Fortescue boss Forrest shoots down carbon capture as energy transition solution
Political leaders should provide real, nongreenwashed commitments to encourage investment, the executive tells conference
Paris — Carbon capture is not a solution for the energy transition, and political leaders should provide real, nongreenwashed commitments to encourage investment, Andrew Forrest, executive chair of Fortescue Metals, said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the 50th anniversary meeting of the International Energy Agency, Australian billionaire Forrest said the investment community needs a level playing field and honest answers from political leaders on phasing out fossil fuels to invest.
“There’s a simple question from business leaders … when do we stop burning fossil fuels?” Forrest said at the Paris conference.
“If you want to drive capital … we must have clear and obvious disincentives for what is doing harm and clear incentives for what is doing good.”
Countries including the US have rolled out public subsidies for carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects as part of their incentives to push the green energy transition.
CCS technologies capture carbon dioxide emissions, often from a source such as a factory smoke stack, to prevent them from being released into the atmosphere. The captured CO2 can then be stored permanently underground, or repurposed in industrial processes that use CO2.
Oil demand growth is not set to peak until the end of the decade at the earliest and Forrest said carbon capture was not a viable solution.
“We’re going to keep burning fossil fuels and somehow magically get rid of the carbon down into the ground where there is no proof that it will stay there, but heaps of proof that it fails,” Forrest told the conference.
“I say for policymakers everywhere, do not be the next idiot waiting for the old lie to be trotted out and say I believe in carbon sequestration. It has only failed for 75 years … It’s a complete falsehood.”
Australia’s Fortescue is a major iron ore producer, which is used in steelmaking. It announced a new project last year to produce green steel on a commercial scale.
Iron and steelmaking account for a major share of global heavy industry emissions, and its trade has become a source of contention between the US and the EU, which have so far failed to negotiate a “green steel” trade deal.
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