Carbon Capture No Substitute for Emissions Cuts To Fight Climate Change: Report

Carbon Capture No Substitute for Emissions Cuts To Fight Climate Change: Report

The European Union and 17 countries are set to issue a statement on Friday warning against an increased reliance on carbon capture technology in the fight against climate change, according to reporting from Reuters.

“Abatement technologies must not be used to green-light continued fossil fuel expansion,” the statement reads, according to the reporting.

Carbon capture and sequestration has long been considered as a potential way to keep CO2 out of the atmosphere and reduce global warming. It ostensibly seeks to use technology to capture carbon emissions and then store them, sometimes by pumping the carbon emissions into the ground.

Critics have maintained that carbon capture and sequestration could give a license for polluters to keep emitting CO2 and fossil fuel companies to continue digging up coal, oil, and gas. The new statement, cosigned by the European Union along with 17 countries including Germany, France, New Zealand, Chile, and a number of particularly vulnerable nations like Micronesia, said the technology “should be recognised as having a minimal role to play in decarbonization of the energy sector.”

Momentum toward carbon capture and sequestration adoption has increased in recent years. In the US, 2022’s landmark climate bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, contains a massive boost for the technology. The law increased a tax incentive known as 45Q up from $50 per ton of captured CO2 to $85 per ton — an amount that industry and other experts have said is enough to push many questionable projects into a financially realistic realm.

In general, countries more reliant on fossil fuels — like the United Arab Emirates, which will host this year’s UN climate meeting COP28 in Dubai in December — have been supportive of expanded carbon capture and sequestration efforts. But even with recent progress, its promise to make a significant dent in climate change-causing emissions seems doubtful: the IEA has said recent project plans still suggest deployment would “remain substantially below” the level needed for the world to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

The new statement, which was spearheaded by the Marshall Islands, was also signed by ministers from Austria, Colombia, Denmark, Ethiopia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Palau, Samoa, Senegal, Spain and Vanuatu.

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