Carbon Sequestration: Distorted Policy Results From Distorted IPCC Science

Guest Opinion: Dr. Tim Ball ⇒

The political objective of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to demonize carbon dioxide (CO2) as the cause of global climate disaster succeeded. Governments and businesses attacked for not dealing with climate change are doing things to reduce human production of CO2, but benefiting from more than public relations. In their blind zeal, environmentalists don’t realize they often provide opportunities for the governments and industries they despise. Worse, there are groups like farmers who they denigrate, who provide benefit without reward. Of course, as always, the taxpayer foots the bill when dealing with non-existent problems. It is all a consequence of policy derived from IPCC climate science that isn’t science. Hopefully, the travesty ends in Paris in September.

Unnecessary Policy In Action

Recently, Premier Brad Wall of the Canadian Province of Saskatchewan touted his government sponsored carbon capture and storage program. The program announced in 2008 is jointly sponsored with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government. One part of this is the drive to produce clean coal technology.

Carbon capture and storage is an integral part of the federal Government’s aggressive plan to achieve an absolute reduction of 20 per cent in Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.  The Canada-Alberta ecoENERGY Carbon Capture and Storage Task Force has estimated that Canada has the potential to store underground as much as 600 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, roughly equal to three-quarters of Canada’s current annual emissions of greenhouse gases.

The project underscores how policy based on the deceptive, false and failed work of the IPCC is almost inevitably wrong, wasteful, and damaging while rife with unintended consequences. Both governments know the realities of the science, but appear to be exploiting opportunities. They seem to cater to the eco-bullies while using tax payers money to increase corporate profits.

Ward told the Ottawa conference,

“While the discussions at this conference as to what we are doing in Canada are important, we need to remember that Canada is responsible for under 2.0 percent of global C02 emissions while China, for example, with its plans to aggressively expand coal-fired electricity generation is responsible for 24.5 per cent of global emissions,”

He pointed to the realities that will cause the nations involved to oppose any climate change policy at COP 21 set for Paris in September.

“China, which is building one coal-fired power plant every 11 days, uses coal to generate about 75 per cent of its electricity.  In 2015, China expects to add 38,000 megawatts of coal-fired power – more than nine times SaskPower’s entire generating capacity – after adding 36,000 megawatts of coal-fired capacity in 2014.

 

Meanwhile, Japan has 43 coal fired power projects under construction or under review.  And India has plans to quadruple its coal power capacity in the years ahead.”

Like all Canadian Provinces, Saskatchewan has a central government controlled energy agency, in their case SaskPower. Most power is produced by burning Lignite (sometimes called Brown Coal) mined from strip mining in the southern part of the province. It is supplemented by hydroelectric power in the central part of the Province and imported energy, primarily from Manitoba.

The Province is energy rich beyond the dreams of most countries. It lies on the northern extension of the massive Bakken field (Figure 1).

clip_image002

Figure 1

It has Heavy Oil in the Lloydminster area and has larger potential deposits of oil sands than Alberta (Figure 2). The problem is it has an overburden making recovery currently unprofitable.

clip_image004

Figure 2

They have uranium deposits in the region of a place appropriately called Uranium City. (Figure 3)

clip_image006

Figure 3

All of this is in a Province the size of Texas with a population of 1.1 million, with half the 651,900 km2 under cultivation. That is approximately 300,000 km2 (Figure 4) of crops absorbing CO2 every summer.

clip_image008

Figure 4

Sequestration: Who Benefits?

The carbon sequestration plan involves gathering most of the CO2 produced from the coal burning plants through a facility opened in October 2014 (Figure 5).

clip_image010

Figure 5.

The recovery of CO2 is very successful,

“To date, the carbon capture plant has removed 135,000 tonnes of CO2, said the SaskPower report. The purity of the gas is higher than expected, said Monea, at over 99 percent.”

The IPCC demonization of CO2 is the only reason it is being removed. The goal is to prevent it from going into the atmosphere so it must be removed, at least temporarily, from the Carbon Cycle. As a result, there is a variety of unnecessary solutions many potentially hazardous to the environment and society, and all expensive. In most cases, it is pumped into the ground in the process known as carbon sequestration. The oil industry has used the procedure for at least 40 years but calls it Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR).

