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Doubt cast on 'carbon capture' technology

The fight to cut the world's greenhouse gas output may be relying too much on unproven technology for capturing carbon from coal-fired power stations, experts have warned.


David Porter, chief executive of the UK's Association of Electricity Producers, warned that the European Union might be over-optimistic: "They did seem to set a lot of store by carbon capture and storage. We are keen to see it exploited but it looks as though they expect it to become viable more quickly than is likely to be the case. It's not yet proven."


Other scientists have expressed reservations about the technology, which is still in its early stages and may prove to be very expensive.

Charlie Kronick, senior policy adviser at Greenpeace, also warned that the technology was at least 10 years off, while action could be taken now to reduce emissions, for instance through energy efficiency and renewables.

And this matters because, in the meantime...

The world's consumption of coal is rising, as China and India build hundreds of new power plants to cope with soaring energy demand. However, some developed countries are also increasing their reliance on coal - only recently regarded as an outdated and dirty fuel with a limited future - as concerns rise over energy security and the doubtful supply of oil.

For instance, in the UK, the Department of Trade and Industry said earlier this month that electricity companies used 23 per cent more coal and 12 per cent less gas, which releases lower levels of CO2, in the third quarter of 2006 than they did in the same period a year ago.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 16th, 2007 at 04:20:32 AM EST

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