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Global Briefing: China reports record surge in offshore wind capacity

Global Briefing: China reports record surge in offshore wind capacity

Climate stress tests, EV factory developments, and all the big green business news from around the world this week

China delivers record 17GW of offshore wind capacity in a single year

The Chinese government has this week released new figures on the performance of its offshore wind industry, revealing that it has become the world's largest offshore wind generator following a remarkable surge in new development.

State media reported that the country added 17GW of new capacity last year, meaning the country has seized the title of the world's largest offshore wind market from the UK.

An analysis from Carbon Brief's Simon Evans highlighted that the UK currently boasts just over 10GW of offshore wind capacity, meaning China had added 1.5 times more capacity than the entire UK market in a single year.

The news came in the same week as Chinese state media outlet Xinhua reported that China's State Council has set a new target to cut energy consumption per unit of GDP by 13.5 percent by 2025 compared with 2020 levels in a move designed to "lay a solid foundation for achieving carbon neutrality".

It also came as Bloomberg reported that Chinese authorities have jailed almost 50 executives from the steel industry for faking emissions data within the country's new carbon market.


ECB kicks off climate stress tests

The European Central Bank (ECB) confirmed yesterday that it has launched a stress test of European banks' preparedness for handling escalating climate risks.

"This is not a pass or fail exercise, nor does it have direct implications for banks' capital levels," the ECB said in a statement. "It aims to identify vulnerabilities, best practices and challenges banks face when managing climate-related risk."

However, the results of the exercise is set to inform a broader review of banks' stability through the ECB's so-called Supervisory Review and Evaluation Process, and as such it could ramp up pressure on regulators to impose stronger capital requirements on banks that are deemed to be exposed to climate-related risks


Deloitte: Inaction on climate change could see US face $14.5tr of economic costs by 2070

The Deloitte Economics Institute has this week published a major new report detailing how the US could secure $3tr of economic benefits if it rapidly decarbonises over the next 50 years, compared to $14.5tr of economic costs if it fails to act to slash emissions over the coming decades.

The report, titled The Turning Point: A new economic climate in the United States, argues that the US could engineer a once-in-a-generation transformation that could add nearly one million more jobs to the US economy by 2070.

"The Deloitte Economic Institute Turning Point report makes the case for another industrial revolution in the US - one built on low-emissions growth - to avoid significant losses from the climate crisis and to create a more dynamic, prosperous economy for the US," said Alicia Rose, deputy CEO for Deloitte US. "The analysis shows that the battle to slow climate change is not only an aspirational goal, but an economic imperative for the US."

The report also warns that if global warming reaches around 3C toward the century's end, economic damages would "grow and compound, affecting every industry and region in the country". Deloitte's analysis shows that insufficient action on climate change could cost the US economy $14.5tr in the next 50 years. "A loss of this scale is equivalent to nearly four per cent of GDP or $1.5tr in 2070 alone," the repoirt said. "And over the next 50 years, nearly 900,000 jobs could disappear each year due to climate damage."

"The analysis demonstrates that we have a narrow window of time - the next decade - to make the bold decisions needed to change our climate trajectory and reach a turning point," added Rose. "The decisions made by governments, businesses and communities would reinforce our early progress and could unlock extraordinary economic possibilities for the US."


Rihanna pledges $15m for climate justice causes

Music star Rihanna this week announced she is to provide $15m to a range of climate justice organisesions operating across the Caribbean and the US through her Clara Lionel Foundation, which is named after her grandparents.

Eighteen climate justice focused organisations working in seven Caribbean nations and the US, including the Climate Justice Alliance, the Indigenous Environmental Network, and the Movement for Black Lives, are to share the new funding.

"Climate disasters, which are growing in frequency and intensity, do not impact all communities equally, with communities of colour and island nations facing the brunt of climate change," Rihanna said.


GM and VW ramp up EV production plans

General Motors (GM) has become the latest auto giant to drastically strengthen its electric vehicle (EV) investment plans, confirming it is set to invest $7bn in four new Michigan EV manufacturing plants.

