A CLIMATE expert has told the Scottish Parliament's Net Zero Committee that the UK Government’s decision not to back a major carbon capture project in Scotland is ”fundamentally detrimental and serious".

Whilst giving evidence to the committee, Professor Stuart Haszeldine – the world’s first professor of carbon capture utilisation and storage and leader of the UK's largest academic CCS research group – said that the project needs to be funded now “if Scotland is going to meet its 2045 net zero target".

Haszeldine stressed that Westminster’s decision not to fund the Acorn Project prevents Scotland enacting CO2 capture and storage within the time required to meet its targets.

READ MORE: UK Government rejected Scots carbon capture project 'for political reasons'

The climate expert went on to say that there was “no advantage” to being given the status of a reserve bidder - as Westminster has done for the Scottish cluster of proposed carbon capture utilisation and storage projects.

It merely means “a lot of meetings” and requires companies to “run on the spot with very little or no funding, and it prevents [them] from generating other opportunities in the meantime".

Commenting, SNP MSP Jackie Dunbar said: “Scottish businesses, workers, elected representatives and climate experts are all making it clear just how essential funding Scotland's CCUS project is – especially given the huge amount of expertise in the energy sector we already have.

“I don’t know what it will take for the Tories to wake up to the damage they are doing to both the energy sector in the north east as well as our ability to tackle the climate emergency.

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“Climate expert Professor Haszeldine laid it out plainly today - the Tory government’s decision not to back the Acorn Project is detrimental and will prevent Scotland meeting our 2045 net zero targets.

“The SNP Scottish Government is demonstrating how seriously it is taking our journey to net zero and our responsibility to the energy sector of the North East – from the £500 million Just Transition Fund to the 750 green jobs created and safeguarded through the £10.7 million Green Jobs Fund.

“However, our efforts continue to be undermined by the UK Tory government.

"They must reverse their senseless decision to not fund the Scottish cluster or it will significantly compromise our ability to reduce emissions not just in Scotland but across the UK.”