If the UK is to reach net zero by 2050, then it could need as much as £20bn each year to remove up to 130mn tonnes of carbon dioxide from the air, according to Vivid Economics.
In a report for the government, outlining greenhouse gas removal (GGR) policy options, Vivid stressed that GGR will become an increasingly important driver of UK decarbonisation and key to tackling emissions from hard-to-treat sectors such as aviation, agriculture and industry. It added that the rate of rollout will have to be rapid – especially during the 2030s and 2040s – and requires significant policy support.
According to the analysis, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS) are expected to be the two key GGR options – with regards to tonnes of CO2 removed – supported by smaller land-based GGRs.
Vivid said that a suite of supporting policies was required to overcome market barriers, suggesting that a support programme should be developed over the next five years, with a GGR policy programme then rolled out in the late 2020s. It made a series of further recommendations for government to consider, including support for demonstration projects of BECCS and DACCS, along with potential broader investments in carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) infrastructure.