A surge in markets that put a price on planet-warming emissions could make technology to capture and sequester carbon dioxide commercially viable after decades of false starts.
Some experts say carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is essential to meeting the goal of a net carbon zero economy by 2050 because behavioural change alone will be insufficient.
But environmental campaigners tend to be wary of CCS on the grounds industry can use it to justify the continued use of fossil fuels.
CCS transports CO2 from where it is emitted and stores it, usually in a geological site, to prevent its release into the atmosphere.
Although the technology has existed for decades, it has yet to be widely deployed because it has been uneconomic – until now.
This year, the cost of producing carbon, which was far too cheap to deter many big emitters, has leapt to record highs.
On the most established carbon market, the European Union’s Emissions Trading System, pollution permits in July reached their highest yet at nearly 60 euros ($70.33) a tonne.
Many analysts say a European carbon price of around 100 euros is within reach by the end of this decade, tipping the balance in favour of CCS.
Another big economy, Canada, also faces a rise in carbon prices after the country’s supreme court in March gave the go-ahead for an increase to C$170 ($135.67) a tonne by 2030, from C$30 now.
OPPORTUNITY FOR SOME
Most roadmaps on how to meet goals set under the Paris Climate agreement to limit a rise in global temperatures to below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7° Fahrenheit) require a vast scaling up of CCS.
For companies and countries that get it right, the opportunity is huge. The world would need to go from current capacity of capturing 40 million tonnes of CO2 a year to 7.6 billion tonnes a year in 2050 to realise the International Energy Agency’s net zero scenario.
(Graphic: Steep road to net zero 2050 for CCS: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/ce/byvrjoglrve/Steep%20road%20to%20net%20zero%202050%20for%20CCS.png)
(Graphic: Global CCS capacity over the years: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/ce/gdvzyrxyzpw/CCS%20capacity.png)
Apart from the increased interest because of rising carbon prices, greater deployment of CCS would lower costs and help to make it profitable because of economies of scale.
“Part of the reason so many people are now talking about CCS is the movement in the carbon price and higher tax costs,” said Syrie Crouch VP of CCS at Shell, which has a target to capture and store 25 million tonnes of CO2 a year by 2035.
Shell is involved in CCS projects in Europe, Canada and Australia.
IEA data finds the cost of capturing CO2, excluding transport and storage, ranges from $15 per tonne at a natural gas processing plant to over $300 a tonne at a direct air capture (DAC) plant, which sucks emissions out of the atmosphere and is the only negative-emission solution.
(Graphic: Levelised cost of CO2 capture by sector and initial CO2 concentration: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/ce/jnpwegdlbpw/Pasted%20image%201628500852226.png)
The cost variation depends on factors such as the concentration of CO2 in the gas being captured.
Transport and storage costs also vary depending on what infrastructure exists, how far the CO2 must be transported and the structure used for storage.
Total CCS costs are already starting to be manageable for some emitters, Nick Cooper, CEO of project developer Storegga, said.
Storegga is leading development of the Acorn CCS project in Scotland, which aims to use existing oil and gas infrastructure to store 5-10 million tonnes of CO2 a year by 2030. Its partners are Shell and oil and gas company Harbour Energy.
The majority of existing and developing CCS projects are at power plants or natural gas processing sites, but experts say more projects are needed to put CCS filters on smokestacks for industries such as steel and cement.
(Graphic: Carbon Capture and Storage: https://graphics.reuters.com/CLIMATE-CHANGE/CSS/mopanmrmrva/chart.png)
Large industrials including HeidelbergCement , LafargeHolcim, ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel are among those considering CCS to meet their climate targets.
“If you are an industry with high emissions, and you aren’t actively planning for how these emissions are going to be avoided or stored in the future, you are running the risk of stranding your assets, and that risk goes up the more that carbon prices go up,” Mark Freshney, energy analyst at Credit Suisse, said.
Chemicals giant Ineos hopes to eventually store around 1 million tonnes of CO2 from its Scottish Grangemouth plant at the Acorn site and in July signed an MoU with Storegga.
“Had it not been for that movement (in carbon prices) we wouldn’t be having this conversation on CCS. It has definitely led to a sea change,” Colin Pritchard, Energy Business Manager at Grangemouth, said.
Ineos is also developing the Greensands CCS project off the coast of Denmark that it hopes could eventually store up to 8 million tonnes of CO2 a year in depleted oil and gas fields.
The sudden eagerness, especially from oil companies that can use carbon dioxide to increase pressure in old fields to extract more fossil fuel – currently the most common use of CCS – leaves climate campaigners suspicious, even though they grasp the urgency of finding all possible solutions to controlling climate change.
“Putting carbon capture technology on greenhouse-gas emitting facilities enables those facilities to continue operating, effectively providing those emitters with a licence to pollute indefinitely,” a group of over 500 international, U.S., and Canadian organisations said in an open letter to their policymakers in July.
At the same time, some existing projects have struggled with technical problems.
