Carbon Capture and Storage, commonly referred to as CCS, is an unproven, unsafe and financially unviable false hope for tackling the climate crisis, whilst in reality hiding pollution under our oceans.
The Australian government is currently considering allowing vast areas under our oceans to be used by the fossil fuel industry to pump greenhouse pollution into the seabed, and even old oil and gas fields to claim carbon neutral status.
Our oceans are being offered up to the fossil fuel industry through a process known as ‘acreage release’. This includes vast areas of our oceans from Perth to the Kimberley in Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and oceans off the Otways Surf Coast, 12 Apostles, the Bass Strait and Gippsland coast down south.
Australia’s oceans are being proposed as a dumping ground for greenhouse pollution from other countries as well! The Australian government is considering changing ‘Sea Dumping’ legislation that would mean other countries could send their CO2 pollution to be dumped under Australia’s oceans.
The impacts on our marine environment and wildlife if fossil fuel companies are allowed to pump greenhouse pollution under our oceans is alarming. The first stages include seismic blasting of the seafloor to get images of the rocks and structures below the ocean. This process is lethal to many species that are the foundation of our marine ecosystems, and deafens whales and stops them feeding, breeding and navigating properly.
The risks of leaks and pollution occurring in the development and any project phase are very real, as shown by the world’s biggest CCS plant in operation Chevron’s Gorgon project off the coast of north-west WA. Each year it leaks millions of tonnes of high methane greenhouse gas pollution that it promised would be sequestered below the ocean floor.
Furthermore, CCS is a favoured way for fossil fuel companies to extend the life of old oil and gas fields; pumping CO2 into depleted wells increases the pressure, forcing out any remaining oil and gas.
CCS is a dangerous and expensive way for oil and gas companies to extend the life of old oil and gas wells, while greenwashing this option as a way to make their fossil fuel businesses ‘carbon neutral’.
It is unsafe, unproven and unviable. Our oceans, marine life and climate need to be protected from the threat of CCS.
AMCS, in partnership with the Environmental Defenders Office, provided this submission to the federal government’s proposal to release large areas of our oceans to potential CCS projects: