Gore on CCS


in Economics, Politics, Science, The environment

In Our Choice, Al Gore adopts a position on carbon capture and storage (CCS) that is rather similar to my own. Namely, that there are big uncertainties, and little reason to expect CCS to emerge as a silver bullet that lets us mostly carry on with business as usual. Gore does, however, argue that the safety issues associated with CCS are not terribly significant.

One statistic he quotes seems especially notable:

If all the CO2 now being vented into the atmosphere by U.S. coal electricity plants were captured and converted into its liquid form, the volume would be equivalent to 30 million barrels of oil per day – three times the volumes of all the oil imported by the United States each day. If the CO2 were then transported by pipeline to repositories, as proposed, the amount (by volume) would be one third of that of all natural gas now being transported in pipelines throughout the U.S. (p. 136 paperback)

Think about the infrastructure associated with moving those quantities of fossil fuels, and you can better appreciate that CCS won’t be cheap and easy, even if it does eventually prove workable.

One surprising thing is that Gore doesn’t seem to mention how CCS could be used in combination with biomass-fuelled power plants to actually reduce the amount of CO2 in the air

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