GM CEO, Mary Barra, said the new investment would underpin the company's plans to become "the market leader" in the fast expanding EV market by 2025.

GM is planning to co-invest $2.6bn with LG Energy to build a new facility near Lansing, to develop GM's Ultium battery and engine platform, which will support a growing range of electric pickups and SUVs. It is also set to invest $4bn to adapt an existing facility in Orion Township to produce electric Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks.

President Biden hailed the announcement as "the latest sign that my economic strategy is helping power an historic American manufacturing comeback".

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic Volkswagen announced it is start production of its sixth battery electric model, the ID.5, at its Zwickau plant in Germany. The company said the factory was the first in the world to be fully converted from producing internal combustion engine models to solely manufacturing EVs.

"The Zwickau production plant has paved the way for the group to do this with six ramp-ups from three brands in just 26 months," said VW production chief Christian Vollmer. "The knowledge and experience gained will help us to continue to electrify our production network quickly and efficiently."


Ineos faces fresh legal action from ClientEarth over planned Belgium plant

Lawyers at ClientEarth and a group of 13 green NGOs this week confirmed they are appealing the approval for petrochemicals giant Ineos' proposed plastics plant project in the Port of Antwerp, Belgium.

The appeal comes after Flemish authorities gave Ineos' controversial 'Project One' plans a greenlight, after the company scaled back its initial plans.

ClientEarth said the new permit was Ineos's fresh attempt to get the project signed off after first cutting the project in half before deciding to drop its initial permit altogether last year. Prior to this decision, the environmental groups had challenged and successfully blocked Ineos's first permit for the €3bn project.

"In approving this project, the Flemish authorities have once again brushed its gigantic impacts under the carpet," said ClientEarth lawyer Tatiana Luján. "Beyond the local effects on nature and health Project One would cause, we cannot ignore that the basis of this project is fossil fuels, and they'll be used to create the building blocks of plastics. Plants like Project One are the fossil fuel industry's 'Plan B'. An investment of this scale would not only provide a lifeline for this climate-damaging sector, but also generate serious environmental and climate impacts that would be felt at each stage of its lifecycle.

"Approving Project One's permit for the second time despite its far-reaching consequences is nonsensical. We are renewing our fight to stop this project from going ahead once and for all."

'Missed opportunity': As Ministers defend green plans, is the chance to boost energy security being squandered?

'Missed opportunity': As Ministers defend green plans, is the chance to boost energy security being squandered?

Grant Shapps declares 'we need to combat the idea that it costs you money to go green', but campaigners insist government is failing to deliver policies that could curb energy costs

The government has this week quietly stepped up its defence of its net zero strategy in the face of growing criticism from some of its own MPs who are attempting to erroneously argue that climate policies are driving up energy bills, despite ample evidence it is soaring wholesale gas prices that are to blame.

COP26 President Alok Sharma used his first major speech since the Glasgow Summit to insist that there was "no connection" between the net zero agenda and the gas price crisis, arguing the turmoil consuming energy markets was due to "macroeconomics and geopolitics" and should be tackled through an increased build out of renewables and nuclear that could secure domestic supplies of clean energy. "Domestically the answer to cutting emissions, keeping bills under control and ensuring security of supply, is to continue to build out our world-leading offshore wind sector and invest in nuclear and hydrogen, as the government is doing," he said.

He also offered a message that appeared to be directed at the Chancellor, arguing that the economic costs that would arise from unchecked climate change meant "anyone who believes in fiscal responsibility should baulk at the idea that we would laden future generations with such unsustainable levels of avoidable debt".

His comments were followed today by the publication by the Bright Blue think tank of an interview with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in which he similarly argued that efforts to decarbonise were not to blame for recent inflation. "We need to combat the idea that it costs you money to go green," he said. "It doesn't need to, and in fact, it can actually be good value for money as well. There's a lot of pressure at the moment on energy bills and we know they're very high. When you shift your tariffs to a zero-carbon tariff, you might think it is going to cost you more. In fact, it's very easy to find some of the best and cheapest tariffs on the market which happen to be the ones that come from renewables and nuclear, not from fossil fuels."

