Carbon sequestration is a costly alternative to renewables, not a transition to them
Developing commercially viable carbon capture and storage, or CCS, technology should be a major priority for companies and governments all over the world because renewable energy sources will not be able to replace oil and gas quickly enough, a senior executive at Royal Dutch Shell PLC said Tuesday.
“Without CCS, fossil fuel use would have to be cut by more than half,” Malcolm Brinded, Executive Director of Exploration and Production at the Anglo-Dutch company, said at the Offshore Europe conference in Aberdeen.
“Nuclear would have to grow twice as fast … thousands more wind turbines would be needed. And a new vehicle fleet would have to run largely on biofuels and electricity, with petrol and diesel fuel almost completely phased out,” he said.
A change this drastic would be very difficult to achieve quickly, so CCS — which could reduce emissions from major industrial sources of carbon dioxide such as power stations by up to 90% — is necessary to smooth the transition to more widespread renewable energy, he said.
My god, fossil fuel cut by half? Thousands of new wind turbines? A vehicle fleet running on biofuels and electricity? Spare us this awful fate, CCS!
But seriously. This analysis only makes sense if developing and widely deploying CCS takes substantially less time and costs substantially less money than the renewable options Brinded acknowledges are inevitable either way.
If your transition-smoothing option costs as much and takes as long as the option to which you are transitioning, you are not “smoothing the transition,” you are delaying it — perhaps in order to squeeze more profit out of the fossil fuel business model, though one hesitates to speculate about motives.