Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"carbon capture projects are madness"

From Jeffrey Simpson's latest Globe and Mail column:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper makes so many spending announcements, flying like Mary Poppins on speed around the country to distribute billions of dollars, that the news media have given up analyzing any of them.
For the heck of it, let's look back to last week, when Mr. Harper dropped into Edmonton to announce $343-million of federal money for a coal-fired TransAlta Corp. carbon-capture and storage (CCS) project. Simultaneously, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach announced a contribution of $436-million, for a total investment of $774-million of taxpayers' cash.
That Harper-Stelmach announcement followed an earlier Ottawa-Alberta one for a coal-fired Shell carbon storage project. In that case, the combined federal and provincial contribution was $865-million. ...
Let's be generous and assume the two projects costing $1.6-billion do in fact bury 2.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, the most-prevalent gas contributing to global warming. Such a reduction would mean a per-tonne carbon-reduction cost of about $761 – staggeringly, wildly, mind-blowingly higher than any other conceivable measure designed to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. ...

While you, the Alberta taxpayer, pay C$761 per tonne of CO2 abatement, which is equivalent to 494 euros, the price per tonne in Europe has ranged between 10 and 30 euros year to date:

What has the reaction of the Stelmach government been to the Wildrose Alliance party, whose leader has denounced Stelmach's multibillion dollar carbon capture fund as a political boondoggle?
If they want to be relevant, they have to develop a long term policy strategy which speaks to a modern, compassionate, cosmopolitan Alberta and I don't think they do.
- Edmonton Whitemud MLA and Education Minister Dave Hancock
The P"C" party thus asks you to understand, dear Albertan, that you are spending billions on CO2 abatement that costs $761 a tonne because this is what "modern" and "cosmopolitan" jurisdictions do. In fact, if you looked up either word in the dictionary you would see the smiling faces of Premier Ed Stelmach, Finance Minister Iris Evans, and Energy Minister Mel Knight! Those euro types are a bunch of rubes who just fell off a turnip wagon compared to these public policy prodigies. And as for you young and unborn Albertans who will be coming of age in a jurisdiction that squandered the natural resource wealth it was once blessed with, well, that's how we, the Alberta P"C" Association, define "compassion." Now please take a seat while your august government gets back to the business of closing hospital beds and increasing class sizes!


Green Metis said...

Could not agree with you more as the current Alberta offset system has provided more than 4 million tonnes of C02 reductions in the last year alone and provided 11 million dollars to Alberta farmers as incentives for them to keep using environmental best practices that help our environment without taxing us- it is not necessary for us as tax payers to give billions to subsidize an unproven technology

Anonymous said...

Fantasic juxtaposition.

It really is insanity.

Brian Dell said...

Other quotes:

"Carbon capture and storage is a scam. ... Wide scale adoption of CCS is expected to erase the efficiency gains of the past 50 years, and increase resource consumption by one third. ... CCS could double the operating cost of power plants and lead to electricity price hikes estimated between 21 and 91 percent. ... Every dollar spent on CCS is a dollar not available for clean and proven technologies such as wind and solar. ... More than 85 non-governmental organizations have joined Greenpeace..."
- Greenpeace

"CCS is an unproven technology that offers no long-term solution to reduce emissions. Ed Stelmach is on track to turn his $2 billion gamble into a $60 billion boondoggle."
- Alberta NDP leader Brian Mason

Note: Mason gets the $60 billion number from a report that says the province would have to spend $3 billion a year for 20 years to make CCS commercially viable