He added that electric vehicles (EVs) provide a further example of how a switch to clean technologies can help reduce costs for households and businesses. "They are still a bit more expensive to buy, but I was out looking at cars the other weekend with my wife, and the price differential is really coming close," he said. "Once you factor in relatively little servicing as well, EVs compete."

Shapps said he had now been driving an EV for two and a half years and "it's never been in for service". "I've had no engine oil changes, no petrol, far fewer parts to go wrong, no road tax, no Ultra Low Emission Zone charges in London, or wherever else new schemes are coming into place," he added.

And he rejected arguments from some critics of the UK's net zero strategy that it is pointless trying to decarbonise domestically when large developing economies like China are seeing their emissions rise. "I don't believe that China and other countries are going to sit on their hands," he said. "China is going great guns with the electrification of cars, because they never led in internal combustion engine vehicles, they jumped at it and they're starting to export … Batteries come from there, and they are going to be doing their bit on this faster than most people appreciate."

However, the government's defence of its climate strategy came as WWF today published a major new report, which concluded that Ministers had last year squandered the opportunity to cut emissions in the short term and in the process bolster the UK's energy security and curb energy bills.

The campaign group released the latest edition of its Net Zero Test, which assesses the government's spending plans against a net zero compatible decarbonisation scenario. It reviewed the spending and investment decisions announced in the 2021 Autumn Budget and Comprehensive Spending Review, and concluded that very few of the "climate-positive" policies will deliver emissions reductions in the short term.

"In fact, on balance, the package is expected to drive up greenhouse gas emissions by 38.4MtCO2e over the next four years," WWF said, given policies designed to curb emissions are set to be undermined by £55bn of spending on high-carbon, "climate-negative" policies, like investment in new roads and the cut to air passenger duty for domestic flights.

"Ultimately the Net Zero Test concludes that the overall spending package has the potential to reduce net emissions by 745 MtCO2e, but only over a 25-year period, and assuming future spending moments align with net zero," the report said. "This reduction is less than 12 per cent of what would be needed to bring the UK into line with the Climate Change Committee's Net Zero Pathway."

It added that even where 'climate positive' were adopted the emissions impact of longer-term investments was difficult to quantify, especially given much of the government's net zero strategy is focused on research and development projects.

"The science is clear: without urgent action we face climate catastrophe," said Isabella O'Dowd, head of climate change at WWF. "The latest UK government spending package was a missed opportunity to prioritise the deep, rapid emissions cuts we urgently need and instead risks relying on technologies of the future to drive down emissions."

She added that there was compelling case for the government to apply a net zero test to all spending and policy decisions. "Adopting a Net Zero Test will help to lock in a climate-positive trajectory as well as improve transparency, ensuring future public spending adds up to a greener future," she said. "Investing to cut emissions as quickly as possible is also cost effective, reducing our reliance on volatile fossil fuels, creating green jobs and increasing the UK's resilience to the physical and economic impacts of climate change."

WWF's report echoes a number of similar analyses, which argued that the Budget and Spending Review - delivered on the eve of the COP26 Climate Summit - offered surprisingly little support for the government's net zero strategy. Ministers have delivered a wave of policies that have helped drive the rapid growth of the renewables and electric vehicle industries, but campaigners fear that efforts to decarbonise buildings, industry, and agriculture, in particular, are badly off track.

And a separate report today from the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) warns that the government is failing to maximise the savings households could enjoy from energy efficiency measures, despite evidence that a combination of energy efficiency regulations and policies are already saving the average household around £1,000 a year. The report joins a growing library of studies showing how a properly funded suite of energy efficiency policies could slash domestic energy bills, drive economic growth, reduce emissions, and enhance UK energy security.

Ministers may be mounting a robust and welcome defence of the government's net zero strategy, but they would find it easier to neutralise some of their colleagues' criticism if the Treasury had delivered more of the proven policies and programmes that can help reduce energy bills and gas imports.

