LETA • CCS Facts

Carbon Capture and Storage: Myth Busting Insights from Experts

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is making headlines, but it can be hard to know what’s accurate. LETA’s goal is to provide you with information from the experts to understand CCS and its role in Australia’s transition to net zero. Here are some common myths and the facts to set the record straight on CCS. 

The Facts: CCS Safety

❌ Myth

✅ What the experts say

Geological storage of CO2 means mining waste will be injected into pristine underground aquifers, posing a significant threat to water supplies. “Carbon dioxide dissolved in water is not toxic. Naturally occurring dissolved CO2 is present in high concentrations in certain areas of the Great Artesian Basin. Leaks of CO2 are extremely unlikely because the geological formations that would be used to store the CO2 are not open and are sealed by one or more impermeable layers.” – Queensland Government.

Find out more CO2 capture and storage facts from the Business Queensland website.

CO2 storage projects are prone to leakage and cannot be trusted for long-term storage. Several decades of experience with geological storage projects across the world have shown that CO2 can be stored securely in the right setting with very low risk of leakage.” – CSIRO

Find out more about carbon capture and storage from the CSIRO’s CCS Explainer.

CO2 stored underground will leak or eventually escape, making geological storage a temporary solution. “Captured CO2 can be compressed, transported to a well, and injected into deep underground reservoirs. The reservoirs are capped with an impermeable layer of rock that stops the CO2 from moving upwards. CO2 can be stored in these vast reservoirs for thousands to millions of years.” – CSIRO

These rock formations are similar to what has held oil and gas underground for millions of years.

Find out more about CO2 storage from the CSIRO’s CCS Explainer.

The Facts: CCS for Net Zero Emissions

❌ Myth

✅ What the experts say

CCS is an optional technology and not essential for meeting net zero goals.  “The risks of not progressing large-scale CCS relate to failure to meet net zero commitments.” – Professor David Close, Director, Gas & Energy Transition Research Centre, University of Queensland

Read more about the University of Queensland’s research into the potential for carbon capture and storage to help reduce emissions on their website.  

Net zero can be achieved without the implementation of CCS technologies.   

“Reaching net zero will be virtually impossible without CCUS.” – International Energy Agency (IEA)

Read more about CCS in clean energy transitions on the IEA’s website. 

CCS is unnecessary because renewable energy can completely eliminate CO2 emissions. “Technologies such as renewable energy, improved energy efficiency and fuel switching are aimed at preventing the creation of CO2 emissions. CCS complements these technologies by addressing emissions that currently cannot be avoided, such as CO2 emissions from industrial processes like steel or cement manufacturing.” – Geoscience Australia

Find out more about the importance of carbon capture and storage on the Geoscience Australia website.  

The Facts: CCS for Australian Jobs, Industry, Economy

❌ Myth

✅ What the experts say

CCS projects have nothing to do with regional employment or the economy.   “There are local employment opportunities for many industries at all stages of [CCS] project development, for industry specialists (such as geologists and engineers) and general service providers (such as restaurants, hotels and local retail).” – CSIRO   

Find out more about the impact of CCS on Australian communities from the CSIRO’s CCS Explainer

The phase-out of fossil fuel industries will not hurt Australia’s economy at all. 

“A future made in Australia relies on our critical manufacturing industries like steel, cement, and chemicals. Without CCS technology to lower emissions from these industries, their future in a net zero world becomes uncertain and puts at risk thousands of Australian jobs.” – Mark McCallum, CEO, Low Emission Technology Australia.

Find out more about the potential for CCS to create Australian jobs and boost GDP in Australia in CSIRO’s CCUS Hubs Study via the Western Australia Government website.  

CCS is unproven is has not worked effectively, at scale anywhere in the world  “Around the world, Governments, including in the US, UK, and EU, are investing billions of dollars in CCS technologies to support emission reduction efforts of large critical industries like steel, cement, and power generation and ensure jobs and industry do not go offshore. Australia cannot afford to be left behind when it comes to supporting the adoption of this vital technology.” – Mark McCallum, CEO, Low Emission Technology Australia   

Find out more about successful CCS projects around the world in the Global CCS Institute’s Global Status of CCS Report 2023.

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