$2B carbon capture and storage plan released

A $2-billion carbon capture and storage plan aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions was released Thursday by a task force established by the Alberta and federal governments in March 2007.

A $2-billion carbon capture and storage plan aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions was released Thursday by a task force established by the Alberta and federal governments in March 2007.

Carbon capture and storage means that the CO2 emitted from oil and gas operations, coal-fired power plants and industrial facilities is injected deep into the ground rather than released into the atmosphere.

The report, called Canada's Fossil Energy Future: The Way Forward on Carbon Capture and Storage, examined what needs to be done to move ahead with the technology in Canada.

"The report has specific recommendations that could move us off neutral, where we've been stuck on carbon capture and storage," said task force member David Keith, who is the Canada Research Chair on Energy and the Environment at the University of Calgary.

"There's been endless talk and hype about this, but nothing has been done," he said.

The report's main recommendation is for the federal and provincial governments to provide $2 billion in funding to get five new carbon capture and storage facilities operating by 2015.

Critics question use of public money

Taxpayers should not have to pay to reduce the pollution created by industry, said John Bennett, executive director of Ottawa-based environmental group when asked about the recommendation.

"The crux of the matter here is that for some reason the oil industry feels entitled to both pollute and, when we ask [it] not to pollute, to ask for you and me to pay for it. That's not acceptable," Bennett said.

It would be better to create regulations that force industry to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, he said.

Regulations are also needed, said Keith, but until the necessary changes are made, governments need to put up the money required to get the ball rolling.

Alberta's recently released climate change plan relies heavily on the development of carbon capture and storage technology to achieve reductions of 14 per cent below 2005 levels by 2050.

Although neither the provincial nor federal government has commented on the task force report, Keith said he is optimistic the technology will get the support it requires.