Oil Companies Want to Eliminate Their Own Carbon Emissions

According to a Vice article, the largest six oil companies announced a large initiative to eliminate their own carbon emissions using carbon capture and storage (CCS) off the shores of the UK. The way CCS works is by “siphon(ing) off the CO2 emissions from industrial facilities and pipe them into a saline aquifer beneath the bed of the North Sea”, where they would theoretically remain forever. If these efforts are successful, the UK could eliminate half of its carbon emissions. It seems too good to be true, which is why many are skeptical to CCS’s true environmental benefits. Carbon capture and storage critics argue that adopting this technique would only keep oil companies in power without much change to the actual root of the problem. Others site the large amounts of money it would need to make these machines and train employees. Instead of funneling this money into CCS, critics suggest shifting focus into energy efficient sources to replace coal plants in general. “According to the Financial Times, around $900 billion – about one-third of the value of big oil firms – would evaporate if governments attempted to adhere to the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C temperature target” suggesting oil companies could be the true benefactors of CCS. It is an interesting conversation and one that we must act upon sooner rather than later if we want to save our planet.