Last week, the Government of Alberta announced that, as part of “Budget 2014”, Alberta will continue to invest in two carbon capture and storage projects that, it says, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from oil sands upgrading.
The report added that these two projects will commence in 2015 and will store 2.76 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, the equivalent, Alberta says, of taking 550,000 cars off the road each year.
What happens to the carbon dioxide once it is pumped underground? Is it safe? Will it leak? What energy has to be expended to actually pipe the carbon dioxide to its final resting place? Perhaps these questions need to be asked, and answered. Likely the carbon dioxide will be used to extract even more oil from the ground – adding more gas-using vehicles to our roads?
One thing is for sure, carbon capture and storage is being used by industry and the Alberta and Canadian governments as a licence to continue along the unsustainable path of developing the Alberta tar sands.
By James Early