Energy Policy Specialist Tells Senate Committee New Technology to Cut Global Warming Pollution Could Work If Properly Regulated

January 31, 2008

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE UNTIL: 2 p.m. ET, Thursday, January 31, 2008

Scott Anderson, Environmental Defense, 512.565.3528-c Media Contact: Chris Smith, Environmental Defense, 512.691.3451-w or 512.659.9264-c or

(WASHINGTON D.C. – January 31, 2008) A promising new technology called carbon capture and storage (CCS) could significantly reduce global warming pollution from coal-fired plants and other industrial processes, but only if properly regulated. That was the conclusion of testimony during a 2 p.m. hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources by a Texas-based energy policy specialist.

“We aren’t champions of coal, but we are realists. The fact that we support the development of CCS does not mean that we are coal advocates,” testified Scott Anderson, an energy policy specialist in the Austin, Texas office of Environmental Defense. “To the contrary, we believe that energy efficiency and renewable energy measures are smarter options. However, since the transition away from fossil fuels is likely to take a very long time, we foresee a long-term need to deal with coal-based emissions, and therefore, the sooner we begin to develop CCS technology, the better.”

Anderson was invited to testify specifically about “The Carbon Dioxide Pipeline Study Act of 2007” (S. 2144), which would require a feasibility study of constructing and operating carbon dioxide pipelines and sequestration facilities, and “The Carbon Capture and Storage Technology Act of 2007” (S. 2323), which would establish an interagency task force to develop CCS regulations.

CCS is the process of capturing carbon dioxide from industrial processes, such as those used in coal-fired power plants, and then injecting it into deep geological formations, including deep saline reservoirs and existing oil and gas fields, where it can safely remain for thousands of years. The result would be a significant reduction of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.

“Public acceptance of CCS will happen only if the public is confident that rigorous and credible regulatory oversight is in place,” Anderson said. “We must have an appropriate regulatory framework in place if the marketplace is going to achieve the kind of deep and sustained reductions necessary to avoid the worst consequences of greenhouse gas build-up.”

Environmental Defense considers CCS to be a key way to reduce the climate impact of coal, the world’s most abundant but most carbon-intensive fossil fuel, and accommodating it to a carbon-constrained future.

Full testimony by Scott Anderson [PDF]