Tag Archives: carbon capture and storage

Leaked IPCC climate plan to worsen global warming

By Nafeez Ahmed, April 7, 2014. Source: The Guardian

Photo: Greenpeace handout/EPA

Photo: Greenpeace handout/EPA

A British environmental organisation that has reviewed the draft of a forthcoming UN IPCC report on mitigating climate change has questioned many of the document’s recommendations as deeply flawed.

Dr Rachel Smolker, co-director of Biofuelwatch, said that the report’s embrace of “largely untested” and “very risky” technologies like bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration (BECCS), will “exacerbate” climate change, agricultural problems, water scarcity, soil erosion and energy challenges, “rather than improving them.”

A leaked draft of the as yet unpublished report by Working Group 3 (WG3) of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to be officially released in mid-April, was obtained by the Guardian. Dr Smolker, a behavioural ecologist and biofuels expert, said that the alarming impacts of climate change identified by the IPCC’s Working Groups 1 and 2 would “worsen” as a consequence of such “false solutions” which have been increasingly criticised in the scientific literature.

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, UNFCCC

Cleaning dirty gas enabling CO2 sales to dirtier oil producers

Note: This sentence pretty much sums it all up: “He’s betting hydrocarbon consumers will increasingly opt to trap emissions from natural gas, if not to help the environment then to duck potential government sanctions — or to sell CO2 at a profit.

Capturing carbon from gas used to extract tar sands–and using that gas to extract more tar sands!  We wish this one was for April Fools.

-The GJEP Team

By John Lippert, April 1, 2014. Source: Bloomberg

Drillers burn off the natural gas that surfaces with oil on a farm in North Dakota. Photo: Spencer Lowell/Bloomberg Markets

Drillers burn off the natural gas that surfaces with oil on a farm in North Dakota. Photo: Spencer Lowell/Bloomberg Markets

Andre Boulet, chief executive officer of Inventys Thermal Technologies Inc. in Burnaby, British Columbia, holds up a 6-inch piece of charcoal, showing how light passes through toothpick-sized air shafts. He says the crevices in this filter offer a cheap way to capture carbon dioxide before it ascends into the atmosphere and haunts future generations.

Boulet, who has spent $12 million on his seven-year-old company, predicts Inventys’s sales may reach hundreds of millions of dollars in five years — driven in part by North America’s natural gas boom, Bloomberg Markets magazine will report in its May issue.

President Barack Obama calls gas a bridge fuel for the U.S. economy. Power plants, factories and refineries are jumping onboard, lured by a 73 percent plunge in U.S. prices from 2005 to March 31. The country generated 28 percent of electricity with gas in 2013, up from 22 percent six years earlier, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Buoyed by gas, the fossil-fuel industry is trying to bask in a newfound green image.
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Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Hydrofracking, Tar Sands

World’s biggest coal company, world’s biggest PR firm pair up to promote coal for poor people

Note: Looks like Peabody coal is taking this one right out of the UN’s “Sustainable Energy For All” playbook.  Pushing for more coal plants under the guise of reducing “energy poverty.”

-The GJEP Team

By Kate Sheppard, March 27, 2014. Source: Huffington Post

Photo: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Photo: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Peabody Energy Corp., the world’s largest private-sector coal company, launched a public relations and advertising campaign last month extolling the virtues of coal energy for poor people.

A Peabody press release announcing the campaign, called Advanced Energy for Life, argues that lack of access to energy is “the world’s number one human and environmental crisis.”

To enter the campaign website, readers encounter a drop-in screen that asks them to agree or disagree with the statement, “Access to low-cost energy improves our lives.” The site notes that there are 3.5 billion people in the world “without adequate energy” — 1.2 billion of them children. A video titled “Energy Poverty” features babies and small children, with text that implores, “We can solve this crisis.” It adds: “Affordable energy leads to better health.”

