A representation of a carbon dioxide molecule (www.thomasnet.com).
by Dan Burns
Aug 12, 2021, 8:00 AM

What’s the deal with these proposed carbon capture pipelines?

I gotta admit that I am none too thrilled about this.

Navigator CO2 Ventures, which is planning a pipeline that will stretch over 1,200 miles (1,931 kilometers) through Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Illinois, says it is offering “carbon capture solutions for a greener planet.” While Summit Carbon Solutions, whose pipeline will connect refineries in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota to a sequestration site in North Dakota, says it plans to build the world’s largest carbon capture and storage project. Both hope to start some operations by 2024.
(AP News)

These days, the words “new pipelines” don’t immediately evoke a positive response in my mind, to say the very least, in any context. But if it somehow works, well, good, right?

What do scientists think?

“All sorts of scenarios have been developed under the assumption that carbon capture actually reduces substantial amounts of carbon. However, this research finds that it reduces only a small fraction of carbon emissions, and it usually increases air pollution,” said Jacobson, who is a professor of civil and environmental engineering. “Even if you have 100 percent capture from the capture equipment, it is still worse, from a social cost perspective, than replacing a coal or gas plant with a wind farm because carbon capture never reduces air pollution and always has a capture equipment cost. Wind replacing fossil fuels always reduces air pollution and never has a capture equipment cost.”
(Stanford News)

You get the drift. There do appear to be some legitimate scientists who are positive about something like this, but, skepticism generally rules.

For me, there are two huge red flags, in addition to the above. One is that these are planned to capture carbon at ethanol plants, and there should be far, far fewer ethanol plants. Just enough for booze, and a handful of other uses that have nothing to do with running cars.

Second, these are corporate, for-profit ventures. As with education, health care, and much else, that’s not the way to go, on climate change.

From what I saw, there are no subsidies for these in the big infrastructure bill that recently passed the U.S. Senate. But I didn’t look very hard.

Thanks for your feedback. If we like what you have to say, it may appear in a future post of reader reactions.