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☁️ "The Good and Bad of Carbon Capture"

Catalyst with Shayle Kann

Table of Contents

Host: Shayle Kann
Guest: Emily Grubert | Associate Professor of Sustainable Energy Policy | University of Notre Dame
Category: ☁️ Carbon | Carbon Capture
Original: 44 min | Time Saved: 43 min

Main Takeaways:

  • Dr. Emily Grubert, an associate professor at Notre Dame's Keough School of Global Affairs, studies sustainable energy policy and thinks critically about carbon capture usage and storage (CCS). She recently posted a framework on Twitter categorizing CCS into 4 main types.
  • CCS is a broad umbrella term for capturing CO2 emissions from sources like power plants or directly from the air, then storing it underground or using it. According to the IPCC, CCS will likely be needed at large scale to reach reasonable climate goals of capturing hundreds of gigatons of CO2.
  • Grubert lays out 4 categories of CCS: fossil CCS where alternatives like renewables exist; CCS for hard-to-decarbonize sectors like cement where alternatives are limited; CCS to offset ongoing emissions as compensation; and CCS solely for legacy emissions reduction.
  • Category 1, fossil CCS, is controversial as it may extend the lifetime of fossil fuel infrastructure, though proponents argue it can help build needed CCS infrastructure like pipelines for other categories.
  • Categories 3 and 4 deal with carbon removal from the air, not just emission avoidance from point sources, an important distinction, as removal treats CO2 differently and achieves different goals.
  • Grubert argues we should prioritize categories 2-4, do only the essential amount of CCS needed, and build infrastructure optimized for carbon removal over mitigation.
  • There are implications for environmental justice and unintended incentives created by CCS incentives and credits that need addressing through governance and standards early on.
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🗓️ 08/20/2023