Want to find out more about how the net zero transition will impact your business? You can now sign up to attend the virtual Net Zero Finance Summit, which will take place live and interactive on Tuesday 29 March and will be available on demand for delegates after the event.

'A role model in leadership': Tributes paid to pioneering climate diplomat Sir Crispin Tickell

'A role model in leadership': Tributes paid to pioneering climate diplomat Sir Crispin Tickell

Influential diplomat credited with persuading Margaret Thatcher to address climate risks and laying the foundations for global climate treaties

Tributes have this week been paid to the diplomat and environmentalist, Sir Crispin Tickell, who has died at the age of 91.

Tickell was widely credited with convincing Margaret Thatcher to become one of the first world leaders to take climate change seriously, persuading her to deliver what would become a hugely influential address to the Royal Society in 1988 in which she warned that "we have unwittingly begun a massive experiment with the system of this planet".

"I think she regarded me as someone useful who could stir the pot for her, and perhaps challenge the orthodox wisdom, whatever it might be," Tickell once said of his inclusion in Thatcher's small band of trusted advisors.

He would go on to provide advice on climate issues to both John Major and Tony Blair, and offered guidance to the generation of climate diplomats that would ultimately deliver the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement through the UNFCCC negotiating process.

Writing on Twitter this week, Nick Mabey of the E3G think tank said it was a "real end of an era with Sir Crispin Tickell's passing", hailing him as "one of the true pioneers of environmental diplomacy and multilateralism".  

"He was truly generous in sharing his insight and experience of how to make the 'system' change," he added. "A role model in leadership for the community."

Following his retirement from the diplomatic service in 1990, Tickell became warden of Green College, Oxford, and took up the presidency of the Royal Geographical Society. More recently he also sat on the advisory board to the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) think tank.

Richard Black, senior associate at ECIU, said Tickell's "influence on how the UK and indeed the world approaches climate change was far greater than his public profile".

"In the 1980s he introduced the issue to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who, as a former scientist, concluded that climate change posed a serious global threat to which the UK should play a leading role in responding," he said. "Her speech to the United Nations General Assembly in 1989, which Sir Crispin had a central role in conceiving, elevated climate change, ozone depletion and other environmental issues in the international arena and helped usher in the UN climate convention in 1992. In the UK the continuing consensus on the need to cut carbon emissions and support climate science owes much to his vision.

"At ECIU we were honoured to include Sir Crispin on our Advisory Board from its launch until 2019, and benefited greatly from his wisdom, intelligence and experience, while also enjoying his dry sense of humour. He will be much missed."

In an obituary this week, The Times reflected on Tickell's diplomatic postings in Mexico, the Hague, Paris, and the UN, and his hugely influential and prescient 1977 book, Climatic Change and World Affairs, which argued that mandatory international pollution controls would eventually be necessary through a climate change treaty. It ended by quoting an interview Tickell gave in 1999 in which he said he was glad he was in "life's departure lounge and not the arrival lounge", adding that "the next generation is in for an awfully bumpy ride".

Is the British curriculum failing students on climate and green skills?

Is the British curriculum failing students on climate and green skills?

Ministers are facing pressure to overhaul the education system to better prepare pupils for the climate emergency and ensure they have the skills they will need to participate in the green economy

The government has this week faced growing calls to reconfigure the national curriculum to put more focus on the climate and nature crises. A growing number of experts and campaigners contend that changing the curriculum would help to accelerate the net zero transition and slow rates of nature depletion in the UK, arguing that providing citizens' with a clearer understanding of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss from a young age would drive interest low carbon careers and help plug a net zero skills gap that experts fear could derail UK's transition to a more sustainable economy.

Despite climate action being one of the UK's number one domestic and international policy priorities, it barely features in the national curriculum. A poll of roughly 4,700 teachers published this week by the Teach for the Future campaign revealed that two thirds of secondary school teachers say climate change is not taught in a meaningful or relevant way by their subject, despite nine out of 10 reporting that climate was relevant to their subject area.

