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Union urges government to capture carbon or lose jobs

Union urges government to capture carbon or lose jobs

27 January 2014

Unite, Britain’s biggest union, and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have joined forces to call on the government to embrace Carbon Capture Storage to cut energy bills, create jobs and reduce CO2 emissions.
 
At a conference today (Monday 27 January) attended by politicians, industry experts and workers in the energy sector, the unions will warn that jobs are being lost and the UK is facing a “make or break moment” if the country is to take advantage of its prime position to be a world leader in Carbon Capture technology.
 
Speakers at the conference include Tom Greatrix MP, Peter Emery, production director for Drax and Philip Garner, director general, Coal Pro.
 
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the process of capturing waste carbon dioxide (CO2) from sources such as coal fired power stations, transporting it to a storage site, and depositing it where it will not enter the atmosphere, normally underground.
 
CCS technologies could reduce the overall carbon emissions from coal fired power stations by around 90 per cent.  The inclusion of CCS could also result on the reduction in the price of wholesale electricity by 15 per cent.
 
But failure to embrace CCS will have devastating consequences for jobs with the premature closure of coal fired power stations without the deployment of CCS.
 
800 jobs are due to be lost at Eggborough power station in the constituency of Selby and Ainsty in North Yorkshire. Had CCS already been in use those jobs and the power produced by Eggborough would still be viable.
 
The same constituency also includes the Drax power station and  encompasses the Kellingley deep mine and is the location of the proposed White Rose CCS project. If the White Rose CCS project goes ahead the immediate short term effect would be to create over 1,000 construction jobs during a four year period as well as securing the jobs within the local existing supply chain.      
 
Unite national officer Kevin Coyne said: “Capture carbon or lose jobs, that is our message to the government. The UK is facing a make or break moment if the country is to take advantage of its prime position to be a world leader in carbon capture technology.  If the government steps up and embraces carbon capture it will  cut energy bills, create jobs and reduce CO2 emissions.
 
“There needs to be a sense of urgency because jobs are already being lost, like those at Eggborough power station and our energy supplies are being put at risk. We hope our conference will focus minds and will be a step further towards keeping the lights on and creating jobs.”
 
ENDS

For more information contact Ciaran Naidoo from Unite on 07768 931 315

Twitter: @unitetheunion
Facebook: unitetheunion1

Notes to editors

• Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.

The Carbon Capture seminar will be Held at Wortley Hall, Wortley, Sheffield, South Yorkshire,  S35 7DB on the 27 – 28 January.