The case for carbon sequestration

An excellent article here from Business Week on carbon sequestration. Many consider the technology essential, if not a much-needed saviour for our warming planet. According to Emerging Energy Research (EER), it could offset our carbon dioxide emissions by 15 per cent by 2030. Indeed Alberta’s plans – a 14 per cent cut of emissions levels by 2050 from their 2005 levels – relies on this technology to be up and working quickly – in the next 5-10 years.

What’s needed to kick start the technology is a massive investment of funds, according to the EER. At the moment, the biggest investors are the EU, with $11.6 billion in research, then the US at $6 billion, then Canada at $2.7 billion. Much of the investment has been done by the oil companies themselves, but governments are also heavy investors. Last July, Stelmach announced a $2 billion fund for the new technology. And this week, Obama signed onto $3.4 billion for carbon capture and sequestration projects.

Still, for carbon sequestration to really deliver, it’s going to take massive investments – $30 to $70 billion per year by 2030, according to the EER. Of course, oil and gas companies are already heavily committed and are the key players in this developing industry. There are huge profits to be made in carbon sequestration, especially if there is a market on carbon dioxide gas, when companies will be able to trade the right to pollute. What’s needed now is a cap and trade system so companies know that any investments they make will have definite payoffs, beyond helping the planet. Obama has pledged to make this a reality in his presidency, and it cannot come quickly enough.

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