Peabody’s proposal to solve this crisis? Asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop setting pollution limits on coal-fired power plants. Those pollution rules are meant to address climate change caused by greenhouse-gas emissions, a global problem that has the greatest effect on poor countries. Burning coal generates carbon emissions as well as hazardous pollutants such as mercury, lead, and benzene, according to the American Lung Association.
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Filed under Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Mountaintop Removal, Pollution, World Bank

Can Kemper become the first US power plant to use ‘clean coal’?

Note: Another absurd detour on the road to a scorched and lifeless planet…

-The GJEP Team

Suzanne Goldenberg, March 12, 2014. Source: The Guardian

Kemper County Energy Facility in Mississippi. Photograph: Courtesy Mississippi power

Kemper County Energy Facility in Mississippi. Photograph: Courtesy Mississippi power

The massive block of steel towers and pipes rises out of the morning fog like a sci-fi fantasy. But this coal-fired power plant could help save the climate, or at least that’s the hope of the Obama administration.

The plant in east-central Mississippi was repeatedly invoked by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to justify sweeping new climate change rules. When it comes online later this year, Kemper will be the first power plant in the US capable of capturing and storing carbon dioxide emissions.

The EPA says the Kemper County Energy Facility offers a real-life example that it is possible to go on burning the dirtiest of fossil fuels and still make the cuts in carbon dioxide emissions needed to avoid a climate catastrophe.

But with staggering costs – $5bn (£3bn) and rising – and pushback from industry and environmental groups who say carbon capture is an unproven technology, now even the company that built Kemper is having second thoughts about the future of “clean coal”. Continue reading

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Filed under Climate Change, Coal, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Pollution

Geoengineering the sky is not ‘normal’

Note: Rachel Smolker is the co-Director of Biofuelwatch and a member of the Steering Committee of the Campaign to STOP GE Trees.

By Rachel Smolker, December 9, 2013. Source: Huffington Post

In the wake of the climate negotiations in Warsaw, the consensus appears near universal: the international process is not going to deliver, and it is up to countries and communities to go it on their own. For some, that means taking serious and dramatic steps to reduce emissions. For others, like Bangladesh or the island nations, it means finding a way to survive the consequences of climate change with little help from the international community. For all of us, it means facing a future of weather extremes, crop failures and potential disruption of virtually everything on an unprecedented scale. For advocates of climate geoengineering, the failure of global agreement is wind in their sails: “More reasons” why drastic measures such as spewing sulphate particles into the stratosphere, or “fertilizing” the ocean with iron filings, or burning and burying billions of tons biomass (as biochar or “bioenergy with carbon capture and storage”) should be seriously considered and research should be gloriously funded.

Of course the converse argument is that if global agreement on addressing climate change cannot be achieved, how can we possibly expect any global consensus on, or governance of “technomanagement” of the atmosphere where the risks of serious negative consequences, for some people in some places, at least, are so grave?

This worries me profoundly, and apparently others as well. It is why faculty from Johns Hopkins University and American University recently launched a new, Washington DC based “Climate Geoengineering Consortium”.The stated goal of the consortium, perhaps laudable, is “to generate space for perspectives from civil society actors and the wider public, to produce a heightened level of engagement around issues of justice, agency, and inclusion.” Perhaps I am too skeptical, but “generating space” for a debate seems a bit vague. This new consortium recently organized a meeting, slated as a “closed door” meeting of civil society representatives. Closed meetings for civil society always make me a little nervous. Especially when the topic is planetary scale interference with the global commons — the life support systems of our planet!

