carbon capture and storage

Thu, 2014-04-24 13:21Raphael Lopoukhine
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Alberta Ramps Up “Responsible Energy Development” Sales Pitch in Wake of New Keystone XL Delay

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Days after another delay by the Obama administration on TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, members of the Alberta government are hitting the U.S. circuit to promote the oilsands and boost their “green” credentials.

Three government officials are heading to key regions in the U.S. to push for continued market access and advertise what Albertan energy minister Diana McQueen calls “our commitment to clean energy development.”

Alberta hopes to showcase investment in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology as part of a successful emissions reduction plan.

Critics say the Alberta government’s talk about “sustainability” and “clean energy” is not in line with reality.

If you’ve been following the Canadian government’s sales pitch for the Keystone XL pipeline, you’ve probably heard this claim before: ‘Emissions per barrel have been reduced by 26 per cent between 1990 and 2011,’” writes P.J. Partington, senior federal policy analyst with the Pembina Institute.

However, the reality, Partington writes, is that “since 1990, oilsands production has quintupled, while GHG emissions from production and upgrading have quadrupled.”

Mon, 2013-11-18 03:19Kevin Grandia
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International Coal Summit's Glorious Pipe Dream of Carbon Capture and Storage

A new study released today at the UN climate conference underway in Warsaw, Poland finds that new coal plants cannot be built if we are to keep global warming below the 2° Celsius threshold.

That is, unless the coal industry can deploy commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS). 

The report, titled: New unabated coal is not compatible with keeping global warming below 2°C, finds that of all the fossil fuels, coal is the easiest to substitute with renewable technologies and that:

“The current global trend of coal use is consistent with an emissions pathway above the IEA's [International Energy Agency] 6°C scenario. That risks an outcome that can only be described as catastrophic, beyond anything that mankind has experienced during its entire existence on earth.”

In other words, CCS better work and work fast.

Down the road from the UN conference, the Polish government (of all people) is hosting the “International Coal and Climate Summit” which heavily features CCS experts and discussion panels. 

There will likely be little talk at the coal summit of just how ridiculous the idea of commercially deployed CCS is becoming.

CCS technology has been a “future” solution for many years now, with governments abandoning experimental projects due to cost overruns and lack of progress. Governments like the United States, at the behest of the coal lobby, have pumped billions into CCS technology experiments, yet it continues to fail as a commercially viable option. 

A recent study by the Global CCS Institute found that the number of large scale CCS projects has dropped to 65 from 75 over the last year. If this was the grand solution to the urgent issue of climate change, you would think we would be seeing more projects coming on line, not fewer.

Thu, 2013-07-25 05:00Steve Horn
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Controversial State Department Keystone XL Climate Study the Basis of David Petraeus' CUNY Seminar

Former CIA-head David Petraeus' City University of New York (CUNY) Macaulay Honors College seminar readings include several prominent Big Oil-funded “frackademia” studies, a recent DeSmogBlog investigation revealed.

Further digging into records obtained via New York's Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) also reveals “a survey of the global economy to set the stage for the course” - as stated in an email from Petraeus to an unknown source due to redaction - utilizes the U.S. State Department's Keystone XL environmental review written by Environmental Resources Management (ERM Group) to argue that Transcanada's tar sands export pipeline deserves approval.

“[Redacted], atttached is a document that my Harvard researchers and I put together for the seminar I'll lead at Macaulay Honors College of CUNY,” wrote Petraeus in the email. “It is intended to be a survey of the global economy to set the stage for the course…[It] will have considerable value, I think, for the undergrads in the course.”

The “Global Economy” survey was penned on behalf of Petraeus by Vivek Chilukuri, one of Petraeus' researchers at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Public Policy, where Petraeus sits as a Non-Resident Fellow. Chilukuri serves as Editor-in-Chief for the Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics & Policy, and worked for Obama for America before the 2008 election. 

It was at the Harvard Kennedy School where all of Petraeus' troubles began. His biographer, Paula Broadwell, whom he had an affair with, met Petraeus while a Harvard graduate student, a scandal that ultimately drove him out of the CIA.

His CIA departure landed Petraeus his current gigs on Wall Street at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and as an adjunct professor at CUNY Honors College and University of Southern California - and coming full circle - back at Harvard, where the spool began to unravel. 

Wed, 2013-06-26 09:43Kevin Grandia
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Is Obama's Faith in Carbon Capture a Technicolor Dream?

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President Obama's climate action announcement yesterday relies heavily on carbon capture and storage technology eventually paying off as a commercially viable option. But carbon capture and storage (or CCS) continues to be more of a dream than reality. And a very expensive dream at that.

