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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

67 Sian-Twinning webQuite by accident, I have discovered CCS is now being at the very least mentioned within the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education – age 16 exams in the UK) syllabus. My son was sat doing a past paper as part of his revision regime and showed me the final question on the paper ‘In the UK, most electricity is generated in power stations that emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The impact of these power stations on the environment could be reduced by the increased use of ‘carbon capture’ technology. Describe how ‘carbon capture’ would prevent the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.’ Although not the most complex of questions and only being worth 2 marks out of the possible 60 it is not looking for an answer any more detailed than ‘carbon dioxide is not released (into the atmosphere) but is (caught and) stored (in huge natural containers) ‘.

In trying to discover the extent that CCS is covered by the syllabus, the AQA exam board guidance is ‘Candidates should understand that carbon capture and storage is a rapidly evolving technology. To prevent carbon dioxide building up in the atmosphere we can catch and store it. Some of the best natural containers are old oil and gas fields, such as those under the North Sea.’

Small beginnings, but this does indicate to some extent how CCS is now being accepted as a viable technology in the battle against climate change. It also means that our children are being introduced to the subject at an age where it can spark an interest and help them select A Levels and University courses suitable to enter the CCS field and at the very least could help reduce public concern over projects in the next generation – hopefully this will not be too late!