Carbon Capture & Storage
Carbon Capture Technology is Dangerous, Expensive — and it is simply greenwashing
In the face of escalating climate disasters and the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions, the concept of carbon capture and storage (CCS) has gained considerable attention. However, it is crucial to see through the smoke and mirrors of industry propaganda and recognize the true consequences of this so-called “solution.”
The promises made by industry leaders and politicians who champion carbon capture as a panacea for climate change are nothing more than an elaborate scam. Far from being an effective tool to combat the environmental crisis, CCS will perpetuate and exacerbate pollution, particularly in communities already burdened by the toxic effects of dirty energy.
Proponents of carbon capture claim that the technology can trap and remove carbon emissions from smokestacks or even directly from the atmosphere. Billions of dollars have been allocated to develop and deploy carbon capture, with promises of mitigating climate change. However, the reality is far from the industry’s rosy picture.
The track record of corporations when it comes to pumping substances underground is far from reassuring. Oil and gas companies routinely inject wastewater deep into the earth, resulting in earthquakes, leaks and contamination of well water. Moreover, the carbon capture facilities themselves do not primarily use the captured carbon for its intended end-use of storage. Shockingly, 95% of the captured carbon is injected into existing oil and gas wells for enhanced oil recovery, perpetuating our harmful dependence on fossil fuels.
Furthermore, carbon capture is an incredibly energy-intensive process, which, when combined with the emissions from fossil fuels, has led to a net increase in emissions rather than a decrease. Failed carbon capture projects have already cost taxpayers billions of dollars, further burdening the economy without delivering on their promised environmental benefits.
Carbon Capture is a Multi-Purpose Boondoggle
The dangers of carbon capture extend beyond its ineffectiveness in combating climate change. This scheme serves as a deceptive greenwashing tactic for various dirty energy sources, such as ethanol. The corn ethanol industry, touted as a “renewable” fuel source, has been proven to be 24% more emissions-intensive than gasoline. Moreover, it contributes to a range of negative impacts, including inflated corn prices and unsustainable industrial agricultural practices.
Regrettably, carbon capture has already found its way into the ethanol industry, greenwashing it further. Extensive pipeline networks are being planned to transport CO2 from ethanol and fertilizer facilities for injection into the ground. This means that carbon capture, rather than addressing the root causes of pollution, will bolster and prolong the existence of numerous dirty energy sources.
The fossil fuel industry is eagerly adopting carbon capture to revive coal and fracked gas plants, as well as attaching it to (blue) hydrogen power generation derived from fracked gas. By exploiting carbon capture as a cover, corporations across the dirty energy sector can continue emitting harmful pollutants, jeopardizing public health and safety.
Carbon Capture Entrenches Dangerous Industry in Vulnerable Communities
If the fossil fuel industry gets its way, carbon capture would subject frontline communities to even more pollution, environmental and health risks. We are well aware that proximity to fossil fuel power plants puts children at a higher risk of asthma and respiratory illnesses. In addition, fracking operations release toxic chemicals into the air and water, posing grave health hazards.
The implementation of carbon capture would necessitate carbon intensive massive infrastructure development, which, in turn, would bring devastating consequences to nearby communities. Past experiences with pipelines have shown that they can disrupt communities, leak odorless and colorless CO2, and displace oxygen, putting human lives in danger. There have already been incidents resulting in hospitalizations and severe environmental damage.
The Illusion of Carbon Capture: Trading Off Real Solutions
Let us be clear: carbon capture is not the solution to our climate crisis, and not even a tool in the toolbox we should be using. By diverting attention and resources away from genuine, bold solutions such as renewable energy and energy efficiency, we prolong fossil fuel dependence and delay the crucial transition to a sustainable and equitable future.