Information about Carbon Capture and Storage - CCS
NOAH's position on the environmental impacts of CCS
NOAH finds that CCS with its 40% increase in energy consumption at power plants and the corresponding increase in mining of coal, transportation of coal, combustion, CO2 capture, compression, transport, injection and storage, is on a course of collision with universal and fundamental principles of environmental legislation and regulation such as dealing with pollution at the source, waste minimization and the polluter pays principle.
Further on we find that the EU CCS Directive is incompatible with EU environmental policy for example the principle of preventive action, the principle of rectifying environmental damage at the source and the principle that the polluter should pay.
NOAH believes that CCS entails an unnecessary additional environmental impact caused by the extra consumption of energy, water and raw materials and associated emissions. Only CO2 decreases, while emissions of acidifying substances, nutrients (eutrophication) and substances which form low-ozone increase dramatically. CCS represents an old-fashioned end of pipe-solution that only affects – even insufficiently - one out of a multitude of problems associated with the use of coal - namely CO2. All other problems such as extraction and transport of coal, heavy metal pollution, acidification, eutrophication and formation of low-level ozone are only getting worse with CCS.
CCS also breaks with the current waste strategy to minimize deposition through the promotion of reuse, recycling, prevention and cleaner technology.
NOAH is against the establishment of a new CO2 infrastructure with pipelines, pressure stations, injection facilities, CO2 stores etc., because these will tend to disfigure landscape and be (randomly) harmful to local communities.
NOAH does not believe that CCS can be conceived as a benefit for the general public. Expropriation of land and property in connection with seismic studies, drilling, pipelines and injection facilities are accordingly unjustifiable.
NOAH believes that CCS will lead to increased pollution with toxic amine compounds - substances that will be used in large quantities in the CO2 capture process.
NOAH fears that stored CO2 by accident can be released to the seabed and the overlying water masses resulting in serious acid damage to the marine environment, or - where leakages are on land - enter into basements and houses and in worst case suffocate residents and make houses uninhabitable.
NOAH´s position on CCS as a climate tool
NOAH sees a wide range of problems in CO2 capture and storage that all point to a rejection of the technology as a viable method of reducing CO2 emissions.
NOAH finds that CCS violates basic principles of environmental policy eg. the principle of preventive action, the principle of dealing with environmental problems at the source and the polluter pays principle.
In addition, CCS poses a large number of practical problems that make the technology an inadequate answer to climate problems:
· CCS is unable to deliver sufficient reductions.
· The reductions, CCS can provide will occur far too late.
· CCS increases energy consumption at power plants with some 40%.
· CCS binds us to a centralized and inflexible energy supply based on coal.
· CCS is an unreasonably expensive way to reduce CO2 emissions.
· CCS can only be realized with massive subsidies from taxpayers.
· Cheaper and better alternatives exist.
· CCS has a number of harmful environmental impacts.
· The public and future generations will have to pay if something goes wrong.
· CCS will increase our dependence on coal and block the development of 100% renewable energy systems.
· No public debate on CCS as an alternative to renewable energy and energy efficiency has taken place.
NOAH's overall conclusion regarding CCS is that it is a technology that the world is best served by leaving behind - the sooner the better. CCS will be a gigantic misinvestment which will only lead us closer to a climate catastrophe.
NOAH's position on CCS can be downloaded from the links below.
Copyleft @ NOAH Friends of the Earth Denmark 2014