Carbon capture technology is often described as a source of hope in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. The topic is divisive, nonetheless, with climate researchers, environmental advocacy groups, and others arguing that carbon capture technology is not a solution.
The world is confronting a climate crisis, and politicians and chief executives are under huge pressure to deliver on promises made as part of the Paris Agreement. Nearly 200 countries ratified the Paris Agreement in 2015. This agreement is critically important in avoiding the worst effects of climate change.
Carbon capture, utilization, and storage-often shortened to carbon capture technology or CCUS, refer to a group of technologies. The purpose of those technologies is to capture carbon dioxide from high-emitting activities such as power generation that use either fossil fuel or biomass for fuel.
The captured carbon dioxide is then compressed and transported via a pipeline, ship, or truck. Companies can use carbon dioxide for various purposes. Supporters of these technologies believe they can play an important role in meeting global and energy goals.
Carbon capture technology and main issues
There is no need for this technology according to the opponents of carbon capture technology. The non-profit Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) released its report this month. The CIEL concluded that these technologies are not effective. The CIEL also came to the conclusion that such technologies prolong reliance on the fossil fuel industry. The unproven scalability of such technologies, as well as their prohibitive costs, mean they can’t play any significant role.
In 2021, campaigners at Global Witness and Friends of the Earth Scotland commissioned scientists from Tyndall Centre. The purpose of the study was to assess the role of fossil fuel-related carbon capture technology in the energy sector.
The study found that the technologies stated above still face numerous barriers to short-term deployment. Researchers who conducted the study also found that it was incapable of operating with zero emissions. The study said dependence on carbon capture technology is not a solution to confronting the world’s climate change.
The International Energy Agency says despite all issues, it can offer significant strategic value in the transition to net zero. The agency identified four key strategic roles for the technologies. Such technologies have the ability to address emissions from energy infrastructure. They can also help to tackle hard-to-abate emissions from heavy industry. Moreover, it is possible to use them when it comes to natural gas-based hydrogen production and carbon removal.