The survey comes after four 15-year old schoolgirls from Oxfordshire launched a petition calling for the climate crisis to be made central to the curriculum, instead of being relegated to a few mentions in Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 for geography and science. At the time of going to press, the petition has amassed just under 95,000 signatures.

Clearly, there is growing appetite from the public for the government to plug the climate and nature gaps in the curriculum. And this week, a Bill sponsored by a cross-party coalition of MPs that would require climate change and sustainability to be embedded into the primary and secondary school curriculum, as well as into vocational training courses, is set to be debated by MPs.

The Climate Education Bill - which was written by secondary school students and was introduced to Parliament by the UK's youngest sitting MP, Labour's Nadia Whitthome - demands that students of all ages are taught about the climate and ecological emergencies, climate justice, nature, and sustainability, as well as "the need to cut carbon emissions to net zero as soon as is practically possible". It would also require that students are empowered to "care for and protect the natural environment in a way which preserves the environment for present and future generations".

"Our education system is failing to prepare young people to face the biggest challenge of their lifetimes," said Whittome. "The Climate Education Bill would ensure that learning about the climate and ecological crises is woven through every subject, for every student in primary and secondary school and those on vocational courses. It would also guarantee that teachers have the time and resources to integrate these issues across the curriculum, which the new data reveals they lack."

Environmental Audit Committee Chair Philip Dunne and Education Select Committee Chair Robert Halfon are among the Conservatives that have backed the Bill, alongside Green MP Caroline Lucas, the Liberal Democrat's Layla Morgan, the SNP's Mhairi Black, Labour's Darren Jones, Clive Lewis, Zarah Sultana, and Rebecca Long-Bailey, and the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour confirmed this morning that its front bench would be backing the Bill at its second reading, with Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change Ed Miliband noting it was "essential" that the education system reflected young people's passion for tackling the climate emergency.

"I am proud to support the Climate Education Bill - a grassroots campaign by students and teachers across the country who are calling for change," he said. "More focus on climate and nature in our schools and colleges will better equip young people with the knowledge and skills that we need to build a greener, fairer country."

The private members bill has been introduced in the same week  the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) called on the government to introduce a GCSE in Natural History from September 2024.

The government indicated it was considering introducing the new GSCE last September in a response to an EAC report about biodiversity which contained a number of recommendations for ramping up nature education in schools so as to help inspire "a new generation of ecologists".

In a letter sent on Thursday to the minister for school standards Robin Walker, EAC chair Dunne recommended the government should now approve plans for a Natural History GSCE so that it is ready for September 2024.

"The UK is facing an alarming nature skills gap, with a shortage of ecologists threatening delivery of the government's environmental objectives," Dunne wrote. "A Natural History GCSE is a logical first step, widening access to nature through education and providing a stepping stone to higher qualifications, supporting a clear skills pipeline to address nature skills shortages sustainably over the long term."

The Department for Education had not responded to BusinessGreen's request for comment about whether it intended to accept the EAC's request for a new GCSE or vote in favour of giving climate and education a more central role in the UK's curriculum.  

It remains to be seen whether either of the latest interventions will prove successful, although significant reforms to the curriculum appear unlikely given the government has to date left campaigners and MPs disappointed by its failure to deliver a bolder green skills strategy. Earlier this month the government formally responded to the EAC's recent report on the green skills gap by highlighting how the Department for Education launched a draft Climate and Sustainability Strategy at the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow last year and confirming that the Department for Work and Pensions is considering how net zero and environmental goals can be incorporated into the design stages of future labour market interventions. But the response was described as "disappointing" and "piecemeal" by Dunne, who reiterated the Committee's view that "the government's grand ambitions to deliver two million green jobs lacked policy detail".

"Government departments lack a central coordination function to deliver green jobs policies," he added. "The national curriculum is not embedding environmental sustainability nor even restoring the teaching of nature into schools as we had recommended."

Frustration is clearly growing among politicians and businesses alike at the government's failure to take a more proactive and long term approach to tackling green skills shortages that could hamper the net zero transition. A clear focus on climate and nature-based education from an early age that could help deliver the next generation of electric vehicle engineers, clean energy engineers, ecologists, and conservationists should be at the heart of any green skills strategy. As such the government would be wise to engage with the cross-party coalition of MPs that have a bill ready to go that could help avert a looming green skills crunch.

