All the cool graphics in the world, such at this one from Bellona, won't make CCS commercially or technologically viable any faster.
Carbon Capture and Storage has been thrown around by tar sands developers as the solution to their pollution problem. Namely that getting oil out of the tar sands is a hugely carbon intensive process that results in fuel with a carbon footprint 5-8 times as bad as conventionally produced fossil fuels. A new piece in Canada's The Hill Times shows how dissent is emerging regarding CCS and tar sands:The article quotes a number of important points made, but the gist of it is that CCS is 12-20 years away from being commercialized on a scale large enough to deal with the carbon intensity of the tar sands; there are also serious doubts about long-term storage of sequestered carbon emissions; and, that CCS is being touted as a catch-all solution for an industry that has myriad environmental problems.
CCS Should Be Smaller Part of Climate Change Strategy
The article quotes Jack Century, a retired petroleum, minerals and environmental geologist, who really nails down the problem,
...CCS is being "oversold as a panacea, as a silver bullet," when it should be considered a smaller part of an overall GHG reduction strategy. "It's been overblown," he said. "It can contribute in a small way. It's one of many things that can be done. But the fact it's been used as a major method to get rid of the emissions that Alberta's producing from tar sands and coal and everybody else is a real ... it's been oversold. It's not fair to tell the public that this will solve our problems. It's wrong. I think governments are beginning to understand this. There needs to be a lot of homework done in every case they're looking at. It's a very complex subject."
All of that is to say that research should certainly continue into developing CCS, but all too often the promise of it seems to be used by fossil fuel producers to justify continued burning of dirty fuels. Until, one day, just over the horizon, CCS will clean up everything. It's potentially a dangerous distraction.
And all of this doesn't even go into the dubious financials of CCS, which may doom it in any case.
via: The Hill Times
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