A group of scientists insist that oil and gas producers must be forced to ‘take back’ the CO2 that is emitted from their products.
The controversial statement comes from a group of scientists from Oxford, UK, the Netherlands and the US and is argued in an article published yesterday in the Environmental Research Letters journal.
According to the co-authors of this recent paper, fossil fuel producers should take more responsibility for climate change by ‘cleaning up’ after themselves and doing away with the carbon emissions that result from their products and pay for the process.
It is generally accepted around the world that those responsible for pollution must pay to clean it up, yet, the scientists note, this practice has not been applied to climate change.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is developing rapidly and becoming more technically and economically feasible, they say, but what is lacking is ‘effective policy’ to force gas, coal and oil producers to pay for the permanent storage of their CO2 emissions.
The scientists are calling this a ‘carbon takeback obligation’ and in the paper, they outline how fossil fuels that are either extracted from or imported into a country or group of such should be offset by having the emitted carbon stored underground.
This approach is different from a carbon tax, which makes the use of fossil fuels more expensive, but does little to limit the impact of these products on climate.
Instead, the solution that the group is suggesting would directly neutralize the effects of fossil fuels on global warming by seeing that the cost of storing CO2 away would be included in the cost of production.
“If you generate too much carbon dioxide, you are going to have to put it somewhere, and you can’t rely on the biosphere to ramp up, as you need the biosphere for food production. So it’s going to have to go back in the ground,” said co-author of the article Myles Allen, a professor of geosystems science at the University of Oxford.