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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Carbon capture: Alberta’s $60 billion public relations boondoggle

It’s not often the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and the Alberta NDP find common ground, but the organizations do share an opposition to what could be a $60 billion carbon capture boondoggle.

The Alberta government released the final report yesterday of the Carbon Capture and Storage Development Council. Its recommendations are designed to be a blueprint for how the province can best implement carbon capture and storage (CCS).

While the Alberta government committed $2 billion to this project in its 2009-10 provincial budget, which contained a devastating $4.7-billion deficit, the project could cost taxpayers as much as $60 billion.

Albertans could see staggering tax hikes for 20 years if the government goes ahead with their carbon capture initiative, NDP leader Brian Mason said yesterday.

“Polluters should be paying for this, not taxpayers,” said Mason, who warned of the ballooning costs of carbon capture when the government announced their initial $2 billion subsidy. “CCS is an unproven technology that offers no long-term solution to reduce emissions. Ed Stelmach is on track to turn his $2 billion gamble into a $60 billion boondoggle.”

A carbon capture report states spending up to $3 billion per year for up to 20 years will be required to make CCS projects commercially viable.

“We have to assume Albertans are going to bear that cost,” Mason said. “If this government is considering billion dollar investments to combat climate change, they should fund renewable projects like solar or wind.”

Whether the cost of carbon capture is borne by industry or taxpayers, it still amounts to a massive misallocation of resources that will make Albertans poorer and raise unemployment.

“Rushed schemes based on questionable computer models, like carbon capture, come at real costs of, for example, fewer needed public housing units, other spending that more effectively benefits our environment like better water and sewer systems, more spending on education or healthcare, and lower taxes,” according to the Frontier Centre.

Furthermore, climate change expert Tim Ball argues that “CO2...not causing warming,” making this carbon capture scheme nothing more than a costly public relations scheme.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on July 25, 2009 | Permalink


Spending all that money on a scam, a myth, a fairy-tale story is simply irresponsible and outright criminal. Nigel Hannaford wrote a good column about this in the Calgary Herald today:


Posted by: Werner Patels | 2009-07-25 1:00:02 PM

I'd have to check more into it but I was told something strange by an oil co. administrator.
She said that when wells begin to run dry or hard to get the last of the oil out of, typically water is used to pressure them up again.
However, new tchnology (seems) to suggest that captured carbon might be a better and more nature friendly way of accomplishing this same task.
That said (if its true) it would seem that we might be getting taxes for carbon capture that would ultimately be used by oil companies to further their production and profits.
I can't seem to decide whether or not this could be considered moral. Its a two sided coin for sure.

Anyhow, I'm not an expert...but I'll bet dp knows something about this...


Posted by: The original JC | 2009-07-25 1:04:29 PM

it would seem that we might be getting taxes for

should read: "it would seem that we might be getting 'taxed' for...

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-07-25 1:05:41 PM

Global warming? is that still around?

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-07-25 1:15:29 PM

JC- Was your friend talking about heavy oil production? Some of those fields are using steam injection.

I'm not really up on carbon capture, but I wonder where the co2 is to be collected? It's not as if pure co2 can be extracted anywhere near the wellhead, so it will need to be piped back to the injection sites. I have a feeling the initiative would include building a new infrastructure for capturing the co2. None of the existing pipelines can be used to pipe the co2, so I guess pipeline contractors will have about a 10 year boom. Maybe you should buy stocks in Flint Energy Services, or PE Ben.

I suppose the EUB will have to expand, to monitor co2 volumes, purity, and leakage. There will be great opportunities for leak detection, air quality monitoring, and volume surveying. Maybe you could invest in my new project. I have paypal.

Carbon capture seems like a no go, to me. The price will be the deciding factor. Ed must be planning to offload the cost to oil companies, and we've already seen how those companies respond to Ed's pet projects. I think a lot of Alberta oil is going to stay in the ground for quite a few years. Oh well, it'll be there for my grandchildren.

Posted by: dp | 2009-07-25 3:41:57 PM

Carbon capture is just a way to put money into the coward Peter Lougheed's pocket. He gave up Alberta oil to Quebec in 1982 and now socialism wants to pay him back. All this garbage has made Al Gore $100 million. Lougheed saw that and is now at the trough with a carbon capture company.

Scum seems to rise to the top of the pond.

Posted by: Dennis Young | 2009-07-25 4:57:00 PM

Jeez, don't hold back Dennis. Say it like you mean it! ;-)

Yeah dp, there might be some opportunities there.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-07-25 5:05:19 PM

I know a couple of people that are banking on it, JC. I might go with the flow, and follow up on a new angle. Might as well put something into my crew's pockets.

Dennis- Peter Lougheed is sort of like (a living) John Lennon. You might not like the music, but it's blasphemous to belittle the man.

Posted by: dp | 2009-07-25 5:46:10 PM

We already have a carbon capture infrastructure. It's called the plant kingdom.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-25 7:00:35 PM

How the hell do we regulate that, Shane? I'm afraid your idea just won't hold water.

Posted by: dp | 2009-07-25 7:17:26 PM

Here's my solution to climate change.

Ignore it and it will go away.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-07-25 7:42:14 PM

We already have a carbon capture infrastructure. It's called the plant kingdom.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-25 7:00:35 PM

But that won't stop the political control freaks from trying to further tax (control) us. It won't stop them from their usual fear mongering tactics designed to keep the herd moving in the desired direction.
Logic, Science and Common Sense have nothing whatever to do with the globalist agenda.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-07-26 7:07:57 AM

"How the hell do we regulate that, Shane? I'm afraid your idea just won't hold water."

Who says you have to regulate it, dp? Just don't cut down too much of it. Forests, phytoplankton and other plants are a natural carbon sink--they breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. In fact several researchers point out that the increase in carbon dioxide has done little but to promote the growth of plants.

Granted, there's remarkably little profit in handling the problem this way, but on the plus side once more people realize this, there'll be fewer objection to oil sands operations.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-26 10:34:59 AM

dp: Lougheed is no John Lennon.

He's more of a Jim Jones. Don't drink the kool-aid!!!

Posted by: Dennis Young | 2009-07-26 6:25:17 PM

To quote my son's pithy remark,"What happens when the earth burps?"

Posted by: DML | 2009-07-26 7:02:54 PM

DML: Are you going to hold us in suspense?

Posted by: Dennis Young | 2009-07-26 7:37:35 PM

"What happens when the earth burps?"



St. Helens.


As yet there are no plans to produce Gas-X on a planetary scale.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-26 9:05:38 PM

Dennis- Maybe my memory is fading, but I don't remember Peter Lougheed being all that bad. What's your main beef?

Posted by: dp | 2009-07-26 9:24:47 PM

I agree with Zeb.

Posted by: Agha Ali Arkhan | 2009-07-27 12:01:36 AM

it really depends on the medium in which the carbon is sequestered - sometimes these solutions - differences in how the carbon is stored could mean that the accuracy of accounting for those reductions is compromised...

I'm not saying it's necessarily a boondogle - but maybe there needs to be some consideration of this before they spend $60 billion...

Posted by: Sean | 2009-07-27 8:20:53 AM

$60 billion would buy a lot of tree seedlings. Oh, and did I mention that the trees work for free?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-27 9:39:37 AM

"but maybe there needs to be some consideration of this before they spend $60 billion"

I love it when people debate how other people's money should be spent.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-07-27 10:23:58 AM

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