UK Open Consultation on Carbon Emissions Tax

This UK Government open consultation sought comments on how, if introduced, the Carbon Emissions Tax would operate, and also on proposals for further development of the tax, including the possible inclusion of negative emissions.

CarbonActionNow! prepared a submission focusing on the negative emissions questions, which can be downloaded here.

Summary

Large scale deployment of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) methods to deliver negative emissions will be essential for the UK to meet its NDC commitment towards the Paris climate goals and will require the support of a wide ranging policy framework. However, linking negative emissions too quickly to policy mechanisms aimed at reducing emissions (e.g. the Carbon Emissions Tax or a UK ETS) would be problematic.

Targets, reporting, and markets for emissions reduction and for negative emissions should initially be kept strictly separate, and (dis)incentives should be designed to ensure the needed progress in both these areas.

Incentives to encourage the research, development and demonstration of promising CDR methods need to;

  • Keep options open
  • Ensure dependable support for demonstration projects
  • Demonstrate a clear pathway to commercialisation, and
  • Explicitly foster learning.

A number of complementary actions and policies are recommended to support of the UK’s overall net-zero objective, including;

  • Launching a Citizens’ Assembly to consider CDR deployment in the UK
  • Commissioning a strategic environmental assessment of CDR deployment in the UK
  • Commissioning a study on the integration of direct air capture into the UK energy system
  • Avoiding the labelling of specific sectors as “hard to abate”
  • Acknowledging and addressing the UK’s carbon debt
  • Increasing durable carbon utilisation, and
  • Introducing incentives for the use of low carbon fuels.