Is CCS just a smokescreen for inaction?
My Clean Break column today takes shots at the hype surrounding carbon capture and storage technologies, which politicians and industry cling to when asked what they’re doing to reduce greenhouse gases. Separating CO2 from coal plant emissions and oil sands production and sequestering it underground can technically be done, there’s no question. But beyond lots of talk and a handful of tiny pilot projects, it’s not being done in a way that would suggest it will save us from climate change anytime soon. Even if we do prove it can work on the massive scale required, there’s no indication at this point that we have the manpower and resources required to do it. The danger here is that the public is being told about the potential of CCS and in the process being given false assurances that action is being taken. Meanwhile, Rome burns. Citizens — voters — have to start demanding more immediate actions from industry, and this will only come by forcing our governments to impose a carbon tax ASAP. Like grand promises 10 years ago of a hydrogen economy and all the wonderful cleanliness that comes with it, CCS is merely another buzz phrase being exploited to pacify a concerned public. This, in my opinion, is reckless.