A former Obama official is undercutting a key aspect of his former employer’s plan to tackle global warming by arguing that carbon capture and sequestration technology, or CCS, is not commercially viable for industry-wide use by coal-fired power plants.
“[I]t is disingenuous to state that the technology is ‘ready,’” said Charles McConnell, who was the assistant secretary of energy until January. He was appointed by President Barack Obama and now serves as the executive director of the Energy & Environment Initiative at Rice University.
The EPA has mandated that new coal-fired power plants use CCS technology to lower carbon dioxide emissions. The agency and environmental groups says the technology is ready for commercial use. However, testimony in front of the House science committee on Tuesday by the former Obama administration official undercuts the EPA’s argument.
“Studies have verified that implementation of [CSS] technology is necessary to comply with EPA’s proposed [EPA carbon-emissions limits] regulation and meet the [greenhouse gas] targets necessary for limiting CO2 emissions to our atmosphere,” McConnell said in his prepared congressional testimony.
“However, commercial [CSS] technology currently is not available to meet EPA’s proposed rule. The cost of current CO2 capture technology is much too high to be commercially viable.”