Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Carbon capture requires government intervention

According to a Reuters report on a speech prepared for delivery in Brussels, Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer, explained why the "invisible hand of the market" lacks the power to make carbon capture a solution for climate change.

"Because CO2 capture and storage adds costs and yields no revenues, government action is needed to support and stimulate investment quickly on a scale large enough to affect global emissions."

The need to "stimulate investment quickly" suggests not only that the market failure is real but also that the time frame is urgent.

The Reuters article (Story by Paul Taylor, editing by Margaret Orgill) points out that

"Some EU lawmakers argue that energy companies should be reinvesting part of the windfall profits they have made from higher energy prices and from receiving CO2 permits free under the current ETS [Emissions Trading]system to fund investment in carbon storage."

The question of profit from using the stored CO2 as feedstock is also relevant even though the technology is still at the pie-in-the-sky stage.

Meanwhile, a leak in the emssion-free nuclear fuel cycle killed two workers at a heavy water plant on Tuesday (Reuters Apr 8 08).

A spokesman for the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission explained that the "situation," which was closed for annual maintenance, "was immediately brought under control."

"No radiation was involved," he said. "It was some chemical gas. The situation is fully under control," and, of course, (everybody sing) "There is no threat to the public."

The article reminds us that Pakistan built its first nuclear power station in 1972 with Canadian help. Western cooperation ended under pressure from the United States, but China continues to help with Pakistan's nuclear program.

Pakistan, India, and Israel are the only three countries not to have signed the Nonproliferation Treaty. Recommend this Post

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