Want to find out more about how the net zero transition will impact your business? You can now sign up to attend the virtual Net Zero Finance Summit, which will take place live and interactive on Tuesday 29 March and will be available on demand for delegates after the event.

UN calls on G20 nations to close $165bn nature and climate investment gap

UN calls on G20 nations to close $165bn nature and climate investment gap

A new report finds that annual spending on nature-based solutions needs to increase by 140 per cent, with special attention paid to investment in non-G20 countries

The UN is urging 20 of the world's richest nations to step up their funding for nature-based solutions in a bid to close the climate spending gap.

In a new report published yesterday, titled the State of Finance for Nature in the G20, the UN calculated that G20 countries need to invest $285bn a year in nature-based solutions by 2050 to meet global climate, biodiversity, and land degradation goals. Meeting the target would require an additional $165bn in annual investments, up 140 per cent on the current G20 spend of $120bn.

The report suggests additional spending should be directed towards official development assistance (ODA), which targets the economic development and welfare of developing countries, where the nature based solutions spending gap is larger and harder to close.

G20 investments represented 92 per cent of all global investments in nature based solutions in 2020, the report reveals. The majority of those G20 investments - 87 per cent - were directed towards domestic government programmes, while just two per cent of the $120bn annual investment went to ODA.

"In many instances, G20 countries can improve economic efficiency in nature-based solutions spending by targeting investments in non-G20 countries,'' said Nina Bisom, coordinator of Economics for the Land Degradation Initiative, a contributing organisation to the report. "For example, the average cost of converting land from other uses to nature-based solutions in G20 countries is USD 2.600/hectare, while the same costs only USD 2,100/hectare for non-G20 regions."

The report also suggests that private sector spending should increase to deliver the additional nature based solutions funding required to meet targets, revealing that private sector investments made up just 11 per cent of the total G20 spend at around $14bn a year.

Future global investment in nature based solutions should reach $536bn a year, of which G20 countries should account for around 40 per cent, according to the UN. The report also finds that G20 countries have the capacity to meet this investment and stresses that the world's richest nations should now move to align their development and economic recovery from the pandemic with international climate goals.

Ivo Mulder, Head of UNEP's Climate Finance Unit, said: "To scale up private finance, governments can boost the investment case for nature, for instance by creating stable and predictable markets for ecosystem services like forest carbon or by using public money on below-market rates."

"Systemic changes are needed at all levels, including consumers paying the true price of food, taking into account its environmental footprint. Companies and financial institutions should fully disclose climate- and nature-related financial risks, and governments need to repurpose agricultural fiscal policies and trade-related tariffs."

Government and corporate interest in nature based solutions is growing, with investment in projects to protect forests and expand natural carbon sinks increasing globally. However, the trend remains highly controversial in some quarters, raising concerns over the wider impact of changing land use and sparking criticism from many environmentalists over the expansion of a carbon offset that they allege is badly regulated and can even lead to higher overall emissions.

In related news, Natural England yesterday announced an £11m boost to three nature recovery projects in the north of England and Scottish borders, while Foreign Minister Lord Goldsmith separately announced the UK government is to invest £2m of UK Aid into protecting marine environments in the eastern pacific.

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'Progressing at pace': Ineos seeks CCS developers for £1bn Grangemouth blue hydrogen hub

'Progressing at pace': Ineos seeks CCS developers for £1bn Grangemouth blue hydrogen hub

Petrochemicals giant is planning to convert Scottish oil refinery into major blue hydrogen hub using CCS and other technologies

Ineos is pushing forward with a £1bn plan to convert its Grangemouth oil and petrochemicals refinery near Falkirk into a major blue hydrogen production hub, this week putting the call out for potential designs for the carbon capture system and other associated technologies to be deployed at the site.

