Saturday, May 5, 2012

EPRI Considers Feasibility of CDR Offsets

This week the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), an electric utility industry research organization, published a report on potential new types of emissions offset projects, including two CDR approaches, biochar and ocean iron fertilization (OIF).  The report's authors single out biochar (along with "blue carbon," or coastal carbon sinks) as deserving of further research by EPRI and its member companies, but they are more circumspect with regard to OIF:

While ocean iron fertilization also appears to be a potentially large-scale mitigation option that may also turn out one day to be low-cost to implement, this approach to reducing GHG emissions lacks robust scientific and public acceptance at this time, and fundamental scientific and social issues will need to be addressed before it will be possible to develop these technologies into activities that can generate GHG offsets. (p. 11-1)

More significant than these conclusions is the simple fact that EPRI, an established and well-regarded industry body, is now devoting serious attention to CDR technologies as possible sources of offset credits for future mandatory compliance markets.  It is easy to dismiss interest shown by partisan groups such as the American Petroleum Institute (API).  However, when careful consideration is being given by respected organizations like EPRI, it is a good indication that at least some forms of geoengineering have begun to enter the corporate mainstream.

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