Time to Ditch CCS: Its a Distraction
Updated: Oct 2
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is spruiked and subsidised as a technological solution that can help Australia and the world combat carbon emissions and save the planet. But in reality, its a scam. The evidence is increasingly clear. CCS is not only dysfunctional but also a dangerous distraction from real climate action.
CCS proponents argue it reduces emissions by capturing CO2 at the source and storing it deep underground. In theory, this could prevent vast amounts of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, thus curbing global warming. But a closer look at projects around the world reveals a stark contrast between promises and outcomes. The world has over 2,000 coal-fired power stations. But global CCS capacity, if it worked, would only capture emissions from three of them! Australia's own experience exemplifies this dysfunction. CCS projects here, have time and again, fallen far short of expectations and caused more harm than good.
The Gorgon LNG Project, which has received over $60 million in goverment subsidies, serves as a sobering example. Touted as a global leader in carbon capture technology, the project is supposed capture and store millions of tonnes of CO2 each year. But Gorgon has never run at more than one-third of its capacity and it constantly encounters obstacles, technical challenges and cost overruns. It has consistently failed to meet its targets, casting doubts on the efficacy, integrity and financial viability of CCS. The Otway Basin Carbon Capture and Storage Project, has also been a failure, struggling with geological leakage.
One of the most alarming aspects of CCS in Australia is its association with the coal industry. Australian governments allocate huge subsidies to support CCS initiatives in coal-fired power plants - despite the fact that these investments don't work, prolong fossil fuel use and hinder transition to renewables.
The CarbonNet Project, aimed at capturing and storing CO2 emissions from Victoria's brown coal power stations, is a prime example. Over $100 million in subsidies have been allocated to it. But instead of accelerating the transition to cleaner energy, CarbonNet reinforces dependence on coal and is locking in outdated technologies. It is not only failing to address the root causes of climate change, but also diverting attention and funding away from what's really needed.
Australia has abundant renewable energy, with vast solar and wind resources that can power our needs. Instead of wasting money and time with CCS fixations, our focus should be on accelerating clean energy adoption and improving energy efficiency.
We are wasting resources on CCS projects that are dysfunctional and serve as a smokescreen. Flawed CCS projects subsidised by tax-payers are propping up the fossil fuel industry. It's time to ditch the distractions of CCS.
Yallourn Power Station in Victoria.