Canada Defends Carbon Capture & Shell’s Double Credits

Canada Defends Carbon Capture & Shell’s Double Credits - Carbon Herald
The Parliament of Canada. Image by Michel_Rathwell https://flickr.com/photos/93922433@N02/2724987808

Amidst the recent scandal of the oldest running carbon capture project in Canada selling ‘phantom’ carbon credits and a massive $2.4 billion planned project being canceled, the federal government has spoken out in defense of the controversial climate technology. 

Earlier this week, an investigative report by Greenpeace revealed that the Quest carbon capture and storage (CCS) project operated by fossil fuel giant Shell had sold C$200 million worth of carbon credits that never existed. 

This corresponds to roughly half of the total amount of credits sold by the Quest CCS project, and the report says this was made possible thanks to a ‘hidden subsidy’ from the province of Alberta.

Shell Canada spokesperson Stephen Doolan stated to The Canadian Press that the extra credits were an “innovative mechanism to make investment in the Quest CCS project possible.”

Relevant: Greenpeace: Shell CCS Project Sold $200M Of ‘Phantom’ Credits

He went on further to say that the double credits were limited to the point in time when the project broke even, from which point on all credits generated by the project were used to meet Shell’s own emissions requirements and were not sold to anyone. 

As of now, Doolan said, the project has captured a total of 9 million metric tons of CO2 – something, he argues, that would not have been possible without the many incentives the project received. 

The scandalous revelation further undermines the economic viability of carbon capture technology, particularly as it comes only days after Capital Power pulled the plug on the planned $2.4 billion CCS project in the same province due to its high costs. 

Relevant: Capital Power Cancels $2.4B Carbon Capture Project In Canada

Now, to defend the nascent technology as an effective climate solution, the energy minister of Canada Jonathan Wilkinson is countering all the naysayers by addressing both the effectiveness and price tag of carbon capture.

“Carbon capture and sequestration technologies are getting better and, over time, they actually get less expensive just like every other technology that goes through the cycle,” Wilkinson said.

“For those that say that the technology itself is not proven, I’d just say to them that’s not true. The technology, the basic technology, has been around for a long time. It’s a matter of scale and it’s a matter of cost and those are both things that are actually happening.”

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