From Tallbloke’s Talkshop
March 5, 2023 by oldbrew
This article (extracts below) is littered with climate propaganda and evidence-free claims about weather and warming. But then a Stanford University professor is quoted saying carbon capture is “not going to help the climate”. The story of the Satartia CO2 pipeline rupture is disturbing.
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The opportunity to compete for billions of dollars in federal funding is on the line as Illinois considers the future of carbon capture, according to the Prairie Research Institute report, as well as the chance to create jobs and boost local economies, says Phys.org.
And at a time when the state and federal government and nations worldwide are trying to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stave off the worst effects of global warming—including catastrophic floods and droughts—carbon capture also holds out the promise of making the job easier.
Carbon capture and storage “could play an important role in achieving the state’s decarbonization goals,” according to the report, which was commissioned by the state legislature.
According to Navigator CO2, the Heartland Greenway pipeline would have the ability to reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 15 million metric tons, the equivalent of taking 3.2 million cars off the road.
But as the fight over Navigator CO2’s pipeline illustrates, battle lines are being drawn, with opponents questioning carbon capture’s very reason for being—its real-world effectiveness in reducing greenhouse gases.
There are also safety concerns. Landowners fear a pipeline could rupture, releasing a potentially suffocating gas not far from bedroom windows.
“Right now, to move forward with a carbon dioxide pipeline is unconscionable,” said Pam Richart, lead organizer of the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines, which includes citizens and environmental groups. “It just brings too much risk.”
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Carbon dioxide, which traps heat close to the earth, plays a vital role in maintaining the planet’s temperature [Talkshop comment – a mere assertion].
But now, scientists say, we have too much of a good thing. Due largely to carbon emissions [Talkshop comment – another assertion] from fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal, global temperatures have risen in the last century.
As a result, there’s been an increase in extreme weather events [Talkshop comment – another one] such as droughts, heat waves and floods; trees and corals have died off in large numbers; and millions of people have been exposed to acute food and water insecurity, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Scientists say urgent action is needed and effective solutions are available, including replacing fossil fuels with wind and solar energy, switching homes and businesses from gas to electricity, and turning to electric cars.
Carbon capture is more controversial, especially when it comes to keeping coal or gas-burning power plants open for business.
Among the critics is climate scientist Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University.
“If you don’t care about climate or air pollution or energy security, go for it,” he said when asked whether Illinois should pursue leadership in carbon capture. “You can pump a lot of money into carbon capture and create some jobs, but it’s not going to help the climate.”
Jacobson, author of a 2019 study in the journal Energy & Environmental Science that raised doubts about the real-world effectiveness of carbon capture, said that the widely quoted figure that the technology can capture 90% of carbon dioxide emissions is actually an assumption based on idealized measurements.
When Jacobson looked at the real-world performance of the $1 billion Petra Nova project in Texas, at the time the biggest coal-plant carbon capture project in the United States, only about 55% of carbon dioxide emissions were being captured.
And that figure didn’t take into account emissions from the natural gas turbine that had to be built to power carbon capture. Also excluded: emissions from mining and processing the coal and natural gas used at the Petra Nova.
When those factors were taken into account, Jacobson found that carbon capture only reduced average annual emissions by 11% to 20%.
“There’s just no evidence this stuff is useful,” Jacobson said of carbon capture. “And all the evidence suggests it’s just a boondoggle and we could have spent all that money on actual emissions reduction.”
Asked for studies that show carbon capture’s effectiveness in reducing emissions, the authors of the Prairie Research Institute study responded via a spokesperson, who offered a written list of studies, none of which appeared to look at real-world emissions before and after carbon capture.
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Among the questions that Illinois still hasn’t answered clearly: Who will bear the long-term responsibility for underground carbon storage sites? Who owns the potentially valuable underground space where carbon dioxide can be stored?
And what will happen if some landowners want to offer up their property for carbon dioxide storage, and other, adjacent, owners do not?
The Prairie Research Institute report includes a range of recommendations addressing such issues, including that the state should create legal and regulatory frameworks for the long-term stewardship and oversight of carbon dioxide storage sites.
The report also recommends the establishment of an interagency planning and oversight committee to consider carbon capture and storage activities in Illinois.
Carbon capture, utilization and storage “should be both enabled and appropriately regulated to ensure long-term storage of CO2 in full consultation with impacted communities,” the report says.
In the wake of a 2020 carbon dioxide pipeline rupture near Satartia, Mississippi, the federal government is also considering more regulation.
At the Satartia pipeline rupture, which followed heavy rains and a landslide, the escaping carbon dioxide roared like a jet engine and carved a crater an estimated 40 feet deep in the ground. A potentially suffocating green fog rose from the pipeline and started moving downhill toward Satartia, according to rescue workers who testified before the Illinois Commerce Commission.
Gas-powered vehicles stalled out on the road due to lack of oxygen, according to testimony. People passed out. In one car, rescue workers found three people unconscious, two with froth coming out of their mouths.
“It looked like the Zombie apocalypse,” testified Yazoo County Emergency Management Agency Director Jack Willingham, who arrived in Satartia about five hours after the rupture. “It was hazy. … There were abandoned vehicles everywhere, many with doors ajar, many with their windows smashed from the rescue efforts.”
No deaths were reported, but 45 people sought medical attention at local hospitals, according to a government report, and federal regulators took notice.
In May, the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration announced that it would start a new rule-making process to update standards for carbon dioxide pipelines, including new requirements related to emergency preparedness and response.
Meanwhile, some counties in Illinois have taken matters into their own hands, declaring moratoriums on permits for pipeline construction.
Full article here.
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Huffpost: The Gassing Of Satartia (2021)
A CO2 pipeline in Mississippi ruptured last year, sickening dozens of people. What does it forecast for the massive proposed buildout of pipelines across the U.S.?
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This story is the result of a 19-month HuffPost/Climate Investigations Center investigation into the Satartia pipeline rupture, and the safety of CO2 pipelines.
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