Renaissance beckons for the once great industrial hubs of northern England and Scotland, and the unexpected catalyst may be stringent global climate controls.
What looks at first sight like an economic threat could instead play elegantly to Britain's competitive advantage, for almost no other country on earth is so well-placed to combine energy-intensive manufacturing with carbon capture at a viable cost.
The industrial clusters of the Tees Valley and the Humber are linked by a network of pipelines to depleted and well-mapped oil and gas fields in the North Sea, offering rare access to infrastructure for carbon storage deep underground.
Liverpool has old wells of its own offshore in the Irish sea. Scotland's heavy industry in Grangemouth and the Forth have feeder pipelines to the Golden Eye.
Such sites may not be worth much today - with carbon prices in Europe too low to matter at barely $5 a tonne - but the COP21 climate deal agreed in Paris last December transforms the long-term calculus.
It implies a tightening regime of higher carbon penalties for the next half century, ending in net zero CO2 emissions. Once prices approach $50 a tonne the equation changes. Beyond $100 it inverts the pyramid of energy wealth: profits accrue to those with access to the cheapest low carbon power.
"Storage will be much more valuable than the fossil fuels themselves. If you are an energy-intensive industry in the middle of Europe and you don't have C02 storage, you're stuffed," said professor Jon Gibbins from Edinburgh University.
Here is a PDF of AE-P's article.
This is interesting and entrepreneurial long-term thinking. I believe we will hear more of it following Brexit because the UK has voted to retake control of its destiny. That is an exciting and positive development which will inspire additional creativity and economic development.
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