mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Isn't It Ironic?
Oil Producers Throw Lifeline to Struggling Green Tech

One of the world’s most promising potential solutions to climate change is currently highly dependent on oil production. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) systems intercept emissions of the greenhouse gas and pump them into wells deep underground. This technology could end concerns over human-caused climate change if—and this is a big if—it can be profitably deployed. Just last month, the first commercial CCS operation started up in Canada, and as the FT reports, it’s only viable because of oil:

SaskPower, a Canadian utility, last month became the first company to launch a commercial-scale carbon capture and storage system on a coal power plant, at its Boundary Dam site in the province of Saskatchewan. […]

SaskPower confirmed that the project’s long-term financial viability is underpinned by a 10-year deal to sell all its captured carbon dioxide to another company, Canadian oil group Cenovus Energy, so the gas can be injected into nearby ageing oil fields to boost flagging recovery rates – a process known as enhanced oil recovery. […]

“Enhanced oil recovery is an essential component for the economics of the project,” Mr Monea said in an interview with the Financial Times.

There’s an undeniable irony in the fact that one of the great green dreams is currently reliant on the extraction of a fossil fuel. Greens prefer to see the world in black and white, or maybe more accurately green and brown, and have a habit of ignoring technologies or narratives that don’t fit their simplistic world view. The story of this Saskatchewan CCS system shows what that world view misses: the shades of gray where the best solutions to the problem of climate change are most likely to be found.

Features Icon
show comments
  • S.C. Schwarz

    Carbon sequestration is not a “green dream.” Their dream is the repeal of the industrial revolution. They only appear to support sequestration because it appeared to be completely impractical. But if technology makes it possible rest assured they will find a reason to oppose it.

    • Pete

      Exactly. Remember, the Greenies were for fracking before it became economically feasible. Now they hate it.

      • Corlyss

        Kinda like Obama, who talks a good game about compromise until the real thing comes down the pike at him, then he becomes an unflinching soldier for principles.

    • Corlyss

      “Their dream is the repeal of the industrial revolution. They only appear to support sequestration because it appeared to be completely impractical. But if technology makes it possible rest assured they will find a reason to oppose it.”

      Amen! Nobody should be fooled by these luddites any more, yet, with all their money, they buy support and silence and inaction on technology that could actually help the economy and individuals. Cheap energy is their undying foe. Cheap energy promotes prosperity, population growth, technological innovation that makes liars of their doom-saying, greater freedom both personal and national, and other signs of optimism that dispel the crisis atmosphere that allows them to concentrate tyrannical power in a central government.

  • Corlyss

    I’m mystified by VM’s persistent consideration of “human-caused climate change” as a serious issue rather than an urban myth that mocks real science. Humans’ impact on the earth has never been more than local, regional at most. Their impact on climate has yet to be proven, yet silly rent-seeking schemes like carbon sequestration and trading fascinate otherwise serious people like, well, some on VM, and Canadians, who apparently equate enthusiasm for such schemes with endorsement of “First Nations” claims to reparations: it proves again what nice, considerate people Canadians are. Where are the hard-headed and parsimonious Scots that settled the country? Have the all been replaced with the foolish dreamers who whored after Scottish independence from the UK?

  • Chris Aikman

    Remember, the necessary goal is to stop the otherwise inexorable rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from burning of fossil fuels. So the above solution is to use the CO2 from combustion of coal to expedite the production of petroleum, which is also burned, with a net increase of CO2 (as we don’t know if or how long that CO2 will remain in the ground).

    The above article is a masterpiece of mental gymnastics. It paints a picture that increased use fossil fuels will actually halt atmospheric CO2 rise. It’s like selling your sister into prostitution to raise money for the protection of virginity.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service