Views and debates on climate change policy
Home | Panelists | Staff Blog | RSS

Jennifer L. Morgan

Jennifer L. Morgan

Jennifer L. Morgan is the director of the Climate and Energy Program at the World Resources Institute. ALL POSTS

CCS is a critical part of the discussion

Is carbon capture and sequestration a magic bullet to curb emissions or is the technology a bunch of hype?

While the idea of burying carbon dioxide underground may sound far-fetched at first, it's something that we've done successfully for over thirty years as part of oil and gas industry operations. Right now, CCS projects are underway in Norway, Canada and Algeria but all of the plants capture CO2 from natural gas processing or synthetic fuel production -- not from power production. The challenge is that we have yet to demonstrate CCS for power generation at a much larger scale, the scale of U.S. power plants. We need demonstration projects to improve the technology, gain experience with a wider variety of geologic settings and CO2 sources, and reduce costs.

My organization, the World Resources Institute, convened over 90 leaders from national laboratories, research institutes, environmental organizations and energy companies to create guidelines for safe, effective carbon dioxide storage in the United States. We believe that we have the knowledge to begin demonstrations and first-of-a-kind commercial deployments in the United States and that they should begin as soon as possible. We need these projects to help us find out to what extent CCS can be part of the solution. In fact such at-scale experience is the only way to answer the remaining uncertainties about CCS technology.

One of the biggest concerns about CCS is cost. The best way to make CCS and clean energy technologies viable is through a predictable, long-term carbon price. A carbon price makes CCS viable by giving a financial incentive for cleaner power production. We'll also need complementary policies that support demonstration and research and regulations that ensure environmental protection.

This is where Congress needs to come in. Several members of Congress have floated CCS proposals on their own or as part of energy and climate bills. This is a good step forward. Comprehensive climate legislation that sets a price on carbon and funds CCS is the best way to ensure demonstrations move forward, and the Senate should follow the lead of the House of Representatives in developing a strong climate and energy bill this spring.

Carbon dioxide capture and storage may not be a silver bullet, but it just may be a critical part of silver buckshot.

By Jennifer L. Morgan  |  March 29, 2010; 10:13 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: The promise of CO2 capture and storage | Next: CCS plays role in meeting demand in era of GHG reductions


Please report offensive comments below.

How about sequestering CO2 ABOVE ground. You know, plant a tree.

Posted by: Etek | March 29, 2010 5:05 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Doesn't it make more sense to just stop producing the co2 from combustion in the first place, rather than first expend work and expense to produce it, then expend more work and expense to sequester it?

Posted by: fabco | March 29, 2010 11:22 AM
Report Offensive Comment

How will accountability be ensured? How will anyone know for sure if the amount of co2 claimed to be sequestered, actually is? It is not like we will see any immediate drop in atmospheric co2?

What about other pollutants from combustion besides co2?

Posted by: fabco | March 29, 2010 11:07 AM
Report Offensive Comment

Post a Comment

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company