Carbon capture and storage | The Global Energy Transition Podcast

In this episode of the Global Energy Transition podcast, host Michael Buchsbaum, lead blogger for the Energy talks with David Schlissel, attorney and Director of Resource Planning Analysis for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) about carbon capture and storage (CCS) which got a lot of attention at the recently concluded COP28 in Dubai.

Supposedly capable of capturing over 90 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and other fossil fuel burning industrial facilities before that pollution billows into the atmosphere, CCS is largely being backed as a vital climate change solution.

Yet today there are less than 45 commercial CCS projects in operation worldwide. And combined they only have the capacity to capture barely 50 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually — about 0.1% of the roughly 37 billion tonnes of annual CO2 from industry.
But governments across the planet are starting to invest heavily in CCS – pouring and diverting billions of dollars and euros into jumpstarting a vast new carbon market.

With most operations in the Western Hemisphere, worldwide hundreds of new CCS projects are being built or in advanced planning.

Though outside of Norway, hardly a million tons of CO2 is being captured throughout all of Europe today, in early 2023, the European Union set a goal of having 50 million tons of CO2 storage capacity by 2030 – and they are aiming to obligate emitters to make this happen in time.

The UK also has set a 30-million-ton target by 2030.

But here is perhaps the most important part of story: key to understanding carbon capture is how that CO2 is stored.

What the tech’s backers rarely emphasize, and what the media rarely spotlights is that by far and away most of carbon being captured today is stored in a way to produce more oil!

Of the approximately 50 million tons of CO2 now being captured annually, over 35 million are being used to squeeze more oil out of the ground, through a process industry calls enhanced oil recovery or EOR.

Approaching 10 percent of daily global oil production, historically all that industry has lacked to do more EOR has been a steadier stream of cheap CO2 – and that’s what they’re about to get!

In this podcast Buchsbaum discuss the dangers of mating CCS with EOR while Schlissel warns that overly generous government subsidies are transforming old power plants into carbon factories diverting public money away from renewables. Are today’s policies just helping the fossil fuels industry cash in on high oil prices while doing little to help the climate crisis? Listen here to find out.





Solution or boondoggle? Evaluating carbon capture technology’s state of global play

Smokescreen for climate inaction: CCS starts to take off in Saudi Arabia and Europe

Biden’s climate push ensures US stays #1 in giant carbon sucking machines

CCS Seduction IV: A new dawn for the oil industry goes Nova


L. Michael Buchsbaum is an energy and mining journalist and industrial photographer based in Germany. Since the mid-1990s, he has covered the social, environmental, economic and political impacts of the transition from fossil fuels towards renewables for dozens of industry magazines, journals, institutions and corporate clients. Born in the U.S., he emigrated to Germany and Europe to better document the Energiewende. He is also the host of The Global Energy Transition Podcast.

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