Bullock Says MT and WY Are Perfect Laboratories For Carbon Capture Technology

Oct 6, 2017

Kurt Waltzer, the managing director of the environmental non-government organization Clean Air Task Force, says carbon capture and storage will be needed to meet the Paris Climate Accord.
Credit Jackie Yamanaka

Montana and Wyoming would be the perfect laboratories to test carbon capture technologies, that’s according to speakers talking about the subject at a forum in Billings, including Montana Governor Steve Bullock.

"From My perspective you often hear a false choice, you can either address climate change or we can continue to produce power from coal and fossil fuels, but not both. And I think we need to reject this choice," says Montana Governor Steve Bullock.

Bullock says instead America needs innovative solutions and Montana and Wyoming are the best laboratories for finding that path forward.

He points to Colstrip.  Already the community is bracing for the eventual closure of its oldest coal-fired power plants. Bullock says the state, the federal energy department, and others are exploring maybe turning Colstrip into a demonstration carbon capture site.

“The facilities we have at Colstrip, it would be a shame to say if you’re looking at ways  test and implement new technologies why in the heck wouldn’t you do it in Montana," he says.

Credit Jackie Yamanaka

He says carbon capture could be a win for the economy and the environment but the technology is really expensive.

And it’s necessary if the goals set out in the Paris Climate Accord will be met, says Kurt Waltzer, the managing director of the environmental non-government organization Clean Air Task Force.

He says he’s often asked why can’t the Paris Accord’s goals be met by simply abandoning fossil fuels, "And what the UN’s international panel on climate change has concluded is no.”

He says wind and solar energy aren’t enough to de-carbon the energy system.

"Not only are we going to have to zero out emissions from every source of energy around the planet – whether it’s power or transportation or factories - we’re actually going to have to go negative. We’re actually going to have to start taking CO2 out of the atmosphere to actually meet those targets, sometime around 2060. Really the only practical way to do that is through carbon capture and storage."

He says the challenge will be to make the technology affordable to provide that incentive so the world’s biggest carbon polluters countries like the U-S, India, and China can reduce their carbon footprint.