Policy options for funding carbon capture in regional industrial clusters: what are the impacts and trade-offs involved in compensating industry competitiveness loss?

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Abstract

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a technically feasible deep decarbonisation solution. Still it is not widely adopted, arguably due to some basic political economy and policy challenges. One issue is the large infrastructure needs of transporting and storing CO2. However, a more fundamental challenge in the current UK industrial policy landscape is concern over introducing new costly capital requirements in industries that need to retain competitiveness in a world that has not yet fully signed up to the 'net-zero' transition demanded by the more ambitious 1.5 degrees Celsius warming target of the Paris Agreement. We take the example of high-value chemicals industries operating in the UK devolved region of Scotland and use an economy-wide computable general equilibrium (CGE) model to consider the nature and potential extent of export, GDP and employment losses under different illustrative polluter/government/taxpayer pays approaches to meeting the higher cost requirements. We conclude that the value from subsidising capture activity depends on the extent of export demand response to competitiveness losses resulting from firms bearing CO2 capture costs. However, outcomes reflect trade-offs across different types of sectors and employment, and are also dependent on labour market responses to changing wage and unemployment rates.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106978
Number of pages12
JournalEcological Economics
Volume184
Early online date19 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • industrial decarbonisation
  • computable general equilibrium
  • carbon capture
  • capital efficiency
  • competitiveness
  • subsidies
  • socialising costs

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