Carbon 'capture': Hobson's choice
Published: Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
A certain cohort of the eco-wacko crowd actually supporting the EPA's proposed coal industry-killing restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions touts a system known as “carbon capture and storage (or sequestration)” as the answer. But where they get that idea is a mystery, considering how financially and technically unfeasible that process actually is.
The idea behind carbon capture is that carbon emissions can be captured, then pumped deep into the Earth for storage. Better there than in the air, where, supposedly, they are responsible for “climate change,” they argue.
That's the theory, at least. But attempts at practical application have been a bust. It's so expensive that the Europeans can't find anybody to finance the kind of large-scale projects that would be necessary. And the same goes for the United States, which has earmarked billions for research and demonstration projects but, as The Washington Post's Brad Plumer noted last summer, “there's little to show for it.”
Not only would such a system increase the cost of a new coal-fired plant by about 75 percent, Mr. Plumer notes, there are serious safety questions about the effects of pumping liquefied carbon deep into the Earth. Earthquakes are just one of those concerns, which, some researchers say, make carbon capture and storage pretty much folly.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says the new emissions standards cannot be met without carbon capture and storage. It's the kind of Hobson's choice that confirms the Obama administration's real intent — to kill coal as an electricity-generating fuel once and for all.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ObamaCare: HIT’s hit
- Greensburg Tuesday takes
- Pittsburgh Tuesday takes
- Alle-Kiski Tuesday takes
- Nelson Mandela: The real legacy
- Detroit’s bankruptcy: An object lesson
- ‘China City’
- The Thursday wrap
- Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
- Saturday essay: A special tinsel
- The Box