Thursday, October 8, 2009

Carbon Capture Bamboozle

As far as "truthiness" in press releases goes, this one by the federal and Alberta governments on spending $865 million on the Shell Quest Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a doozy!

Let's count the truth-stretching, shall we?

1) "The most viable emission-reducing technology for fossil fuels is carbon capture and storage." - Hon. Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources

According to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, "the world has to find ways to both produce and consume oil and gas more efficiency, because consuming fossil fuels accounts for 80 per cent of the emissions created from fossil fuels..."

Doesn't it follow that if we reduce consumption, we'd reduce emissions? Wouldn't that be the most viable "technology"?

Also, if CCS is so "viable," why is the technology still being developed (see the next quote by Mel Knight)?

2) "A key goal of Alberta's provincial energy strategy is to achieve clean energy production through leadership of technology development." - Alberta Energy Minister Mel Knight

"Clean energy production," eh? Wasn't there something in the Edmonton Journal just today about reducing environmental oversight on some tar sands developments? "Streamlining the approval process" is a wonderful coded phrase in the lexicon of both governments.

3) "The Government of Alberta and Government of Canada should be commended for their leadership and vision on advancing deployment of CCS." - Graham Boje, HSSE & Sustainable Development Shell Canada

Yeah! That's right! Oh...that was "commended." I thought he said "condemned."

Carbon offsets currently cost between $2.75 and $33 per tonne to buy. If this CCS scheme works (remember, it might not), these offsets will cost about $48 per tonne over the 15 years Alberta has committed to fund the project.

Public dollars to fund offsets for a consortium of private companies using an unproven technology. Nice.

Even nicer: every dollar that Shell and their buddies spend on the CCS is deducted from the oil sands royalties they have to pay the Alberta government (see page 4-4 on "Cost Rules" on conducting research), which in turn helps them pay for an unproven technology using tax dollars.


2 Responses to "Carbon Capture Bamboozle"
  1. Anonymous said...
    October 9, 2009 at 6:23:00 p.m. MDT

    Ok kids, now please tell us if your scorn extends to the actions of the US President who just got a Nobel for his climate change policies - which includes CCS subsidies for producers - or to the IPCC which urges exactly that, or to US energy secretary Chu, or Denmark, or Germany, or Norway... Or is it just Alberta? Go ahead, tell us, the difference between Obama's Future Gen and Stelmach's Scotford is, uh, what?

  2. Anonymous said...
    October 9, 2009 at 6:55:00 p.m. MDT

    Oh, and by the by, carbon offsets are one thing, credits for sequestration would be another, very different thing. But thanks for your challenging contribution to this debate.

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