Carbon Capture A Ploy?

CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) is an abbreviation that may become more common if the coal industry has its way. But The Economist argues that carbon taxes are a better way to improve the environment than investing in CCS technology.

1 minute read

March 14, 2009, 9:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid


"There does seem to be a way of reconciling coal and climate. It is called carbon capture and storage (CCS), or carbon sequestration, and entails vacuuming up carbon dioxide from the smokestacks of power plants and other big industrial facilities and storing it safely underground, where it will have no effect on the atmosphere. The technologies for this are already widely used in the oil and chemical industries, and saltwater aquifers and depleted oil fields offer plenty of promising storage space. Politicians are pinning their hopes on clean coal: Angela Merkel and Barack Obama, among others, are keen on the idea."

"Politicians should indeed encourage investment in clean technologies, but direct subsidies are not the way to do it.

A carbon price or tax, which raises the cost of emitting carbon dioxide while leaving it up to the private sector to pick technologies, is the better approach.

CCS is not just a potential waste of money. It might also create a false sense of security about climate change, while depriving potentially cheaper methods of cutting emissions of cash and attention -- all for the sake of placating the coal lobby."

Thanks to Bill Katakis

Monday, March 9, 2009 in Minneapolis Star-Tribune

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