CLIMATE campaigners have urged ministers not to invest in an energy project they say has a “long and inglorious legacy of failure” and should instead be putting funding into measures that can cut emissions.

The UK Government is set to commit £20bn of funding into carbon capture and storage technology over a 20-year period, but it is unlikely any money will be spent before the next general election.

The technology prevents harmful carbon emissions from being released into the atmosphere, with the gas instead being harness and trapped in the ground, usually in the seabed.

Read more: Chancellor to invest in carbon capture projects with £20bn of funding

A Scottish carbon capture and storage, in the North East, missed out on funding from the UK Government – putting the Scottish Government’s key climate targets, particularly a pledge to cut 1990 levels of emissions by 75 per cent by 2030, at risk of failure.

The Scottish Government has been unable to draw up an alternative plan that does not rely on carbon capture, despite an appeal from statutory advisers, the Climate Change Committee.

And a row has emerged over the UK Government’s priority given to ramping up new nuclear power, with none of the projects set to be rolled out in Scotland due to the SNP Government’s opposition to the technology.

Despite energy being reserved to the UK Government, SNP ministers can veto plans for nuclear power stations north of the border through planning rules.

Read more: Warning over reliance on carbon capture and storage for climate targets

In the strategy, to be announced by the Chancellor in his Budget on Wednesday, the UK Government will announce plans to streamline and coordinate the delivery of new nuclear power plants to meet the Conservatives’ ambition of up to 24GW of nuclear power being produced by 2050.

In an attempt to address soaring costs for nuclear projects, the UK Government hopes to encourage the private sector to invest in the technology by classing nuclear power generation as “environmentally sustainable” under the green tax regime.

But the SNP at Westminster has appealed for more focus to be placed on carbon capture technology instead of small modular nuclear reactors. Neither technology has been deployed at scale anywhere in the world.

SNP energy spokesperson, Alan Brown, has accused UK minister for energy security and net zero, Andrew Bowie, of prioritising “expensive and unnecessary” nuclear power stations.

Read more: Warning SNP may have to redraw climate strategy after carbon capture snub

Mr Brown said: “Rather than supporting efforts to herald in a just transition for the tens of thousands reliant on the energy sector in his own patch, Andrew Bowie and his Tory UK government is instead prioritising expensive and unnecessary nuclear stations that won’t even open until at least 2028.

“With his warped priorities he’s failing to stand up for the communities in the North East who won’t benefit from nuclear energy, and have directly suffered from the UK Government’s carbon capture snub."

“Scotland is an energy-rich nation, and that means it is essential that the UK government match the Scottish Government’s commitment to harness that energy in a clean and renewable way while securing jobs – nothing Bowie is doing supports that.”

But climate campaigners have called for the focus to be moved away from carbon capture, amid warnings the technology simply allows fossil fuels giants to continue to burn oil and gas in the North Sea.

Read more: SNP minister says Tories risking energy jobs over carbon capture snub

Activists have called for investment in measures that can cut emissions now rather than subsidising carbon capture which will only benefit hugely profitable fossil fuel companies.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s climate campaigner, Alex Lee, said: “The story of carbon capture is a long and inglorious legacy of failure. The UK Government must not continue to throw public money at fossil fuel companies to try and prolong their climate-wrecking industry through the pipe dreams at Acorn or anywhere else.

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“The only successful capture by this industry is public money, because it is certainly not capturing carbon. It's long past time to stop subsidising some of the most profitable polluters on the planet.”

They added: “After nearly 20 years of industry promises and a complete failure to deliver, it is time to redirect that investment and energy to climate solutions that we know can deliver emissions cuts and improve peoples' lives today, rather than falling for eternal promises of it just being around the corner.

“Scottish ministers need to wake up and realise that carbon capture and these other so-called negative emissions technologies are a dangerous distraction from the urgent and necessary working of cutting emissions at source and delivering a just transition away from fossil fuels."

A UK Government spokesperson said: “Nuclear is a key part of securing greater energy security and independence. Anyone dismissing the obvious benefits of nuclear energy is doing a disservice to the British, and Scottish, people.

“We are also making the UK a world leader in carbon capture, utilisation and storage and are accelerating the development of this vital technology. We’re putting £1bn into CCUS and we recognise the strong role that Scotland can play in developing and expanding the use of CCUS."

The Acorn project did not respond to requests for comment.