EPA Chief Says `Tremendous' Chance Offered for Carbon Capture

  • Need to cut emissions can accelerate cleaner combustion tech
  • Higher levels of capture will be available with advances

Gina McCarthy, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said the need to reduce carbon emissions offers a chance to push ahead with low-carbon technology such as carbon capture and storage.

“In the U.S. even with our Clean Power Plan, every fuel will still continue to play a part” including coal and gas, she said at a town hall meeting in Tokyo Wednesday. The Clean Power Plan, an initiative announced earlier this month, would require the American power sector to cut carbon pollution 32 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

“There’s a tremendous opportunity today to accelerate our progress on cleaner combustion and carbon capture and storage,” McCarthy said.

Her remarks came as the U.S. Department of Energy and China’s National Energy Administration agreed to share their results as they refine technologies to capture the greenhouse gases produced from burning coal, according to a report by the Associated Press late Tuesday, which cited Christopher Smith, the Energy Department’s assistant secretary for fossil energy.

“Over time, higher levels of capture will be available as CCS technology advances,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy is in Japan to meet with officials, including Yoshio Mochizuki, Japan’s environment minister.

CCS is a technology that promises to absorb the pollution blamed for global warming before it reaches the atmosphere. CCS is designed to capture and bury the carbon dioxide byproduct from burning fossil fuels.