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Positive environmental benefits from deployment of CO2 dumps, providing there is appropriate regulation, House of Representatives report claims

Posted by gmarkets on 14 September, 2007

Once CO2 had been stored underground, effective and accurate technologies to measure and monitor the CO2 were essential for the purposes of regulation, carbon accounting and public safety, noted the House of Representatives, Standing Committee on Science and Innovation report Between a rock and a hard place: The science of geosequestration.

CO2 leakage the big worry: The greatest environmental risk associated with CCS concerned the potential for CO2 leakage, which could have serious consequences for the environment and people’s health. These risks could be mitigated through further research, rigorous site selection and post-injection management.

“Substantial positive environmental benefits”: The extent of the environmental benefits of CCS continued to be debated. Some argued that CCS had the potential to reduce global CO2 emissions by 7.8 per cent with potentially greater benefits to be seen in the later half of the 21st century. Others contend that, given the environmental risks, there were more viable options. The Committee concluded that there were substantial positive environmental benefits to be gained from the deployment of CCS, providing there was also appropriate regulation and scrutiny of environmental risks. The Committee recommended the implementation of a rigorous regulatory environmental risk mitigation framework for CCS.

CO2 dumps may double coal gen cost: There was also the question of what impact CCS deployment would have on electricity costs. Clean energy came at a price but in the case of CCS, the size of a price increase was not clear. Available data suggested that CCS might double the cost of electricity generation from coal.

Cost may be lower overall: However, as CSIRO noted, the cost of implementing capture technology was ‘only a proportion of the costs consumers pay’. Conversely, Robert Socolow had predicted that as ‘the costs of distribution and transmission [of electricity] are hardly affected [by CCS] … the retail cost of electricity would increase by just 20 [per cent]’.

Reference: ‘Between a rock and a hard place: The science of geosequestration’. House of Representatives, Standing Committee on Science and Innovation, August 2007, Canberra. For Media comment: contact the Committee Chair, Mr Petro Georgiou MP, on (02) 6277 4419 or the Deputy Chair, Mr Harry Quick MP, (02) 6277 4304. For information: contact the Commettee Secretary on (02) 6277 4150. Issued by: Liaison and Projects Office, House of Representatives, Phone: (02) 6277 2392. Copies of the report can be obtained from the website:

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