Pumping is the normal oil recovery procedure, but no matter how effective there’s always a significant percentage left behind. In the early days pumping water down created a more fluid mixture that allowed continued pumping. Water injection is still the major EOR procedure. Experiments with injecting CO2 began in 1972 and showed its efficiency so by 2008 it was 37 percent of the total EOR. Clearly, EOR is a viable technology that increases oil reserves by making more in a deposit recoverable. Oil fields already in production can extend the operation, and global oil potential reserves increase. Oil fields around Midale, Saskatchewan were among the first to practice EOR with water injection, and then they added CO2.

EOR increases the reserve but is an expensive technology;

First, CO2 is not a costless input. Significant up-front investments are required to make production and injection wells suitable for CO2 use. In addition, maintaining a given injection rate over time requires continuous purchases to make up for the fraction of injected CO2 that remains sequestered in the reservoir. Separating the remaining fraction that resurfaces with the produced oil, and then dehydrating and recompressing it, is costly as well.”

The EOR market is enormous.

Visiongain calculates that spending in the CO2 EOR market will total $5.305bn at the start of 2014.

 

EOR is expensive but profitable, and companies do it even if they have to pay the cost of CO2 collection and delivery. Any reduction in those costs increases the reserves and the profit. It is happening in Saskatchewan as the government recovers the CO2 then sells it to the oil industry.

“This translates into good news for Cenovus, the Calgary-based oil company that is purchasing the gas for use as an oil recovery agent in the nearby oilpatch. They are purchasing about 2,300 tonnes per day for their project in southeast Sask.”

It is good news for Cenovus, but only because the taxpayer is subsidizing and enhancing their profit. It is bad news for the taxpayers who subsidize the profit. The company is exploiting an opportunity created by the false claims of the IPCC that CO2 is a problem. Meanwhile, farmers in the region of coal-powered production are denied the 2,300 tonnes per day of CO2 to enhance their crop yields.

CO2 and Plant Growth

The role of CO2 in plant growth is well documented. Figure 6 shows a recent NASA image of expanding vegetation.

clip_image012

Figure 6

There is a contradiction in the analysis.

Researchers confirm that plant life seen above 40 degrees north latitude, which represents a line stretching from New York to Madrid to Beijing, has been growing more vigorously since 1981. One suspected cause is rising temperatures possibly linked to the buildup of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

 

They credit increased vegetation to increased temperature, which is credited to increased CO2. The problem is temperature only increased for approximately half the period. There is no mention of increased vegetation due to increased CO2, which increased over the entire period of record. Professor Liming Zhou says,

The area of vegetation has not extended, but the existing vegetation has increased in density.

 

This and other data suggest the CO2 fertilization is a major factor. Research by the US Department of the Interior says,

A key finding is that the Great Plains region is currently a “carbon sink,” meaning it takes up more carbon than it emits.

In other terms, the amount of carbon stored per year in ecosystems within the Great Plains is about 21% the amount of emissions from personal vehicles nationally and 3.6% of total fossil fuel emissions.

In another study

Results showed that between 1985 and 2010, soil organic C content increased at a rate of 326 lb C/A/year, for a total increase of 24%.

Overlooked in all this is the transition in agriculture that provides a more likely explanation for increasing carbon fixation. Soil erosion became identified as a serious problem in the 1980s so the new practice of minimum or zero till was introduced. This meant the practice of summer fallow, which is the removal of all vegetation, was reduced or even stopped. It changed the dynamics of the surface and subsurface including the albedo, soil temperature, and moisture retention.

Few people know what the farmers did to deal with soil erosion, but few people know what goes on outside the city. Environmentalists located mostly in urban areas display this ignorance all the time. Their ignorance includes being duped by the IPCC about climate science. When coupled with their blind faith, they demand policies that hurt those they think they are helping and helps those they think they are hurting. Meanwhile, they forget that they only exist because of food from the farms. As I said years ago, there are no farms in the cities, but no cities without farms. A possible, but unrealistic, wider solution involves farmers stop feeding the urban environmentalists for a year. A more realistic fix, for political abuse of climate science at least, is to stop paying the IPCC at COP21.

