Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) or “Clean Coal” has been promised for many years, the favoured option of fossil fuel companies. They have used the promise of CCS to:
- delay the development of renewable energy,
- offer hope to the coal industry, and
- delay action on climate change.
Industry claims that CCS is the cheapest way to reduce emissions. This ignores the fact that renewable energy is already cost-competitive, in some instances cheaper, than new-build fossil fuel generators.
It also ignores the fact that CCS has been a technology on the cusp of realisation for many years.
If we’re to avert the worst of climate change, emissions must go to zero, and beyond that as quickly as is possible. CCS can’t do it.
Here’s why it’s no solution.
The technology is slow to develop, with unresolved limitations and uncertainties. Underground storage of CO2 is not understood well enough, and there are no cases of permanent CO2 storage.
CCS itself consumes a large amount of energy.
The costs of CCS are going up (while renewable energy costs fall).
CCS can only happen at an enormous scale with high expense and would be challenging to deploy.
Proponents are finding it difficult to obtain social license and financing, due to the damage caused by mining and climate change. Governments and industry are withdrawing support from CCS.
CCS is unnecessary and only delays the urgent transition away from fossil fuels and on to 100% renewable energy in Australia and in all countries of the world.
Carbon Capture and Storage information paper
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Carbon capture and storage – reality or still a dream? (The Conversation)