Unpacking Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): Why It is Not the Climate Solution it is touted as

Climate change is a global challenge that demands innovative solutions. One proposed solution that’s been gaining attention is Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). While CCS is increasingly being touted as a silver bullet to combat climate change, it is a diversionary tactic that allows polluters to keep polluting while delaying real climate action and solutions. 

In this blog post, we’ll break down CCS in simple terms and explore why CCS is a dangerous distraction and not the solution to curbing greenhouse gas emissions and avoiding the worst impacts of the climate crisis.

Understanding CCS: The Basics

Carbon Capture and Storage is like a vacuum cleaner for carbon dioxide (CO2). Imagine your favorite power plant or factory is a giant CO2 factory, churning out tons of the greenhouse gas into the air. CCS steps in to capture that CO2 before it escapes into the atmosphere.

  • Capture:
    • Imagine capturing CO2 is like catching butterflies. There are different ways to do it, like putting a net after the butterflies (post-combustion), catching them before they fly (pre-combustion), or creating an environment where they can’t escape (oxy-fuel combustion).
  • Transportation:
    • Once we’ve caught the CO2 butterflies, we need to take them to a safe place. This involves transporting the captured CO2, usually through pipelines or ships, to storage sites.
  • Storage:
    • Think of storage sites as giant butterfly gardens, but underground. We carefully release the CO2 butterflies into these gardens, making sure they stay put and don’t escape back into the air.

Why Some Skepticism?

While CCS sounds deceptively promising, experts and critics have raised concerns about it

Cost Concerns:

  • Building and maintaining the CO2-catching vacuum cleaner can be expensive. Some argue that the money spent on CCS might be better used for more affordable and proven green technologies.

Delaying the Switch to Green Energy:

  • Critics worry that focusing too much on CCS might slow down our transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources like wind and solar power. It’s like fixing a leaky faucet instead of installing a more efficient water-saving system.

Butterfly Escapes:

  • There’s always a risk that some CO2 butterflies might escape from storage sites. If that happens, we’re back to square one with greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change.

Energy Hog:

  • The process of capturing and storing CO2 requires energy itself. It’s like using a lot of energy to catch those butterflies, making the whole operation less efficient.

In the grand scheme of things, CCS isn’t a simple superhero swooping in to save the day. In addition to the concerns above, CCS affords polluters to continue their harmful practices, fueling climate breakdown, instead of embarking on the urgently needed phase out of fossil fuels.

To truly tackle climate change, we need to eliminate dangerous distractions and employ a mix of real climate solutions. This includes investing, and tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030 which many nations supported at COP28, improving energy efficiency, and phasing out fossil fuels.These measures are critical towards a greener, sustainable and livable future for all.