Advertisements

67 thoughts on “Carbon Sequestration: Distorted Policy Results From Distorted IPCC Science

  1. Carbon capture and carbon trading are two of the stupidist ideas created by smart people.
    Thank you Dr. Ball.
    More CO2 = more sugar!

  2. Dr. Tim, CCS can make economic sense when used for economic oil recovery (tertiary EOR), usually in lower viscosity (medium/heavy) crudes in carbonate rather than sandstone reservoirs.
    Works by lowering the entrained crude viscosity, enhancing the annual and ultimate recovery of same via enhanced flow characteristics.
    But, adjacent to many such fields are non CCS CO2 sources, usually just natural gas clean ups.
    On the positive side, injecting EOR CO2 into such formations means it will not ever come out, for the same geological reasons the oil and gas never came out. Impervious cap rock.

    Pity that there are not more such. And most are far too distant from coal generating stations to make any CCS sense. The farthest EOR pipeline so far is about 60 miles. CO2 EOR has now been done where sensible for now over 30 years. Permian basin in Texas, the Weyburn field in Canada (illustrated by IEA WEO 2008) are the North American leaders.

    • Rud, a lot of the CO2 used in West Texas came from New Mexico’s Bravo Dome field. CO2 injected in an oil reservoir has the tendency to flow preferentially towards the producers, this means that eventually they produce a significant amount of CO2 which can be recycled.

      I wonder, why would you say the CO2 works better in carbonates? CO2s benefits are mostly related to fluid miscibilities and reservoir history.

    • The farthest EOR pipeline so far is about 60 miles.

      Souris Valley Pipeline Ltd.
      Dakota Gasification Company has one for-profit subsidiary, Souris Valley Pipeline Ltd. In 1999, Basin Electric invested more than $100 million to build the infrastructure and the pipeline that now delivers carbon dioxide (CO2) produced at the plant to two customers, Cenovus Energy and Apache Corporation. The CO2 is transported through a 205-mile pipeline to Saskatchewan, Canada, where it is used for enhanced oil recovery in the Weyburn and Midale fields.

      The first CO2 was sent to Canada in fall 2000. Dakota Gas currently exports about 152 million cubic feet of CO2 per day to Canada – about two-thirds of the readily available CO2 when running at full rates.

      You need to update your numbers and this is since 2000. CO2 come off the Fisher-Troop side of Dakota Gasification and needs very little processing or seperation.

      I worked on one [of] the power plants there.

  3. That should have been Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan.
    Otherwise right on the money, I have never been sure if these taxpayer subsidized schemes are mockery of the enviro-Nuts or just sharp business practises.
    One good they serve is to absorb the government funding of really stupid ideas, before the enviro-nasties can get their hands on it.
    As raw political plays these schemes to increase hydrocarbon outflow using pressurized CO2, at taxpayers expense are priceless.
    The political criteria is met; “We spent $X million on saving the planet.”
    The practical result is more output from old wells, which occasionally contribute enough in royalties, taxes and wages to pay for the public wealth initially misspent.

    • Unless you are an oil company, then you can charge to take the liquid CO2 and use it for enhanced oil recovery. But, before you get up in arms over the oil company THAT’S THEIR JOB-TO MAKE MONEY! The government, on the other hand, has been elected to serve and protect us. It is their behavior that is reprehensible, possibly criminal.

      • For oil well production CO2 injection may make sense, but some of these capture and sequestration schemes are mass murder waiting to happen.

        High pressure CO2 in a man made cavern, in enough quantity to kill all animal life within tens of miles if it leaked catastrophically,. I’d rather live next door to three mile island than within 50 miles of one of these death traps.

    • The CO2 is just the agent. The real object is to take away the Western World aviable and cheap energy. And the hope is that this will kill capitalism and lead to a radical change of the Western World. So they do these stupid things just to pretend it’s a “serial” problem.

      • Daniel,
        It’s no conspiracy. Here’s the following from Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change admitting out loud that she views the whole farce as a chance to

        “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said.
        Referring to a new international treaty environmentalists hope will be adopted at the Paris climate change conference later this year, she added: “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”

      • David Smith

        i know she said that, so what? what do you think that means?
        you think she talks about Capitalism when she said, “the economic development model”?

