Sorry, but carbon-capture’s not the answer

One of the proposals for ‘solving’ climate change is to extract carbon dioxide out of the air and pump it into the ground, for example back into the oil wells in the North Sea.

That way we get to have our cake and eat it: carry on burning fossil fuels, and in fact use them up even faster because of the energy it takes to pump the CO2 out of the air and into the ground.

I used to think that was a great idea, at least as an interim solution while zero-CO2 energy generation technologies were developed.

But the world’s largest carbon capture and storage (so-called “CCS”) project is leaking CO2 back into the atmosphere. 

In Weyburn (Saskatchewan, Canada) small animals have been dying, and groundwater is foaming up like fizzy drink at a six year old’s birthday party. The provincial government refused even to investigate, so a farm couple who were affected hired an independent consultant to investigate.

You can read the full story here, but in a nutshell the point is that:

“The survey also demonstrates that the overlying thick cap rock of anhydrite over the Weyburn reservoir is not [bold added] an impermeable barrier to the upward movement of light hydrocarbons and CO2 as is generally thought.”

Carbon Capture and Storage is therefore pretty much like Nuclear Fuel — we can lock it away for thousands of years in stone or concrete containers and kid ourselves that it “will never leak out”. But ultimately it will, with devastating impacts for the people who are alive at the time.

This technology cannot be trusted. Cross it off the list and move on to find another solution.

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