According to a database maintained at MIT's Carbon Capture and Sequestration Technologies program, there are currently six large scale CCS projects underway in the United States. Five of the six projects are still in the planning phase, with one project listed as under construction. The current projected price tag of these six projects is a whopping $16.7 billion.

That's a lot to gamble on a risky technology that continues to struggle to prove it's even possible to deploy on a global scale. And $16.7 billion is only the opening bet. A full scale deployment of CCS technology across the entire US would likely be in the hundreds of billions. Estimates run as high as $1.5 trillion a year to deploy and operate enough carbon capture and storage worldwide to significantly reduce carbon emissions from the fossil fuels we consume.

President Obama announced his administration would make $8 billion available in loan guarantees for the development of enhanced fossil energy projects, which includes CCS technology. 

In a follow-up announcement today, the Interior department and the US Geological Survey released “the first-ever detailed national geologic carbon sequestration assessment.”

Mon, 2010-05-17 11:52Kevin Grandia
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Fossil Fuel Industry's 65-Page Strategy to Sell Carbon and Capture Technology

A report shows how the coal, oil and tar sands industry, along with government plans to sell carbon and capture and storage technology to a skeptical public.

The 65-page report titled, Communication of carbon capture and storage: outcomes from an international workshop to summarize the current global position [pdf], was produced by the Global Carbon Capture and Storage (GCCS) Institute, an organization formally launched by US president Barack Obama and Australian president Kevin Rudd at the 2009 G8 summit.

Communications recommendations for selling carbon capture and storage in the report include:

“…when multiple stakeholders join forces to communicate a message the message is more likely to be well received and trusted, particularly if those communicating the messages are generally known to have opposing views. For example, when NGOs team up with industry partners…”

“Within each community there are various audiences that need to be considered, particularly for targeting engagement processes and key messages.”

Members of the GCCS Institute include major coal producers and Canada tar sands operators who have the most to gain by selling the idea that carbon capture and storage can work on a commercial scale, including Enbridge, ConocoPhilips, Duke Energy, Arch Coal and the Integrated CO2 Network.

While billions of dollars continue to be invested in carbon capture and storage technology, it remains little more than a pipe-dream that industry will find a way to capture and store greenhouse gases at the level needed to significantly reduce worldwide emissions and avoid the most devastating effects of climate change.

H/T to Geoff Dembicki at The Tyee for this story.

Mon, 2010-01-11 14:22Kevin Grandia
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Government of Canada's Hidden Tar Sand Truths

Canwest Newspaper reported late last week that new documents have been uncovered showing a pro-industry bias in Government of Canada studies on the environmental and economic impact of Alberta’s tar sands projects.

According to Canwest:

“Officials from Environment Canada who reviewed the original package, warned that it reflected the views of oil companies instead of the facts.

“The package should deliver neutral, balanced and factual information,” said the analysis. “Currently, much of the language is too pro-industry, and would make the government to be perceived as bias and thus not credible or serving the public good.”

Want the facts on the Alberta Oil Sands? Check our Top 10 Facts About the Alberta Oil Sands  section.

Fri, 2008-10-24 10:47Kevin Grandia
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Top coal CEO isn't buying the techno-hope of carbon capture and storage

One of the most compelling chapters in the PBS Frontline 2-hour special on global warming that aired earlier this week was the segment on America’s Addiction to Coal. PBS dives headfirst into the myth of clean coal and pretty much tears it apart using something we  don’t often see these days when it come US energy issues: facts.

Wed, 2008-07-02 11:52Ross Gelbspan
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CCS: An Idea Whose Time Is Way Behind Schedule!

Carbon capture and storage (CSS) is fast becoming the oil industry's favorite solution to the climate crisis, but the seductive simplicity of the idea masks a series of doubts about its viability.
Mon, 2008-06-23 11:50Kevin Grandia
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Some Clean Coal Facts and Fiction on CNBC

CNBC's Mark Haines asks: “How Realistic is Clean Coal,” and Haines does a great job off the top by pointing out that his guest, Steve Miller of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), is funded by the coal industry.

This type of disclosure is important, as it provides viewers with some valuable context when hearing what Mr. Miller has to say. As Miller states on the show, his organization ACCCE is funded by:

“The coal producers, railroads and other transporters, generators… we got them all, manufacturers as well.”
Mon, 2008-05-12 17:36Kevin Grandia
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Obama and Clinton's "Clean Coal" Kills Climate Promises

Both Clinton and Obama are stumping for “clean coal” up and down the coal State of West Virginia today.

And both Presidential hopefuls include the capture and storage of “clean coal” greenhouse gas emissions in their policy platforms.

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