CCS is 'expensive, uncertain and energy intensive'

CCS is not the solution to our fossil fuel addiction, argues Bas Eickhout.

 

10 Feb 2014

Last month the European parliament voted with a clear majority in favour of a report that promotes the use of scarce public finances on the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS). CCS is an expensive, uncertain and energy-intensive technology that is surrounded by safety concerns and faces fierce local resistance. The Greens have therefore voted against the report.

In the power sector, there are several viable alternatives to fossil fuels. Modernisation of our energy system, that achieves deep emission reductions, is possible through energy savings measures and a high share of renewables. CCS, while masquerading as a solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is in reality used in order to justify a business-as-usual scenario. In Europe, dirty coal-fired power plants are still being built with the excuse of being 'CCS-ready'. We are increasingly locking ourselves in a high-carbon energy system, while there are serious doubts about the commercial viability of CCS. However, under no condition should public support be given to CCS in the power sector, as there is no need for CCS to reduce the carbon footprint of our energy system.

[pullquote]The own-initiative report on CCS by Chris Davies has diverted attention away from the no-regrets options for tackling climate change[/pullquote]. It is hence time we focus again on the real solutions: energy savings, renewable energy sources and smart grids, instead on an uncertain technology which ultimately perpetuates a fossil-fuel based economy. The vote by the energy and environment committees of this house in favour of three binding targets for CO2 reductions, renewables and energy efficiency is, therefore, a welcome step in the right direction.

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