COMMENTARY | Did You Know? Carbon Capture and Storage is a False Climate Solution

Tim Whitehouse

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Did You Know? Carbon Capture and Storage is a False Climate Solution

This commentary was originally published in the Winter 2024 edition of PEEReview.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a pillar of the Biden administration’s climate plan. The Inflation Reduction Act includes lucrative CCS tax credits that could send billions of dollars in subsidies to the oil and gas pipeline companies annually while doing little, if anything, to address greenhouse gas emissions.

CCS is a process in which carbon dioxide (CO2) is transported via pipelines, injected into wells, and stored underground. The aim is to reduce CO2 emissions. With these huge tax breaks, companies are rushing to propose and build carbon pipelines to carry CO2 “captured” from industrial, ethanol, and oil and gas plants to locations, often far from the plants, where it can be stored underground or reused for oil extraction.

This expensive and unproven technology does not address the greenhouse gas emissions, environmental degradation, or public health consequences from the build-out of CCS infrastructure or the other forms of pollution from the industries using CCS.

In addition to these harms, CCS diverts tremendous sums of money from real climate solutions, such as reducing energy consumption, switching to clean energy sources, and protecting biodiversity.

However, with marching orders from the top, federal agencies have now gone all-in on CCS. For example, EPA recently turned oversight of CCS injection wells in Louisiana to the state, despite the state’s dismal record in regulating the oil and gas industry. Meanwhile the Forest Service recently announced proposed rules to enable companies the perpetual and exclusive use of Forest Service lands for carbon capture and storage activities.

PEER has joined a coalition of groups fighting the Forest Service’s outrageous proposal. Last year, we also successfully argued to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that carbon pipelines should be subject to the Commission’s oversight and routing rules. We are determined not to let this new industry cut environmental corners.

CCS is one of many false climate solutions. As we ramp up PEER’s climate integrity project, we’d love to hear your ideas about how we can be most effective in this space.

Tim Whitehouse, Executive Director of PEER Tim Whitehouse is the Executive Director at PEER.

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