  4. What’s old is new again. From Wiki (and other sources):
    ———————————–
    The United States has been using CO2 EOR for several decades. For over 30 years, oil fields in the Permian Basin have implemented CO2 EOR using naturally sourced CO2 from New Mexico and Colorado.[25] The Department of Energy (DOE) has estimated that full use of ‘next generation’ CO2-EOR in United States could generate an additional 240 billion barrels (38 km3) of recoverable oil resources.

    • Yes, several decades. Some of the CO2 that we were “making” at Liquid Carbonic (a company now absorbed into Praxair) 30 years ago was used for EOR and fracking.

      • All this ‘Thinking of children’ is dirty & evil….on the other hand as a child I was dirty & evil !!

  5. CO2 sequestration will be an important technology when it comes to manufacturing hydrocarbons in the future. It will be energy intensive but it will definitely happen when the economic payback is there.

    • … and we have unlimited electrical energy from fusion or thorium reactors to spare. By then the stupor-inducing Green Fever will have long passed.

  6. Jaitley adds some CAGW rhetoric at the end of this piece, but this is the take-home message:

    19 April: Economic Times India: Vishwa Mohan: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asks world to help make coal greener
    NEW DELHI: Underlining that “coal will remain the most important source of energy for India and many other energy deficient countries”, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley has appealed to the international community to generate on a war footing “greener technologies”, especially of the kind that can help deliver “clean coal”…
    “Unless coal can be greened and cleaned, it may not be possible to reconcile development and climate change goals”, said Jaitley, while making his intervention on ‘climate change’ issues on sidelines of annual spring meeting of the IMF and the World Bank in Washington, on Friday.
    His remark assumes significance as it clearly indicates the country’s stand ahead of the crucial round of negotiations for a global deal in Paris in December. It shows that though India has been keen on playing its part in dealing with threat of climate change, it wants the world to give it “adequate carbon space” to achieve its objective of economic growth to deal with poverty and energy deficiency…
    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/46975195.cms

    India is not going to slow its own economic development.

    Javadekar in Washington DC for the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate.

    20 April: ZeeNews India: PTI: Developed world has to walk the talk on climate change: India
    Washington: The developed world would have to “walk the talk” on climate change and provide a green climate fund to the developing world, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has said, ahead of a crucial UN meet on the issue in Paris later this year…
    Javadekar said India is a growing economy but climate change is a cumulative effect of hundreds of years of carbon emission by the developed world.
    “So historic responsibility is important,” he said.
    Referring to the Kyoto Protocol, the world’s first climate agreement adopted in 1997, Javadekar said “the protocol is getting over. But the basic mandate and the principles of UNFCCC remains.”…
    “Because Paris is continuation of Kyoto, not negation of Kyoto and the principle of common and differentiated responsibility, the historic responsibility remains embedded and would ever remain embedded in Paris agreement also,” he said…
    “From here we are going to Moscow where BRICS would meet,” he said.
    http://zeenews.india.com/news/sci-tech/developed-world-has-to-walk-the-talk-on-climate-change-india_1581201.html

    our own MSM are not interested in reporting any of the above.

  7. They credit increased vegetation to increased temperature, which is credited to increased CO2. The problem is temperature only increased for approximately half the period.

    I don’t see why that is a problem. As far as I can tell the first sentence I’ve quoted is talking about temperature difference (presumably temperatures during the whole period, including the end, are higher than at the start) while the second sentence is talking about variation of temperature (claiming that the temperature has stopped increasing). These are not the same thing. Even although temperature only increased for half the period, it doesn’t negate that the temperature during the half which saw no increase was higher than at the start of the period.

    • Can the plants sense that 1 degree Fahrenheit? Does the extra two days of growing season really have that big of an impact? Is the fact that the temperatures reported for broad swaths of that latitude range are extrapolations/homogenizations from stations 5-10 degrees latitude farther south making a difference?

      There are so many questions about the assumptions in the statement to make it very hard to credit any conclusion as anything more than a wild guess – it may be 100% correct or total garbage, the data simply aren’t there to support a conclusion. If you want to know if the greening of the high latitudes has anything to do with “Climate Change”, you need to replicate the CRN stations in the region you are wanting to study, then follow the growing day/night kill cycle for a few decades to know with any level of certainty.

