Francesco Starace, CEO of Enel, a multinational Italian energy firm, isn’t so sure about carbon capture and storage.
He suggests that it is not a solution to the climate change crisis.
Carbon capture aims to stop CO2 from reaching the atmosphere by keeping it underground in geological formations, but Starace sees it differently.
“We have tried and tried — and when I say ‘we,’ I mean the electricity industry,” Starace told CNBC.
“You can imagine, we tried hard in the past 10 years — maybe more, 15 years — because if we had a reliable and economically interesting solution, why would we go and shut down all these coal plants [when] we could decarbonize the system?”
“The fact is, it doesn’t work; it hasn’t worked for us so far,” he said. “And there is a rule of thumb here: If a technology doesn’t really pick up in five years — and here we’re talking about more than five, we’re talking about 15, at least — you better drop it.”
Starace went on to say that there is one solution.
“Basically, stop emitting carbon.”
Though Starace has not seen much success with carbon capture and storage within his own industry, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a role to play.
Like carbon offsets – carbon capture and storage should be used alongside new technologies that reduce carbon emissions, not just neutralize, or capture them.
Alongside Starace’s announcement, Enel has moved its net-zero target date from 2050 to 2040. They expressed a desire to exit coal generation by 2027 and gas by 2040.
Per Starace, “We’re saying we’re going to be zero carbon, which means we’re not going to emit carbon.”