Carbon Capture Under Fire
Posted by mhudema on July 17, 2008
Carbon capture under fire
By GABRIEL ZARATE, SRJ Reporter 16.JUL.08
The Alberta government has allotted $2 billion to pursue carbon capture and storage (CCS) at a time when some environmentalists are questioning the worth of the process.
A relatively new technology, carbon storage is supposed to keep millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide gas from being released into the atmosphere by industries such as oilsands extraction or coal-fired power generation.
“With this announcement we will continue to demonstrate leadership and encourage the federal government and Alberta industries to make real investments in carbon capture and storage,” stated Premier Ed Stelmach in a press release.
The thrust of the funding is for large-scale CCS projects that can be built quickly. The Alberta government expects the projects it funds will reduce emissions by up to five million tonnes annually. That is the equivalent of taking a million vehicles off the road, or one-third of all vehicles registered in Alberta.
Dan Woynillowicz of the Pembina Institute, an environmental advocacy group concerned with the approach to oilsands development expressed guarded approval of the program, but suggests it doesn’t go far enough.
He also criticized the $2 billion as a “handout to an industry everybody is well aware is making record profits.”
Mike Hudema of Greenpeace used much stronger language: Carbon capture and storage “is definitely going to do nothing to address the increasing number of environmental and health issues related to tarsands development, such as air pollution, destruction of boreal forest, water contamination and rising cancer rates in downstream communities and will also do very little to stall the climate crisis.”
Hudema alleges that while the Alberta government claims CCS would be the equivalent of taking a million cars off the road, the pace of oilsands development is the same as putting 15.2 million cars on the road.