  8. Soil erosion became identified as a serious problem in the 1980s …

    There is a serious problem with this date. See, from 1915:
    http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Content.aspx?dsNav=N:4294963828-4294955414&dsRecordDetails=R:IM75162

    In the Palouse wheat region of eastern Washington State there are old fences with only the top few inches sticking out of the ground. Newer posts have been added along side. White caliche can be seen at the top of the hills. This pre-dates 1980 and many other examples are well known.
    The quoted comment seems to come from some source, but whatever it is, it is wrong.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Isn’t “sequestration” a lot like fracking? That’s bad, I hear.

    • In response to the Great Dust bowl events of the hot years of the 1930’s on the US southern plains, Soil conservation districts were established in Texas in 1939.

      • Here’s a another famous Dust Bowl photo taken on April 1, 1936.
        A farmer and his sons in Cimarron County, Oklahoma.

    • Brings to mind another carbon sequestering scheme:

      from Terry Gilliam’s move Brazil

      Meanwhile, human folly is painfully on view in Boundry Damn’s Carbon Capture Island:

      Just one day after a report was filed that was critical of SaskPower’s BD3 carbon capture pilot project, the corporation responded with a report of its own, indicating the $1.467 billion carbon capture and power production plant was functioning in excess of expectations.

      http://www.estevanmercury.ca/news/business-energy/bd3-performing-beyond-expectations-says-saskpower-1.1765791#sthash.uLZiVjxF.dpuf

      Their only expectation is that this boondoggle will be profitable for them, but the reality is that this idiot contraption does double damage by making coal much more expensive to burn, on the one hand, while taking the valuable CO₂ out of the loop, on the other.

      Such folly does give me some assurance however, that surely, there must be more intelligent life somewhere else in the universe.

      • oops, this part is mine & not part of the Mercury article:

        Their only expectation is that this boondoggle will be profitable for them, but the reality is that this idiot contraption does double damage by making coal much more expensive to burn, on the one hand, while taking the valuable CO₂ out of the loop, on the other.

        Such folly does give me some assurance however, that surely, there must be more intelligent life somewhere else in the universe.

  9. CO2 madness prevails
    Heavy CO2 emitting industries under regulative pressures (including energy surcharges) have moved out of the W. Europe to India, China etc, where CO2 regulations do not apply and production efficiency is lower, resulting in more CO2 emitted than if they stayed put. The final products such as steel and aluminium are transported back to Europe for use in the car manufacturing and construction industry. The CO2 footprint of the final products is much greater than otherwise would have been.
    .

  10. This BBC video unwittingly gives the lie to the Obama claim that humans have but a short time to save the world. Chris Payne visited North Brother Island, which was abandoned in 1963. He found the beginnings of a forest within 50 years.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-27509955

    He refers to the Alan Weisman book & talks about the conundrum of living in the natural world that always reasserts itself. If humans were to suddenly leave the planet, how quickly would our constructs be overwhelmed by Nature?

    http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/The_World_Without_Us.html?id=WZEv9Rp9dMQC&redir_esc=y

    The Amazonian Terra Preta soils are further evidence of human effort being hidden by time. It goes to show that the left wing BBC does not realise just how incomplete is their Ministry of Truth ethos.

    • I’ve been kicking around the idea of a plan to allow Greenies to pay me to plant trees.
      With an annual fee as the tree continues to remove that nasty CO2. The fee would necessarily skyrocket as the tree grows and removes even more CO2. Would a surcharge for providing O2 be pushing it?

      Think of the children…

  11. People looking for work at a carbon capture / sequestration plant are analogous to those looking for employment at Auschwitz. At the time it seems normal and justifiable work but future generations will regard it as genocidal and put you in prison.

    With CO2 dangerously close to plant-growth-limiting levels, and a long term trend of depletion of CO2 from air which threatens the whole biosphere, CO2 removal from the atmosphere is an act of violence and criminality against all life.

    • “CO2 removal from the atmosphere is an act of violence and criminality against all life…analogous to employment at Auschwitz”

      Seems like a harsh comparison. So far Canada has the “potential” to remove 2 percent of global emissions. And isn’t Man’s contribution only a fraction of the total? Once the rate payers wise up to subsidizing the oil companies, or the first major facility repair, it will die off.

