Tuesday, September 22, 2009

An argument for climate policy

Today's NY Times describes the new carbon capture and storage system developed for the Mountaineer coal-burning power plant in West Virginia. This important nugget is in the middle of the story:

American Electric Power’s plan is to inject about 100,000 tons annually for two to five years, about 1.5 percent of Mountaineer’s yearly emissions of carbon dioxide. Should Congress pass a law controlling carbon dioxide emissions and the new technology proves economically feasible, the company says, it could then move to capture as much as 90 percent of the gas.

The challenge in agreeing on emissions policy, in the US, in Canada, and worldwide, is often used as an argument for an alternative "technology-based approach". In reality, it is a false dichotomy. Technology in the absence of emissions policy is unlikely to work.

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