Plans to convert the carbon intensive industrial site into a "world-scale carbon capture-enabled hydrogen production plant" were first announced by the petrochemicals giant last year, as it set out an ambition for the hub to achieve net zero emissions by 2045.

The site currently includes a combined heat and power plant, the KG ethylene plant, and the Petroineos refinery, all of which are set to utilise blue hydrogen produced at the site.

Blue hydrogen is produced from fossil gas with the vast majority of the resulting carbon emissions captured using carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. Advocates of the approach argue it can be scaled up more quickly and potentially at lower cost than the nascent green hydrogen industry, which produces hydrogen using water, electrolysis, and renewable power. However, critics argue that green hydrogen could have greater longer term cost reduction potential and could be developed without driving continued investment in fossil gas infrastructure.

Ineos is proposing that the blue hydrogen it produces would be distributed to various facilities at the site using both new and upgraded pipelines, while the company also hopes to potentially sell the fuel to other third party facilities requiring hydrogen in the local area.

Ineos said it had already committed over £500m to active projects at Grangemouth, including a "New Energy Plant" utilising "highly efficient technology" to supply power to all its operations at the site, which is due to enter commissioning in late 2023. The firm has not disclosed details of the capacity or fuel to be used at the power plant, but said the facility would also be converted to run on hydrogen in future.

Meanwhile, by linking up with the proposed 'Scottish cluster' project that aims to link heavy industry sites and CCS infrastructure, Ineos plans to transport and permanently store more than one million tonnes of CO2 captured at the Grangemouth facility in rock formations beneath the North Sea.

Stuart Collings, Ineos CEO INEOS for oil and petrochemicals in the UK, said the firm was "progressing at pace" with the Grangemouth conversion project, which it claims will cuts emissions across the site by 60 per cent by the end of the decade.

"This will see the displacement of hydrocarbon fuels used at Grangemouth, like natural gas, with clean, low carbon hydrogen to power our processes and manufacture vital materials used across a wide range of sectors," he explained. "To achieve this, we are inviting bids from the best engineering companies to design both a state of the art carbon capture enabled hydrogen production plant and an extensive suite of related infrastructure projects. The carbon dioxide from this project will be routed to the Scottish Cluster's Acorn CO2 transport and storage project, resulting in reductions of more than one million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year."

However, plans to deliver the Acorn CCS project and several other net zero industrial clusters proposed for the UK remain largely dependent on the UK government coming forward with a new policy regime that would effectively subsidise carbon capture projects so as to incentivise firms to invest in the necessary infrastructure. Ministers are currently working on such a regime, but are yet to finalise precisely how the new clusters and associated industrial and hydrogen projects will be supported.

The news comes amid growing interest in CCS technologies for tackling the emissions associated with heavy industry processes around the world.

In related news today, concrete and cement giant Holcim has announced a new partnership with Italian oil, gas, and energy giant Eni aimed at harnessing carbon capture technologies to repurpose CO2 for manufacturing 'green cemen2'.

Researchers at Holcim are currently exploring the use of olvine for storing CO2, a mineral it then hopes to turn into a raw material for the formulation of lower carbon cement.

It claims that carbonated olvine would be highly scalable, as it is widely available around the world, and would enable the permanent sequestration of CO2 into building and construction materials.

Holcim is currently considering which of its European sites would be most suitable for conducting industrial-scale pilots for producing greener cement using olvine, while Eni is concentrating on furthering its expertise in storing CO2 in the mineral, the two firms explained.

The partnership adds to over 30 CCS projects which Holcim is working on worldwide in the US, Canada, and Europe, with potential solutions ranging from recycling CO2 for crop growth in greenhouses all the way through to using carbon dioxide to create alternative fuels for aviation.

"The world needs transformational technologies to accelerate our transition to net zero," said Edelio Bermejo, head of Holcim's innovation centre. "With the storage of CO2 in new minerals like olivine, we are expanding our range of green cement solutions, to make sustainable construction a reality around the world, while reducing the footprint of our operations. Our work with Eni is in line with our open innovation ecosystem, partnering with like-minded organizations, from startups to multinationals, to make a bigger difference together."

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