    • Okay Phlogiston,
      Are the people that sell groceries to those job applicants equally culpable?
      Your analogy is of really, really poor quality.
      Furthermore, CO2 is not dangerously close to blah-blah-blah, any more than it is leading us into climate catastrophe.

      • OK I broke Godwins law – a tad ott. I was talking in the long timeframe of the Phanerozoic in which context CO2 levels have been falling and are now not that far from the 150-180 ppm level where pant growth is inhibited. The range of CO2 levels associated with temperature over the Phanerozoic is shown here:

        https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_RXGJAF_XL5V0Y0eU1ya3E2UTA/view?usp=sharing

        This plot also hints strongly at which end of this CO2 level distribution should be of concern (its not the high end).

        The following paper by Franck et al identifies CO2 starvation, not solar red-giant heating, as the factor that will terminate life on earth. (And we will have succumbed long before the bacteria):

        https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00297542/document

        To quote:

        The ultimate life span of the biosphere is defined by the extinction of procaryotes in about 1.6 Gyr because of CO2 starvation. Only in a small fraction (1.3–1.7 Gyr) of its habitability time (6.2 Gyr) can our home planet harbour advanced life forms.

      • Is Auchwitz really such a bad analogy?
        Imagine for a moment that the carbon sequestration project were completely successful and removed most CO2 from the atmosphere.

        In effect they would have turned the whole atmosphere into a gas chamber with the result that all life would be extinguished.

        Be careful what you wish for.

  12. I am very confident that if the government severely limited carbon emissions and implemented massive carbon sequestration measures, that CO2 levels in the atmosphere would continue to rise at the current rate. After all, I have the government’s track record on my side.

  13. Cost aside, it’s a beautiful, schadenfreudian irony; “evil” CO2 being used to produce “evil” oil, which produces even more “evil” CO2 when burned.

  14. In addition to the huge costs, one wonders how much CO2 is emitted in the idiotic effort to sequester CO2.

  15. I think this is a conspiracy. It’s an almost unknown fact (except by me) that all the landfills throughout the entire world are owned by one single giant monopoly. The name of this mega company is ‘Full Of It.’ Now, with all the recycling; the reduce, reuse, and recycle programs underway; this giant and influential company has seen a reduction in their, shall we say, sales volume. Since the actual, existing, genuine ‘things’ that they can put in landfills are diminishing they’re looking for ‘nothings’ that they can put in a landfill. Thus carbon sequestration has been invented (a much too dignified word for this) through a long, unrelenting lobbying campaign. So, when you see a carbon sequestration project just remember that it’s ‘Full Of It.’

  16. The irony here is immense, an alleged “green” technology is used to capture CO2 so it can be sold to the oil industry in order to increase the effectiveness of oil reserves.

    Well at least something useful is being done with the captured CO2, which makes more sense than sequestering it in the ground like idiots, creating CO2 graveyards.

  17. EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP), which would establish CO2 reduction targets or caps for State electric power sectors, is the centerpiece of President Obama’s climate policy agenda. The CPP is the administration’s most aggressive domestic CO2 reduction initiative and the core of Obama’s emission-reduction pledge in the current round of climate treaty negotiations. What’s all that got to do with carbon capture and storage?

    The CPP applies to “existing” power plants and, under section 111(d) of Clean Air Act (CAA), EPA may not promulgate a rule for existing sources until it promulgates a rule for “new” facilities within the same source category.

    The CPP’s legal prerequisite is EPA’s so-called Carbon Pollution Standards rule for new fossil-fuel power plants. Both rules purport to establish CO2 emission performance standards. Per CAA 111(a), performance standards are to reflect the “best system of emission reduction” (BSER) which has been “adequately demonstrated,” taking “cost” into account. EPA claims carbon capture and storage (CCS) combined with enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is BSER for new coal power plants.

    As Dr. Ball points out, even when CCS plants sell CO2 for use in EOR, the units are not commercially-viable without costly taxpayer subsidy. So EPA’s claim that CCS + EOR is “adequately demonstrated” is dubious at best.

    But CCS/EOR does not qualify as BSER for a more fundamental reason: It increases emissions.

