Schalk Cloete is brilliant. His five-part series on CCS is essential reading for anyone concerned about climate change. It’s essential because Cloete is “All Pragmatic All the Time”. He doesn’t do agenda activism. He just focuses upon assessing policy options – completely: scalability, life cycle cost, EROEI. Answering questions on his Part 1 of 5 post he explained why CCS:
My thesis on the deployment of CCS is a pretty simple one:
1) Fossil fuelled economic growth will be prioritized over climate change as long as climate change has a limited real-world impact, thus leading to an overshoot of climate targets.
2) When real-world climate impacts eventually start to have a large and clearly attributable effect, public opinion will shift rapidly.
3) This shift in public opinion will lead to a rapidly rising CO2 price.
4) A rapidly rising CO2 price will lead to a rapidly rising production (and storage/utilzation) of CO2 through CCS.
5) CCS is very well suited to such a reactive CO2 mitigation scenario due to the ability to access locked-in emissions, abate emissions from industry and because it will be less capital intensive than most alternatives. </
I’m unclear about the timeframes over which this will play out (mostly determined by real-world climate change impacts), but am fairly confident that the lack of proactive action will eventually necessitate such reactive emissions cuts through CCS in spite of the non-technical problems you mention.
My take on the political reality is quite parallel to Schalk’s. There will be no big public policy push for decarbonization – until people starting feeling real pain. By that time a lot of dangerous change will be “baked in” and people will be very motivated to look beyond Amory Lovins “soft power” for real solutions. To find out what the following graphic is all about, you’ll want to read Part 1.