Brushing it under the carpet.

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kingsnorth.jpgIf there's one thing that Salmond, Brown and Cameron all agree on, it's carbon capture and storage (CCS), which allows the filthiest fossil fuel around to be rebranded "clean coal".

The theory is that you attach a big hose to a coal-fired power station's chimney, and pump the CO2 back into empty oilfields.

The Nats, Labour and the Tories think this is a magic bullet to allow business-as-usual power generation. Our position has always been "well, if you can prove it works and is more cost-effective than renewables, it's a possible transitional technology".

But the evidence is growing that CCS simply won't work. The reason is that the CO2 doesn't just magically get itself underground - it has to be pumped, and that takes more energy, specifically about 30% more coal power. 

Once you factor in the lifetime consequences of extracting, transporting and burning that extra coal, the nitrogen oxide and sulphur oxide emissions are up to 40% worse (peer-reviewed actual science) than a standard coal plant. That means more acid rain, more ozone destruction, and more water pollution.

In short, Labour, the Nats, and the Tories are going down a dead end. Shouldn't the fact that Arthur Scargill's also on their side have been a bit of a give-away? It's not as if we don't have other perfectly good and genuinely clean technologies that we could be diverting the money towards instead.

Via the excellent Gristmill.

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This page was published on August 15, 2008 1:14 PM.

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