The Case for Carbon Capture
Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) has been identified as crucial in the efforts to reign in CO2 emissions that are causing climate change by leading agencies such as the UN IPCC, the International Energy Agency and the World Bank.
But CCS, the process of physically capturing CO2 emissions from industrial systems like power plants, pressurizing the CO2 into liquid form, and transporting it via pipeline to locations where it can safely be stored underground is the black sheep of carbon reduction strategies. We need it, but no one seems to want it. The environmental left is hesitant to support CCS because the process is viewed as a means to keep the fossil fuel industries operating well into the future. Industry and conservatives often treat CCS as an expensive and unproven albatross that will strangle business.
There is an element of truth to both of these positions. CCS is expensive and has never been built to the scale required, though all of the individual technical components have long been proven. CCS is also critical to the long-term viability of fossil fuels, particularly coal, in a carbon constrained future. Industry needs to do their part in driving down costs, and the left needs to recognize that fossil fuels are not going away (in our lifetimes) no matter how much renewables or nuclear power get built out.