2Our Campaigns 1Safe Climate 0Why 'slightly less dirty coal' is not the answer to the climate crisis Why burying coal pollution would be a waste of time and money

Why burying coal pollution would be a waste of time and money

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) on coal power stations is just a distraction promoted by coal lobbyists.

There are more cost effective and proven solutions that governments should be pursuing, rather than gambling our future on the pipe-dream of a coal industry more concerned about protecting profits than protecting our planet.

1. It can’t deliver in time or at scale

Capturing, transporting and burying millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from coal power stations is impractical and expensive. So much so that even this coal baron admits that CCS ‘does not work’ and ‘is just cover for the politicians.’

Whether or not CCS ever becomes a viable technology, the United Nations Development program has said it “will arrive on the battlefield far too late to help the world avoid dangerous climate change”.

Of course coal lobbyists are always pointing to the future, saying that CCS is just on the horizon. The problem is they’ve literally been saying that for decades. For example, in this 2009 Lateline report a coal industry executive says that commercial CCS plants would be up and running in Australia by 2015. Come 2019 and none are even close.

2. It wastes water and energy

Because of the energy it takes to capture, compress and transport greenhouse pollution, CCS uses a huge chunk of the energy the power station produces in the first place. (They also use a third more water than conventional coal-fired power stations).

3. It creates a long-term, potentially dangerous liability

If CCS is going to work it needs to ensure that greenhouse pollution stays underground forever. Can the coal industry really guarantee that this will happen? And who will accept liability for fixing the problem if/when something occurs?

4. It’s expensive and undermines funding for sustainable solutions

Despite Australian governments pouring $1.3 billion into CCS research since 2007, there are still zero large scale operational projects to show for it. And this report by CO2CRC found retrofitting a hypothetical 2100-megawatt brown coal-fired power station in Victoria would “conservatively” cost an incredible $2.45 billion per boiler.

The numbers involved are staggering, and every cent spent on CCS is a cent not going to proven clean technologies.

Get the low-down on the coal versus renewable energy debate >>

5. Trial projects have over-promised and under-delivered

Expensive and unproven. The Kemper CCS project was abandoned after 11 years and $7.5 billion (US) wasted.

In 2007, eleven CCS projects were scrapped globally. More recently a flagship carbon capture experiment in the US was abandoned after 11 years and $7.5 billion (US) wasted.

6. It’s completely unnecessary

Detailed analysis shows that Australia, one of the sunniest and windiest countries on earth, can be powered by 100% clean energy — no CCS required.

Click here to read the Home Grown Power Plan