Climate Change Mitigation by Carbon Capture and Storage for Centuries

Thanks to CO2CRC (Otway is the rightway)

15-years ago I completed Al Gores’ Australian version of an Inconvenient Truth and it certainly reinvigorated my focus on fighting for the environment and especially anthropocentric climate change despite seeing the green light and fighting the good fight from when I was 15 years of age 40-years ago.

Over the last couple of years however I have been scrutinising carbon storage (geosequestration) re-using disused brownfield oil fields or greenfield saline aquifers and have come to the conclusion that despite the antipathy of many, including myself, it is an essential tool in the fight against global warming.

I’m a little sceptical about those who ‘believe’ that sunshine is the sole solar (sun and trees) solution. Even Australia received a free pass on clearing forests under Kyoto Protocol and REDD has been put to bed as have other offset schemes recieving carbon credits. Despite billions in the Green Fund less than 5% has gone to using ecological disaster risk reduction (ecoDRR) despite its inclusion in the Sendai agreement it’s only value is in debit. So, forgive me for not being wide eyed when the tropical rainforests e.g., Amazon and Congo haven’t been protected because they are more valuable for beef, palm oil, strategic minerals, or spacing out and trinkets.

I wish that geosequestration wasn’t necessary but economic drivers dictate politics not the other way around and despite the best intentions of the nascent environmental social and governance (ESG) movement it’s just another accounting tool that allows greenwash and any number of other terms that are bastardised and over-used for marketing and supposedly the creation of new jobs e.g., environmental systems (IT) and health (cleaning)!

We’re working toward NZE by 2050 but without independent suitably qualified science-based third-party (not just tick and flick accounting) monitoring, reporting and ‘verification’ (MRV), who really knows how much more GHGEs our home can accommodate beyond the tipping point we’ve already passed and the ramifications we’ve yet to fully experience. I’ve been through flooding in Townsville, bushfires in the Blue Mountains and the pandemic, but it’s OK because we’re back to business-as-usual (RCP8.5).

I hope we can we capture fugitive emissions and grow forests (COP26) but will we and can we plant enough to cover the earth and keep them viable for millennia because that’s what it will take. I don’t think that geosequestration is the carbon bullet but despite others’ truth it is proven, can take the volumes needed and is secure for millennia, but it is expensive or is it compared to the disasters unfolding! The expertise and technology are already in the fossil fuel industry, and they do have an ethical responsibility, to refocus on developing geosequestration, because investing in tech is the only way we will go!

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Mark Davis

Mark Davis

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