Much to the utter dismay of climate scientists, the British Government is to announce a new generation of coal-fired power plants to stave off a potential energy crisis.

The plants will also use unproven carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to try and pump CO2 emissions under the sea. Each CCS could cost more than £1 billion, paid for by a new levy on consumers’ electricity bills.

A study by the energy giant E.ON has proposed a network connecting major emitters of carbon dioxide in the Thames Estuary to a central pipeline carrying the gas to be stored in old gas fields in the North Sea.

Although the power companies welcome the new era of CCS, there are serious doubts about how efficient the coal plants will be and how much CO2 will ultimately be saved. CCS remains unproven at this scale anywhere in the world.

Together with the CO2 created by mining the coal, transporting it and building and running the equipment, it means that the “life cycle” carbon savings are likely to be around 75% of the emissions, compared to unabated coal. And that’s only if the technology works at all.

In preparing for today’s announcement in yesterday’s budget, the UK Chancellor announced plans for four demonstration plants.  Someone should tell him that his governmetn has also said that they plan to open up eight new plants.

That means that four will work on unproven technology and four will just pollute.

Doesn’t add up, does it?