I’m not sure really how I ended up on the list of invitees, but I decided to attend. The meeting was held in a stark space at Johns Hopkins, with the requisite sleek furnishings and snack plates wrapped securely in sparkling plastic. Nobody in attendance was a shade darker than a bowl of oatmeal, all were dressed in drab, illuminated by glowing computers, tablets and smartphones. Represented were staff from Johns Hopkins and American University, as well as the conservative American Enterprise Institute (Lee Lane), Bipartisan Policy Center, NASA (Mike McCracken), the renowned blogger, Joe Romm, and long time (but now retired) Friends of the Earth director, Brent Blackwelder. There were representatives from U.S. Climate Action Network, Greenpeace, Food and Water Watch and various others. Certainly more diverse than some meetings, but even I could not avoid the sensation of being sort of a token.
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Filed under Climate Change, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, False Solutions to Climate Change, Geoengineering, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy

Obama finds an unlikely ally in climate change battle: China

Note: Of course, by ‘unlikely ally’ we mean a crucial investor in new fracking wells, coal and gas exports, and dangerous, unproven false solutions like Carbon Capture and Storage.

A joint climate strategy between China and the US, including CCS, increased gas burning and more industrial manufacturing, surely represents the ultimate totalitarian economic regime needed to force the Green Economy on communities across the world.  Not to mention the below article appears to be written in Newspeak: China and the US seriously addressing climate change…together?  Is anyone paying attention anymore?

-The GJEP Team

By Josh Lederman, July 21, 2013. Source: The Japan Times

Dirty job: Chinese workers clean up the heavily polluted Nanming River in Guiyang, Guizhou province, last November. China has long been perceived globally as an unabashed polluter, but has recently started to change its tone. Photo: AFP-JIJI

Dirty job: Chinese workers clean up the heavily polluted Nanming River in Guiyang, Guizhou province, last November. China has long been perceived globally as an unabashed polluter, but has recently started to change its tone. Photo: AFP-JIJI

President Barack Obama has stumbled on an unusual partner in his quest to combat climate change: China.

The world’s two biggest emitters of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are finding common cause in efforts to reduce global warming, cooperation the U.S. says could clear the way for other developing, heavily polluting nations such as India and Brazil to get on board, too.

While skeptics question whether either nation will follow through on lofty aspirations, the budding agreements are nevertheless allowing the two rivals to present a positive front at a time when tensions are running high over espionage, alleged cybertheft and fugitive National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

Earlier this month, top American and Chinese officials announced new joint initiatives, including cutting emissions from heavy-duty vehicles and upping the energy efficiency of buildings, transport and industry.

They also agreed to team up on large-scale experiments with “carbon capture” — a technology that isolates carbon dioxide from power plant emissions so it can be safely stored.

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Filed under Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Hydrofracking, Oil, Politics

U.S. not waging ‘war on coal’: Energy Secretary Moniz

Note: More disappointing news after last weeks revelation that Obama’s climate strategy wold rely heavily on ‘clean coal’ and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).  Obama’s Climate Action Plan is not declaring a ‘war on coal’.  Quite the contrary, it seems any positive aspect of the plan is likely a red herring to usher in a new era of fossil fuel extraction.

Without an end to extraction, especially mountaintop removal, shutting down coal plants in the US will have limited impact, as the coal will likely be exported overseas.  Unfortunately, the global climate doesn’t give a damn who burns the coal or where they do it.

-The GJEP Team

By Fredrik Dahl, June 30, 2013. Source: Reuters 

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz gestures during an interview with Reuters in Vienna June 30, 2013. Photo: Reuters/Leonhard Foeger

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz gestures during an interview with Reuters in Vienna June 30, 2013.
Photo: Reuters/Leonhard Foeger

The U.S. government is not waging a “war on coal” but rather expects it to still play a significant role, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said on Sunday, rejecting criticism of President Barack Obama’s climate change plan.

Obama tried last week to revive his stalled climate change agenda, promising new rules to cut carbon emissions from U.S. power plants and other domestic actions including support for renewable energy.

The long-awaited plan drew criticism from the coal industry, which would be hit hard by carbon limits, and Republicans, who accused the Democratic president of advancing policies that harm the economy and kill jobs. Environmentalists largely cheered the proposals, though some said the moves did not go far enough.

