ICO2N – Explaining Carbon Capture And Storage To Canadians

March 12, 2012

Carbon capture and storage — CCS — is a process that has significant potential to help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) at industrial sites, transporting it via pipelines, and injecting it into storage sites deep underground.

About seven years ago, a group of Canada’s largest industrial companies who support the development of CCS formed a working alliance, called  ICO2N or the Integrated CO2 Network, to help advance the technology and make large-scale development possible. Since 2005, Communica Public Affairs has been assisting ICO2N with its communications needs, working with Eric Beynon, Director, Strategy & Policy for  ICO2N, and with the member companies on the  ICO2N Advocacy and Communications Sub-Committee.  Communica has provided communications counsel, strategic planning, media relations and other corporate communications assistance.

The focus has been on helping  ICO2N communicate with governments, industry, media and other interested Canadians so they are better able to understand CCS, and its importance.

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is not about a single tool that will solve climate change issues – there will be many tools and we need to move quickly to grow new technologies like CCS to achieve its potential for 2020,” says Mr. Beynon. “Recent studies and reports show that CCS can contribute significant CO2 reduction volumes and is an important part of Canada’s suite of greenhouse gas reduction options.”

CCS is important in terms of the volume of ICO2N reductions available, its economic competitiveness with other GHG reduction options, and its importance to the economic fabric of Canada.

“The world is still highly dependent on fossil fuels and will likely remain so for some time,” says Mr. Beynon.  “However, CCS offers a de-carbonizing of fossil fuels by capturing and storing CO2.  This will allow time for the growth of renewable energy sources and the transition to a future carbon-free energy system.

“It’s also important to recognize that although large-scale commercial projects have yet to be built, carbon capture and storage is not a new or untested idea,” adds Mr. Beynon.  “CCS is a technically viable and environmentally safe means of reducing greenhouse gases.  There are many CCS projects of varying sizes already under way around the world, and underground storage of CO2 has been under way for more than a third of a century in the United States.  The geological formations being considered as likely candidates for long-term CO2 storage in Canada – namely depleted oil and gas reservoirs and deep geological sequestration sites – have already proven safe for storing other gases and liquids.  These same formations have trapped crude oil and natural gas underground for hundreds of millions of years.”

Conveying these and other important CCS messages to Canadians is a challenge for ICO2N – one that Communica is pleased to be a part of.