The appeal of gas-powered power plants has been waning justifiably under the growing global pressure to cut CO2 emissions and slow climate change. The UK in particular is under growing pressure to switch to renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar or nuclear energy but the change, as in many MEDCs, is slow to take place.
Instead, the science behind the concept of carbon capture and storage (whereby toxic carbon dioxide released by gas-burning power plants is siphoned off and stored in pipes rather than released into the atmosphere and fuelling climate change) has always been alluring as it promises to maintain the use of gas whilst purportedly reducing the environmental cost.
Until now, the cost of investing in such a scheme has been prohibitive. However, new proposals suggest that there are ways to manage the investment required to reduce the annual bill significantly enough to make it a financially viable option: Carbon capture back on the agenda
What this article in the BBC news seems reluctant to contemplate is the possible side effects of pumping pure CO2 into ancient bedrock (albeit in pipes) and leaving it buried and apparently forgotten. It seems that we haven’t learned our lesson yet: what is buried rarely stays buried and the long term consequences of cash-rich solutions have a nasty habit of proving far costlier than the original saving. One of the causes of human-related climate change in the first place was the absence of foresight and forward-planning. The political agenda only seems to look for short-term solutions.
And the great big elephant in the room is that, whether we use carbon capture or otherwise, natural gas is a finite fuel. We have to seek renewable alternatives at some point so isn’t it time we started planning for our long-term future for a change?