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As report after report shows we’re just not on track to meet our emissions reduction goals, it’s easy to think carbon capture might be our saving grace. Oil companies are thinking the same thing — but for not-so-climate-conscious reasons.
Over the past two years, congressional investigations surfaced a trove of internal documents showing how oil companies have misled the public about climate change and their actions to combat it. And as the climate publication DeSmog found in those documents, promoting carbon capture and storage has been central to their strategy.
While carbon capture technology has successfully reined in emissions at fossil fuel power plants and pulled the gas directly out of the air, it’s still incredibly expensive and hasn’t proven itself as a viable, large-scale climate solution. And internally, fossil fuel giants know that: One study from BP noted “high costs” and “few economically viable business cases” hold carbon capture back.
But oil giants are still publicly promoting carbon capture and funding its research, and internal communications show why. As the same BP study notes, carbon capture could “enable the full use of fossil fuels across the energy transition and beyond.” Internal communications at ExxonMobil, Shell and an industry trade group reflect the same idea: Carbon capture is a “golden ticket to continue pumping,” even if it doesn’t end up becoming financially or technologically feasible, DeSmog writes.
Read more on the investigation from DeSmog.
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