Obama “expects fossil fuels, and coal specifically, to remain a significant contributor for some time,” Moniz told Reuters in Vienna, where he was to attend a nuclear security conference.
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Filed under Climate Change, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Mountaintop Removal, Nuclear power

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz relies on dubious coal tech for Obama climate strategy

By Sharon Kelly, June 28, 2013. Source: DeSmog Blog

coal plantThe key takeaway from President Obama’s major climate change announcement this week was his intent to batten down on coal. But if history is any indication, the man Mr. Obama selected to run the Department of Energy may have different plans.

Ernest J. Moniz has a long history of supporting coal-powered electricity, staking his arguments in favor of coal on a technology that remains entirely unproven: carbon capture and sequestration (CCS).

Mr. Moniz will be in a uniquely influential position when it comes to confronting these problems. President Obama announced that he would rely on executive agencies instead of Congress, so Mr. Moniz’s Energy Department will play a crucial role in determining precisely how Obama’s strategy is administered.

The day after Obama’s speech, Moniz told Congress  “the President advocates an all-of-the-above energy strategy and I am very much in tune with this.”
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Filed under Climate Change, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Greenwashing, Hydrofracking, Mountaintop Removal, Oil

Geoengineering is a dangerous solution to climate change

Note: Rachel Smolker is co-director of Biofuelwatch, and long time friend and former staff at Global Justice Ecology Project.

–The GJEP Team

By Rachel Smolker, March 22 2013. Source: The Huffington Post

As the realities of global climate change become ever more alarming, advocates of technological approaches to “geoengineer” the planet’s climate are gaining a following.

But the technologies that are promoted — from spraying sulphate particles into the stratosphere, to dumping iron particles into the ocean, to stimulate carbon absorbing plankton, to burning millions of trees and burying the char in soils — are all fraught with clear and obvious risks, and are most likely only going to make matters worse.

Yet zeal for these approaches continues unabated. According to right-wing think tank American Enterprise Institute, geoengineering offers:

“…the marriage of capitalism and climate remediation…What if corporations shoulder more costs and lead the technological charge, all for a huge potential payoff?…Let’s hope we are unleashing enlightened capitalist forces that just might drive the kind of technological innovation necessary to genuinely tackle climate change.”

Forget about cutting emissions: manipulating the atmosphere and biosphere through geoengineering is the only sensible option for business and thus policy makers, they claim. Continue reading

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Filed under Biodiversity, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Geoengineering, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Tar Sands, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests

Mineral dust sprinkled in oceans could absorb vast amounts of carbon

Note: Dangerous false solutions like geoengineering  pose a massive risk to the planet.  The risks associated with dumping minerals into the ocean – many of which would be unknown and untested – far outweigh the benefits.  And considering this proposed technique would only require a 10 percent reduction in carbon in the atmosphere, and wouldn’t account for all the emissions used to create the needed materials, it hardly seems worth exploring.

-The GJEP Team

By Damian Carrington, January 22, 2013.  Source: The Guardian

Adding more silicate through mineral dust would alter the species of plankton that grows in the seas, the research shows. Photo: Wim van Egmond/Corbis

Adding more silicate through mineral dust would alter the species of plankton that grows in the seas, the research shows. Photo: Wim van Egmond/Corbis

Sprinkling billions of tonnes of mineral dust across the oceans could quickly remove a vast quantities of climate-warming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to a new study.

The proposed “geoengineering” technique would also offset the acidification of the oceans and could be targeted at endangered coral reefs, but it would require a mining effort on the same scale as the world’s coal industry and would alter the biology of the oceans.

“It certainly is not a simple solution against the global warming problem,” said Peter Köhler, at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, who led the study. It would require 100 large ships operating all year to distribute 1bn tonnes of the mineral olivine, although it might be possible to use the ballast water in existing shipping instead.
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Filed under Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Geoengineering, Mining, Oceans