“NO FALSE SOLUTIONS!” JTA delegates at COP27 info booth. Image courtesy of Norman Rogers, United Steelworkers Local 675.
Excerpted from “The Greenwashing Scam Behind COP27’s Flop,” Foreign Policy in Focus & In These Times Magazine, Dec. 5, 202, Basav Sen.
CCS is a disastrously bad idea, as several studies have documented. It’s a largely unproven technology with an empirical record of failure, and relying on it to deal with averting climate catastrophe is reckless. Many climate activists liken reliance on CCS to a belief in unicorns.
CCS doesn’t address other serious environmental concerns with fossil fuels, such as the impacts of surface coal mining and particulate pollution from power plants, which disproportionately affect poor and vulnerable people in the United States and elsewhere. And it generates new environmental justice hazards of its own, such as carbon dioxide pipeline ruptures.
It’s also inordinately expensive, something even CCS proponents acknowledge. In Wyoming, for example, utilities have opposed a law requiring them to retrofit coal-fired power plants with CCS, citing cost concerns.
CCS has a superficial appeal — if it worked, it would allow us to keep burning coal (as well as oil and gas) and avoid warming the planet. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what makes it an industry fig leaf.