Thursday, December 17, 2009

Climate change: Saying no to "clean coal"

While the Copenhagen talks are still bogged down in disagreements between rich and poor, one good thing has come out of them: carbon capture and storage has been shut out of the Clean Development Mechanism, meaning that companies won't be able to get credits for investing in CCS plants in the developing world. The reason? Because the science is still unclear about how long the carbon will stay in the ground - and hence whether the "reductions" it offers are real or illusory. There are also strong legal issues about the liability for any seepage - quite important when companies will be getting millions of dollars in credits for any storage.

The rejection of CCS means that the CDM will not be hijacked to subsidise dirty, polluting coal. It will also help to further discourage coal generation, by ramming home the fact that reliable CCS is still years away. And that this stage of the climate battle, that is exactly the message we need to be sending.