Australia’s A$3.1 billion ($2.3 billion) Gorgon CCS project, a joint venture including Chevron , Shell and ExxonMobil, was designed to store 4 million tonnes a year of CO2 at a liquefied natural gas project.
Since starting injecting CO2 in August 2019, three years later than scheduled, it has injected a total of 5 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent.
“Like anything of this scale there are technical challenges to overcome,” Shell’s Crouch said. Lessons from the project would be shared with the industry and governments and help to progress future projects, she said.
In the longer term, supporters of the technology say it will play an essential role in removing CO2 from the atmosphere, rather than just capturing at source, through methods such as direct air capture or bioenergy, derived from renewable biomass, with carbon capture and storage (BECCs).
British power generator Drax is seeking to develop BECCs at its biomass units, which it said could make it the world’s first negative emissions power plant by 2027.
Drax CEO Will Gardiner told Reuters it would take the company an initial 2 billion pound ($2.8 billion) investment to build the plants capable of removing 8-9 million tonnes of CO2 a year, with the CCS costing around 100 per tonne.
“As carbon prices rise globally, and if we are going to achieve a 1.5 degree pathway, they will have to rise, this will be a very cost effective way of taking CO2 out of the atmosphere,” he said.
(Reporting By Susanna Twidale and Shadia Nasralla, additional reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne; Editing by Veronica Brown and Barbara Lewis)
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Friday – CBC.ca
Surges in coronavirus cases in several U.S. states this week, along with staffing and equipment shortages, are exacting a mounting toll on hospitals and their workers even as the number of new admissions nationwide ebbs, leading to warnings at some facilities that care would be rationed.
Montana, Alaska, Ohio, Wisconsin and Kentucky experienced the biggest rises in new COVID-19 hospitalizations during the week ending Sept. 10 compared with the previous week, with Montana’s new hospitalizations rising by 26 per cent, according to the latest report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday.
In Alaska, the influx is so heavy that the state’s largest hospital is no longer able to provide life-saving care to every patient who needs it, according to an open letter from the medical executive committee of Providence Alaska Medical Center this week.
“If you or your loved one need specialty care at Providence, such as a cardiologist, trauma surgeon, or a neurosurgeon, we sadly may not have room now,” the letter read. “There are no more staffed beds left.”
Some hospital workers have become so overwhelmed by the fresh wave of COVID-19 cases — a year and half after the pandemic first reached the United States — that they have left for jobs at retailing and other non-medical fields, Nancy Foster, vice president of quality and patient safety the American Hospital Association, told Reuters.
At the same time, distribution and other issues are leaving some hospitals short of oxygen supplies desperately needed to help patients struggling to breathe, Foster said.
On Friday, the hospital association held a webinar for its members on how to conserve oxygen, an effort to address a 200 per cent jump in demand at many hospitals, she said.
“There is a shortage of drivers with the qualifications to transport oxygen, and a shortage of the tanks needed to transport it.”
While there are some breakthrough cases among the vaccinated, Foster said most of the hospitalizations were among the unvaccinated.
New hospital admissions are still surging in several mostly rural and Midwestern states, even as the number of COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals daily in the entire United States slipped to about 10,685 on Tuesday after cresting around 13,028 in late August, according to the latest data from the CDC.
What’s happening across Canada
- Health authority, N.B. working to meet demand for COVID-19 tests amid surge in cases.
- Outbreaks are ‘a weird moment’ for P.E.I. Here’s one expert’s advice on how to cope.
- N.S. reports 18 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday.
What’s happening around the world
As of Friday afternoon, more than 227.4 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.6 million.
The British government announced a major simplification of its rules for international travel on Friday, heeding complaints from travellers and businesses that its regulations aimed at staving off the spread of COVID-19 were cumbersome and ineffective.
Testing requirements will be eased for fully vaccinated arrivals to England from open countries, who will no longer have to take a COVID-19 test before travelling. Travellers will still need a test after landing, but from the end of October an inexpensive lateral flow test will suffice, rather than a more sensitive — but pricier — polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. The new rules apply to travellers from Canada.
In the Americas, an influential panel of expert outside advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted against approving COVID-19 booster shots for all Americans, but endorsing them for those 65 and over and for those at high risk of severe disease.
The decision marked a huge step back from the sweeping plan proposed by the Biden administration a month ago to offer booster shots of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to nearly all Americans eight months after they get their second dose.
In Asia, Cambodia is vaccinating children ages six to 11 so students can safely return to schools that have been closed for months due to the coronavirus. Prime Minister Hun Sen opened the campaign Friday, with his grandchildren and young family members of other senior officials getting their shots.
Cambodia already has been vaccinating older children, and Hun Sen says he ordered health officials to study if children ages three to five can be vaccinated. Nearly 72 per cent of Cambodia’s almost 17 million people have received at least one COVID-19 shot since vaccinations began in February.
India gave a record 22.6 million vaccinations on Friday, three times the average daily total during the past month. The health minister called the vaccine milestone a birthday gift for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who turned 71 and was criticized heavily for India’s dramatic rise in infections and deaths in April and May.
