Climate change : federal actions will greatly affect the viability of carbon capture and storage as a key mitigation option : report to the Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, House of Representatives / United States Government Accountability Office.
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- Physical Description: ii, 66 pages : digital, PDF file
- Publisher: [Washington, D.C.] : U.S. Govt. Accountability Office, 
Title from title screen (viewed on Oct. 1, 2008).
Paper version available from: U.S. Govt. Accountability Office, 441 G St., NW, Rm. LM, Washington, D.C. 20548.
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Includes bibliographical references.
Nationally-recognized studies and GAO's contacts with a diverse group of industry representatives, nongovernmental organizations, and academic researchers show that key barriers to CCS deployment include (1) underdeveloped and costly CO2 capture technology and (2) regulatory and legal uncertainties over CO2 capture, injection, and storage. Key technological barriers include a lack of experience in capturing significant amounts of CO2 from commercial-scale power plants and the significant cost of retrofitting existing plants that are the single largest source of CO2 emissions in the United States. Regulatory and legal uncertainties include questions about liability concerning CO2 leakage and ownership of CO2 once injected. According to the National Academy of Sciences and other knowledgeable authorities, another barrier is the absence of a national strategy to control CO2 emissions (emissions trading plan, CO2 emissions tax, or other mandatory control of CO2 emissions), without which the electric utility industry has little incentive to capture and store its CO2 emissions. Moreover, according to key agency officials, the absence of a national strategy to control CO2 emissions has also deterred their agencies from resolving other important practical issues, such as how sequestered CO2 will be transported from power plants to appropriate storage locations and how stored CO2 would be treated in a future CO2 emissions trading plan. Federal agencies have begun to address some CCS barriers but have yet to comprehensively address the full range of issues that would require resolution for large-scale CCS deployment: (1) DOE's research strategy has, until recently, devoted relatively few resources to lowering the cost of CO2 capture from existing coal-fired power plants, focusing instead on innovative technologies applicable to new plants. In recent years, however, the agency has begun to place greater emphasis on CCS technologies applicable to existing facilities. (2) EPA issued in July 2008 a proposed rule to guide the permitting of large volume, or commercial-scale, CO2 injections. It addressed at least some of the key issues under the Safe Drinking Water Act but left other issues related to EPA's implementation of its air, hazardous waste and substance statutes unresolved. (3) Other agencies, such as Interior and Transportation, have jurisdiction over a number of interdisciplinary issues that could delay CCS deployment if unaddressed, but which have thus far received little attention. These include, among others, a legal and regulatory regime for a national CO2 pipeline infrastructure and a plan for addressing CO2 emissions reductions from CCS in a future emissions trading plan. In addition, unless the effects of CCS deployment are clearly explained, public opposition could delay future CCS projects.
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Mode of access: Internet from GAO web site. Address as of 10/1/08: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d081080.pdf ; current access available via PURL.
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