The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report on the status of carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) in the United States on the basis that the technologies are ready for more widespread deployment and policy solutions may quicken the process.

GAO cites three ways that CCUS can play a role in addressing climate concerns: 1) reducing the CO2 emissions from fossil fuel-fired power generation, 2) reducing the CO2 emissions from hard-to-abate industrial sectors, and 3) directly removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

Specifically, the report states:

“Fossil sources accounted for more than 60 percent of U.S. electricity generation in 2021. The major alternatives–such as wind, solar, and nuclear–likely cannot be scaled up quickly enough to replace fossil fuels as part of the energy mix might help preserve jobs and avoid the cost of prematurely retiring fossil fuel facilities and associated infrastructure.”

Significantly, GAO makes a point of noting that CO2 pipelines are a “mature technology” that have been safely used in the United States since 1972, as well as “the most common and least expensive” way to transport CO2. The report further states that building out the CO2 pipeline network will go a long way in lowering transportation costs, incentivizing expanded implementation of carbon capture technologies.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that the report specifically addresses recent opposition to CO2 pipeline projects in the U.S. GAO reviewed public comments submitted on active pipeline projects and found that the majority of opposition was premised on three pillars:

  • “Misconceptions about CO2, such as believing it is explosive.”
  • “Misconceptions about CO2 storage processes.”
  • “Beliefs that the CCUS process is unproven and unknown.”

In fact, as we have covered here at CAP before, carbon capture technologies and infrastructure are proven, safe, and reliable.

It is problematic, to say the least, that opposition to CCUS projects and CO2 pipelines is too often based on misinformation, and all the more important that inaccuracies be addressed.

You can read the full GAO report HERE and visit the CAP library for further information HERE to learn more about CCUS and how the U.S. is leveraging this technology on behalf of our economy and environment.