India’s previous vaccination peak of 14.1 million was reached on Aug. 31, with a daily average of seven million doses in the last 30 days.
'Trudeau is bad for Canada,' Singh says as Liberal leader asks progressives to unite – CBC.ca
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh launched his most pointed attack yet on his Liberal opponent today, saying Justin Trudeau is a failed leader who is “bad for Canada.”
Trudeau, meanwhile, dismissed the NDP as an unserious option, saying the NDP has presented a vague plan to spend $200 billion more over the next five years while offering few details.
“We think Mr. Trudeau is bad for Canada because he’s failed on the crises and made things worse, not better,” Singh said, condemning Trudeau for voting against non-binding NDP motions on pharmacare and long-term care homes.
Singh also pointed to higher greenhouse gas emissions and a tax system he said is skewed toward the “ultra rich.”
“He is bad for Canada. He was an abject failure,” Singh said of Trudeau.
WATCH: Singh says ‘Mr. Trudeau is bad for Canada’
With just three days left in the 44th general election, Singh and Trudeau are scrambling to shore up support among the progressive voters who could decide which party governs the country after Monday’s vote.
Trudeau wants a majority government. Singh, meanwhile, is trying to avoid a repeat of the last election — which saw NDP support crater, leading to a loss of 15 seats.
Trudeau said a vote for the NDP would amount to a vote for the Conservatives because vote-splitting could put Erin O’Toole in the Prime Minister’s Office. Singh said left-wing voters shouldn’t fall for Liberal pressure tactics.
“The Liberal Party is not only the only party that can stop the Conservatives, but we’re also the only party with a real plan to get things done,” Trudeau said, pointing to experts who have criticized the NDP’s climate plan as unrealistic.
“Progressives are quite rightly worried. I know there are a lot of people out there who are torn. You don’t have to make an impossible choice and vote strategically. You can actually vote for the party that is going to stop the Conservatives and move forward with the strongest plan to get things done.”
Trudeau prompted this election last month, saying the opposition parties have blocked the Liberal agenda by delaying government bills and disrupting the work of parliamentary committees.
WATCH: A roundup of where the leaders were on Day 34 of the campaign
Since the election call, Trudeau has been asked over and over to explain why he’s sending Canadians to the polls during the fourth wave of the pandemic. The CBC Poll Tracker suggests some Liberal supporters soured on Trudeau after the campaign launch — and the majority government the party wanted may now be out of reach.
When asked Friday how he’d handle another minority government, Trudeau said he’s asking voters to return as many Liberal MPs as possible to prevent that outcome.
Singh dodged questions today about the concessions he’d try to extract from the next government in exchange for NDP support on confidence motions.
Singh said he hasn’t given this much thought because he’s running to be prime minister. Polls suggest the NDP will be hard pressed to do better than third place, let alone form a government.
Asked today why his campaign has failed to catch on with more voters, Singh said the election isn’t over.
“We’re working hard and the Liberals often take people’s votes for granted,” he said. “I’m always prepared to work hard.”
U.S. senators push Biden to lift border closure with Canada – CBC.ca
Four U.S. senators on Friday asked President Joe Biden to lift restrictions that have barred travel by Canadians across the northern U.S. border since March 2020.
Democratic Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Jon Tester of Montana and independent Angus King of Maine asked Biden to allow Canadians vaccinated against COVID-19 to travel to the United States before October.
The border state senators said in a letter the restrictions have led to “economic and emotional strain in our communities.”
The senators added: “A plan with some indication of when your administration would feel comfortable lifting border restrictions based on public health data would provide clarity to businesses and families along the northern border.”
They also noted that Canadians can fly to the United States. “We struggle to understand the public health rationale for the disparate treatment in modes of travel,” the senators wrote.
NEW: Today I sent a letter to <a href=”https://twitter.com/POTUS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@POTUS</a> urging him to lift restrictions on vaccinated Canadians’ travel to the U.S. by October. NH communities are hurting from the border’s continued closure – it’s time to create a plan to ease entry & get back to regular trade & commerce. <a href=”https://t.co/XzsCflA6QS”>pic.twitter.com/XzsCflA6QS</a>
The White House did not immediately comment on Friday, but White House coronavirus response co-ordinator Jeff Zients said on Wednesday that given the delta variant of the coronavirus, “we will maintain the existing travel restrictions at this point.”
U.S. officials and travel industry executives say the White House is set to renew the restrictions before the latest extension expires on Sept. 21.
In August, the United States again extended restrictions closing its land borders with Canada and Mexico to nonessential travel such as tourism despite Ottawa’s decision to open its border to vaccinated Americans. Canada on Aug. 9 began allowing fully vaccinated U.S. visitors for non-essential travel.
The United States has continued to extend the extraordinary restrictions on Canada and Mexico on a monthly basis since March 2020, when they were imposed to address the spread of COVID-19. The U.S. land border restrictions do not bar U.S. citizens from returning home.
The United States separately bars most non-U.S. citizens who within the last 14 days have been in the United Kingdom, the 26 Schengen countries in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.
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