The debate in Canada on whether or not the government should release the carbon capture tax credit in its next budget is heating up. National organizations delivered petitions with a total of 31,512 signatures demanding the government to reject the emissions reduction solution and call it a “dangerous distraction”.
“Carbon capture is being used as a Trojan horse by oil and gas executives to continue, and even expand, fossil fuel production. It’s a dangerous distraction driven by the same polluters who created the climate emergency… There is no fixing fossil fuels, we need to ditch them to protect our climate,” said Julia Levin, Senior Climate and Energy Program Manager with Environmental Defence.
According to Canadian climate scientists, that have strongly united against funding the carbon capture technology, investing public money into it would be equivalent to guaranteeing further production and expansion of fossil fuels.
As the projects to which the credit tax is available to, include fossil fuel power generation and fossil-derived blue hydrogen, the tax credit is seen as essentially a new fossil fuel subsidy. Canadians see adhering to the country’s climate commitment to become net zero by 2050 to exclude any forms of funding that includes utilization of fossil fuels.
One of the government’s election promises was also to develop a plan to phase-out public financing of the fossil fuel sector by 2023. Scientists see the carbon capture tax credit to break that promise.
They put forward the idea of government financing proven solutions that replace entirely the use of fossil fuels like renewables. The signatures support funding a rapid transition off all emissions generating approaches. They claim that is the only viable solution to the climate crisis in a state of a climate emergency.
Carbon capture technologies are presented as a way of cutting emissions from the source or directly from the air and storing them permanently underground or recycling them into products. Some new studies show that only around 50% or less of emissions reductions for certain projects were achieved when 90% efficiency was promised initially.
Those results make it question whether carbon capture is a cost-efficient way of cutting emissions. For fossil fuel power generation projects, it is also argued whether it makes sense to have it installed or it’s best to have the money invested elsewhere like renewables. One solution could be evaluating the validity of having carbon capture on a project-by-project basis.
It is considered necessary for greenhouse gas emitting industries that cannot be replaced with cleaner alternatives in the near term like cement and steel production, or for facilities planned to operate in the medium and long-term. In cases where those facilities could be replaced by efficient and clean alternatives, investments in having carbon capture put in place would be ungrounded.