growing sector. It has to make it a clear and urgent priority. If the UK fails to move now to embrace this opportunity, it could lose its competitive advantage to other countries. This would be a devastating environmental and economic loss.”