UKCCSC News 3 June 2008

Hi Folks,

I guess the big world news for CCS was the G8 meeting in Kobe, Japan. I almost missed this, as reporting in the popular press seemed very limited. Perhaps I just use the wrong search engine? The following is from a newsletter I receive (unasked) from the Climate Change Business Journal which has a very American slant. However, it paints the USA as the villain of the piece, along with Japan:

“1) G8 environment minister set climate goal for 2050 Environmental ministers and officials from the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations have agreed on a goal of cutting the current level of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in half by 2050. Concluding a three-day meeting in Kobe, Japan, on May 27, the environmental ministers of the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia could not agree on “mid-term” targets for GHG reductions by 2020. Scott Fulton, deputy assistant administrator with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Japanese Environment Minister Ichiro Kamoshita reportedly led the resistance to setting mid-term goals…”, where you can sign up for the e-mail newsletter. Amusingly, it doesn’t tell you how to get rid of it…

2) Edinburgh Uni gets a mention in this article (it might not have made it into the news otherwise!!). The article is about RWE enpower’s plan to revamp the coal fired powerstation at Cambois / Blyth (a renaming on a par with Sellafield / Windscale?):

“Another Question Mark on Carbon” RebOrbit

“Now conservation charity WWF says that promising to install the unproven technology at some point after new generating plants have been built and are operating is not good enough.

It says the Government must act to ensure that no new coal-fired stations are built in the UK until carbon-capture technology has been proved to work on a large scale, and can be installed right from the outset.

WWF’s comments – which follow research it commissioned from Edinburgh University’s Scottish Centre for Carbon Storage – echo similar concerns about carbon-capture and storage technology (CCS) voiced by Royal Society scientists and Greenpeace campaigners.”

The WWF report “Evading Capture” (good name!) is essential reading, if you only follow one link make it this one (download it from this page, you’ll need to scroll down to the link unless your screen is a lot bigger than mine):

3) “Vattenfall to build carbon capture test plant” Reuters

“Swedish state-owned utility Vattenfall said on Friday [May 23] it will build a demonstration plant for carbon capture and storage (CCS) at a 500 megawatt block of its Jaenschwalde facility in Germany.

The demonstration plant, to be built at what is part of a conventional lignite power plant, will require an investment of about 1 billion euros ($1.57 billion) and be in full operation no later than 2015, Vattenfall said in a statement.”

4) It sounds too good to be true so it probably is…

“Simple, Low-cost Carbon Filter Removes 90 Percent Of Carbon Dioxide From Smokestack Gases” ScienceDaily (May 20, 2008)

“Researchers in Wyoming report development of a low-cost carbon filter that can remove 90 percent of carbon dioxide gas from the smokestacks of electric power plants that burn coal and other fossil fuels.”

5) This is a different slant on the same technology (I think):

“Could US scientist’s ‘CO2 catcher’ help to slow warming?”

“It has long been the holy grail for those who believe that technology can save us from catastrophic climate change: a device that can “suck” carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, reducing the warming effect of the billions of tonnes of greenhouse gas produced each year.”

Here’s the bit I like the most:

“The team is also working on ways to dispose of the pure CO2 gas produced by each scrubber.

The patent suggests the scrubber could be connected to greenhouses, where the CO2 would boost plant growth. Or the gas could be used to grow algae, for food, fertiliser or fuel. The latter could “close the carbon loop,” Lackner said.”

Doesn’t “close the carbon loop” mean “go back to the atmosphere”? Does this achieve anything at all? I’m not convinced.

6) From across the pond: “US Senate To Take Up Emissions Reduction Bill This Week” CNNNews

“WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- The U.S. Senate Monday is scheduled to begin taking up a measure to impose mandatory cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions, a step that ultimately could create a new set of winners and losers in the world’s largest economy.”

But don’t get too optimistic:

“The bill is considered unlikely to pass, but is important because it sets a framework that some companies are already using to develop more environmentally friendly business plans.”

Here’s my favourite bit of this one:

“”We want to do our part, but we just don’t think that this is the answer,” said Elizabeth Merida, a spokeswoman for the Air Transport Association, which opposes the bill.”

7) Capture with a difference:

“Controversial ocean carbon capture schemes face UN-backed ban”

“Nearly 200 countries imposed a moratorium on ‘eco-hacking’ the oceans last week, putting the fortunes of several ocean iron fertilisation (OIF) companies in jeopardy.

The ban occurred at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Bonn, where countries discussed the prospect of geo-engineering – using large-scale scientific projects to try and avert global warming.

OIF is one method that private companies had been exploring. It involves seeding the oceans with iron or other particles that would encourage phytoplankton growth.”

8) This one really only got in because of the Edinburgh connection:

“Climate change work ‘held up” Scotsman

“AN Edinburgh University scientist has warned that the Government is “dithering” and lacks leadership over the implementation of a key weapon in the flight against climate change.”

Our Stuart, for the scientist is he, has apparently been demoted (he’s also changed the spelling of his name, apparently):

“However, Mr Hazeldine said that work has not been progressing fast enough.”

The article also wins the World Record for brevity.

That’s enough for a (not very globally warmed) summer’s day


Consortium and Network