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Debates
Monday, 13 January 2014 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Carbon capture and storage technology (debate)
MPphoto
 

  John Stuart Agnew, on behalf of the EFD Group. – Madam President, I hope nobody minds if a farmer gives a quick science lesson to you all. First, the title of this report by Chris Davies – which I hope will never become law – should be ‘Carbon dioxide capture and storage’, not just the solid carbon.

As a farmer, I of course like CO2. It is absolutely essential. It grows my sugar beet, as this photosynthesises and takes it from the air; it grows my pasture for my sheep, and of course it grows the wheat to feed my chickens. So I like it. It is good for me, and it is good for all farmers. What is more, the more CO2 there is in the atmosphere, the faster our crops will grow. If you do not believe me, try it in a greenhouse. Suppose you were to succeed and actually remove huge quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere: we could not grow our crops. You would have to learn to live on a diet of fungus and mushrooms.

Then there is the atmospheric greenhouse effect. As most people now know, CO2 is also useful in keeping the planet warm by absorbing the sun’s rays and preventing the whole planet from icing up, just like North America at the moment with its polar vortex coming down from the Arctic. Of course, scientists tell us that CO2 is only a very minor greenhouse gas and that water vapour in the atmosphere is responsible for over 80 per cent of the greenhouse gas effect on the Earth. Even the Greens will not want to get rid of water vapour.

So what is all this about carbon? What is the problem here? You want money, don’t you? The EU loves its fuel duty, its VAT on gas and electricity and carbon allowances for big industry, taxing our jobs away to other countries, making our bills ever higher and blaming the power industry. Of course, some scientists support carbon capture and storage – but then they get subsidies and grants from the EU, so they would, wouldn’t they? I am reminded of the anaerobic digester nonsense that is happening on farms at the moment, where we pour energy into growing maize with fertiliser and horsepower, saying how clever we are in reducing emissions, only to go and take this to a digester to burn it.

 
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