Max Fawcett and Environmental Defence’s Julia Levin test our faith in carbon capture technology and question why taxpayers — and not industry — might be paying for it.
Last year, the approval of the U.S.’s Inflation Reduction Act initiated billions of dollars in clean-technology subsidies. Since then, Canada has been feeling the pressure to provide similar supports for the industry here. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland has hinted that it could be announced in the federal budget, which is expected in March.
A cleantech strategy oil companies say is essential to meeting climate goals is carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS). Carbon capture includes trapping carbon dioxide and storing it underground so it can’t get into the atmosphere.
Given the prospect of additional federal subsidies for carbon capture in the federal budget, this week’s episode of Maxed Out enters the debate on whether the enormously wealthy oil and gas industry should be getting subsidies for carbon capture.
Julia Levin is adamant that the industry should not get any taxpayer money. Levin is the associate director of the national climate program of climate advocacy group Environmental Defence. For her, CCUS is the wrong way to address the climate crisis in Canada.
She points out its inefficiency, saying the technology only captures a “tiny fraction” of emissions from fossil fuels.
“We have solutions that can virtually eliminate the production and use of fossil fuels over the next 10 to 15 years, and those are receiving just a fraction of the support that oil and gas companies are receiving,” Levin says.
The solution she’s referring to is renewable energy.
“Since 2010, the cost of renewable energy [like] solar has fallen by 85 per cent, onshore wind by 68 [per cent]. That growth in capacity in the last 10 years of renewable technologies has been kind of awesome to behold and surpasses the wildest expectations,” says Levin. “In the last 20 years, CCUS has barely delivered anything additional despite billions of dollars.”
Host @maxfawcett and @envirodefence’s @lev_jf test our faith in #CarbonCapture technology and question why taxpayers — and not industry — might be paying for it. Catch the conversation on the newest ep of Maxed Out on your favourite listening app!
Levin argues that it’s not about telling oil and gas companies not to invest in CCUS. “We're just saying, ‘You have enough profits. You've made enough in the last year to cover your CCUS costs. That $50 billion you're asking for from governments, pay for it yourselves.’”
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