Cabinet approves carbon capture plan

2012-05-04 22:02

Cape Town - A plan to capture and store carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, in deep geologic formations was approved by Cabinet on Friday.

"Cabinet endorsed the Carbon Capture and Storage [CCS] Roadmap," Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Collins Chabane said at a media briefing in Pretoria, broadcast via a video link to Cape Town.

CCS has been identified - in government's long-term mitigation scenarios plan - as one of the options to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, one of the main drivers behind global warming.

"One of government's strategic objectives is mitigation against carbon emissions and adaptation to the impact of climate change," Chabane said.

Cabinet held its fortnightly meeting on Thursday.

South Africa relied heavily on fossil fuels (coal, gas and oil) for its energy production.

Chabane said it had voluntarily committed to reduce CO2 emissions by 34% in 2020, and by 45% in 2025, on condition that the requisite technological and financial support was provided.

"CCS can reduce CO2 emissions by 80% to 90%... particularly CO2 from sources such as electricity generation plants, coal-to-liquid plants and cement manufacturing plants," he said.

CCS involves capturing CO2 from a point source, such as a power station or coal-to-fuel plant; transporting it, usually by pipeline; and, pumping it down a borehole into porous rock formations deep underground, where it is contained and stored.

A recently-released Geological Storage Atlas has identified potential CCS areas in SA.

It is understood the next step in the CCS "roadmap" process will be a test injection of CO2 into a suitable geologic formation, to determine whether such storage can be safely undertaken in SA.

  • Adil Smit - 2012-05-05 02:54

    Is today maybe the 1st of April?

      Morgaen - 2012-05-06 09:34

      Cabinet live in a Groundhog Day, stuck on 1st April maybe.

  • frank.hubris - 2012-05-05 09:15

    Why is it that the tree huggers haven't yet complained that this plan will contaminate our ground water? This CCS process sounds a lot like fracking. Maybe they are looking forward to having fizzy spring water.

      Mike - 2012-05-05 11:07

      There is a process know as EOR ( enhanced oil recovery) which uses reinjected CO2, so I would not be too surprised if suddenly the best locations for CCS are identified as being in the same area that they want to frack.

      Zing - 2012-05-07 08:56

      I can't picture pumping CO2 gas underground as a good storage solution. You can only compress so much then it wants to escape back into the atmosphere. Our power stations produce too much gas to make this a sustainable solution. Mike - you may be onto something here. Not only can the Karoo people look forward to oil in their water when fracking starts, they will have nice carbonated oily water as the CO2 squeezes out of every pore of the earth. :)

  • Erena - 2012-05-05 17:24

    MemeMan what a disapointment you are! I thought you are a person that could think, now I see you just bash people you are afraid of. Dear we do not threaten or bash others that does not think as we do. I am a Christian. Global warming is a huge threat, so is Fracking so is Nukes. Now what has my Christianity have to to with all of this?

      Morgaen - 2012-05-06 09:32

      Mememan is bitter because he know's it's wrong to kiss boys and enjoy it. He is merely expressing deepseated hatred for Christianity as it condemns what he does.

  • Zing - 2012-05-07 09:08

    This solution is like sticking a Band-Aid onto a festering wound. You might hide the wound from sight, but you've not fixed the problem. What we all refuse to admit is that we are using too much energy! Not only are we poisoning our own atmosphere, we're also using up resources at an incredible rate. Competing with the Joneses has left us in such a dependence of energy that we cannot reduce our carbon footprint anymore, let alone live carbon neutral or positive. This lifestyle is highly unsustainable. I predict an energy crisis of epic proportions to still happen within our lifetime (20-30 years). This crisis will not be in the form of yet another petrol price hike, but it will be in the order of LIGHTS-OUT everyone.

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