Report: Carbon capture not growing fast enough to reduce CO2 pollution

Carbon capture and storage technology is not being developed fast enough to significantly reduce the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, according to a report released this week by the Worldwatch Institute.

The technology, which traps carbon produced from coal power plants and other facilities and stores it underground to prevent air pollution, has seen funding stagnated over the past couple of years. Globally, $23.5 billion was spent on carbon capture and storage last year, the same amount as in 2010, according to the report.

The number of operational capture and storage projects was also unchanged. There are eight projects worldwide.

Of the 17 countries working on carbon capture and storage technology, the United States has funneled the most money into large-scale projects, according to the Worldwatch Institute.

Operating and planned large-scale carbon capture projects have the capacity to hold only about 0.5 percent of emissions from energy plants worldwide, the report said. Global storage capacity totals 35 million tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Funding for carbon capture and storage would have to increase by as much as $3 trillion by 2050 to cut the world’s greenhouse gas emissions by half, the report said, citing the International Energy Agency.

“Capacity will have to be increased several times over before CCS can begin to make a dent in global emissions,” the report said.

However, the Worldwatch Institute was optimistic about the technology’s growth, noting that new federal regulations targeting emissions from coal power plants encouraged broader use of the technology.