Drilling for fossil fuels isn’t a climate solution: Why we need trees, not carbon capture and storage


Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has been in the news a bit lately - this is because the fossil fuels industry has been pushing it as a climate solution, so they can keep burning more fossil fuels for record profits.  

Dive into the facts with us to find out our top 3 reasons why carbon capture and storage is only fudging our planet further!


What is CCS?

It’s worth spelling this out from the outset: carbon capture and storage is not a climate solution. 

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) involves capturing, transporting and storing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel projects like gas fields by injecting the captured greenhouse gases back into the ground. 

It’s not exactly news that extracting and burning more fossil fuels is what is killing our planet. One of the biggest offenders is gas, because it emits methane which is a potent greenhouse gas. And potent greenhouse gasses are not what we need if we are going to stop the worst impacts of the climate crisis and protect our planet.


Reason 1: The fossil fuel industry love it because it means they can keep drilling 

The fossil fuel industry (the companies that make money out of extracting and burning fossil fuels like gas) have the most to gain by continuing to extract fossil fuels - which is why any ‘solution’ that comes from them should be side eyed verrrrrry suspiciously. 

In Australia, the coal and gas industry is pushing for CCS so it has a license to keep its polluting projects going, not because it wants to cut emissions. Basically, carbon capture and storage is a licence to ramp up emissions.


Reason 2: It’s crazy expensive and it doesn’t even work

After decades of CCS research and billions of dollars invested around the world, including here in Australia, there is little to show for it. Every CCS project that has been undertaken so far has resulted in significant delays and massive cost blowouts. It is far better and cheaper to avoid carbon emissions in the first place, rather than try to capture them after they’ve been released. Rather than wasting money on something that’s expensive and ineffective, Australia should be investing in the things we know can cut emissions quickly and bring down power prices – like renewables backed by storage. 

There is not a single carbon capture and storage project in the world that has delivered on time, on budget, and captured the agreed amount of carbon. 

Proof of this is Aussies own CCS failure - it was promoted as the biggest in the world, but ended up as a big, expensive failure costing a whopping $3.1 billion (imagine all the pints you could buy with that!) 


Reason 3: Trees are a climate solution, drilling for more fossil fuels isn’t 

CCS has not been trialed and tested – anywhere in the world – at the scale required to tackle the climate crisis. Especially when you think about the fact that it’s attached to what’s causing the problem in the first place. 

Why try to rip fossil fuels out of the ground, only to try (and fail) to force them back into the ground. It makes more sense to us to just use this dough on climate solutions that do work - like renewable energy and keeping trees in the ground. Fudge, if we put even a small fraction of the costs that have been wasted on CCS into keeping trees in the ground we would have hugely better outcomes than failed CCS.


What can I do for the planet? 

CCS is the worst: it’s not really a climate solution, but really just a way for fossil fuel companies to keep drilling into the ground for new fossil fuels while keeping the pressure to reduce emissions off their backs. 

If you want to join the fight to stop fossil fuel companies digging and drilling more gas out of the ground in the first place - you can join our amazing partners Surfrider Foundation Australia, and take action by sending a letter here!