    When oil recovered via carbon injection is combusted, it emits CO2. On net, more CO2 is emitted than is sequestered underground. At least that’s what U.S. Government analyses indicate.

    According to the National Energy Technology Laboratory, injecting 20 billion metric tons of CO2 underground in EOR operations would increase oil production by 67 billion barrels ( http://www.netl.doe.gov/File%20Library/Research/Energy%20Analysis/Publications/DOE-NETL-2011-1504-NextGen_CO2_EOR_06142011.pdf). According to EPA, combusting one barrel of oil emits, on average, 0.43 metric tons of CO2 (http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/refs.html).

    Combining EPA’s conversion factor with NETL’s production estimate, injection of 20 billion metric tons of CO2 produces 67 billion barrels of oil that, when combusted, emit 28.81 billion metric tons of CO2. In other words, EOR produces 1.41 tons of CO2 for every ton injected underground.

    The most economical (or least uneconomical) CCS power plants – those generating revenue from EOR operations – would be counter-productive as an emission-control strategy. A technology that, in commercial practice, increases rather than reduces emissions is, by definition, not a “best system of emission reduction.”

    The CPP is fraught with internal legal flaws (http://www.velaw.com/uploadedFiles/VEsite/Resources/ClimateChangeReportESPSSpecialIssueSeptember2014.pdf#Art2). But even if that were not so, the CPP would still be unlawful because its statutory prerequisite – the Carbon Pollution Standards rule – is unlawful.

  18. Does anyone advocating this idea realize that even the best, theoretical, possible method of CS would take more than twice the volume of the area of coal that was burnt releasing the CO2? Coal is one carbon and a very small amount of other stuff. CO2 is one Carbon and two Oxygen molecules. There is no way that it could be solidified or liquefied and not take up more than twice the volume and weight. That means that each rail car of coal going into a coal fired power plant will create about four cars of Solid CO2 hauled out. If mineralized you are talking even a higher ratio, This is not a lab experiment dealing with just a few pounds, you are talking hundreds of thousands of tons of coal a year from each power plant and about 4 times that created and disposed of somewhere. If pumped underground the pressure would be a disaster waiting to happen, then there is the fact that water and CO2 make a very good acid that will destroy whatever it is stored in, seeping back up through the geological layers above it and creating another disaster.

  19. OK, so why don’t they tell Obama that the Keystone pipeline will allow them to transport CO2? That way they could build two, side-by-side, and tell him one is for out and the other is for return after it has been used. (A bit like the tunnels between England and France.)

  20. Even worse, during the height of this scare they will pump it into the ground, then it will be forgotten like some roman mineshaft. A couple of centuries later a major city grows up over the site. A small earthquake occurs and suddenly 500,000 people are found seemingly asleep, but actually dead from asphyxiation.

  21. Is it really a good idea to sequestrate twice as much oxygen as carbon. What will happen if we run out of oxygen?

    /sarc

  22. Am I the only one who sees the problem with burying CO2? When we dig it up it is primarily just Carbon we then we burn it which combines it with 2 molecules of Oxygen then we burying it. When we do this aren’t we burying Oxygen? Are we OK with lowering Oxygen levels in the atmosphere?

  23. Give Harper a break, Tim, he’s one of the brave ones. He’s the only western leader that deep sixed Kyoto. He doesn’t believe the hype but he needs to be doing something and anything one does about this is stupid. Canada is going to kick him out soon and put baby Trudeau in and then you will see projects that will keep you writing this kind of stuff for the rest of your life. I’m always amazed how 97% of the people in the country are anxious to kick out the only guy in the world who held off a depression against all the badgering and bloviating by EU, UN and, most of all, Canadians, the beneficiaries of his almost impossible single-handed staving off ruin that has put such as EU in an irretrievable decline.

    • Gary at 3:44 April 21, 2015
      The Canadian Federal Budget tabled this date is several hundred pages long. The new media and the left are all over it because it does not contain the words “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” anywhere in it.

      The professional whiners in the Media and the left are going to make the run up to the October election interesting especially since most of us are more concerned about the economy than a little BENEFICIAL warming in this country. (With the exception of the left coast where sea level has risen 2 mm in 100 years according to some – but MSL varies with orbital mechanics and wind seiches of course.)

Comments are closed.