Friday 26 May 2023

Carbon capture and storage

Nikki Mandow at Newsroom has a long piece on carbon capture and storage.

It's really getting to be time that we have a regulatory framework in place for it. Sure, there aren't that many huge point-source polluters for capturing from smokestacks, but didn't the government just throw a giant pile of money at NZ Steel while claiming that flipping to an electric arc furnace would have huge effects? They can't both be right. 

And remember that CCS is bigger than just capturing from smokestacks. Lots of techs in development for direct air capture. In Nikki's piece, I mentioned the work Allan Scott's doing at Canterbury on olivine. By coincidence, Works in Progress notes another way of using olivine weathering for sequestering carbon

And The Economist figures carbon removal (point-source CCS and direct air capture) could wind up being a trillion-dollar business

Nikki gave me the closing word at Newsroom, and I'll post it here. This crap is going to wreck the path to Net Zero. 

A ‘hair shirt’ mentality

Crampton worries CCS has become tied up in an ideological debate between the value of gross versus net emissions reductions.

“The Government has been sending increasingly mixed signals, but I think more recently it has been wanting more focus on gross emissions.

“I don’t know that the climate cares about whether the next tonne of emissions that failed to be in the atmosphere is because someone failed to emit them in the first place, or because somebody sucked them out of the atmosphere directly. So long as you get to the same atmospheric concentration of carbon, it shouldn't matter how you get there.

“It almost feels like there’s this desire on the political side to wear a hair shirt around this, that it’s not real change unless we can feel the burn. It's like it’s cheating, like in their heads carbon capture and storage is somehow getting away from our obligation to reduce gross emissions.

“Even if it’s going to screw up our path to net zero.” 

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