Weyerhauser Touts Photosynthesis As Natural Solution For Carbon Storage

by | Dec 10, 2007

As debates on carbon capture and storage continue at the U.N. Conference on Climate Change in Bali, Indonesia, Weyerhaeuser Senior Vice President For Corporate Affairs Ernesta Ballard says photosynthesis is the natural solution.

“The core manufacturing process for our industry is photosynthesis,” Ballard told EnviroMedia Social Marketing president Kevin Tuerff at the Bali Global Business Day event hosted December 10 by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. “Photosynthesis is the most efficient process in the world. It’s available without patent, without trademark and without technology transfer.”

Throughout the day, representatives from energy interests such as Royal Dutch Shell, Rio Tinto, and American Electric Power discussed the research, technological challenges and implementation challenges of carbon capture and storage – a process that diverts carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere with underground storage. AEP has plans to build projects in Oklahoma and West Virginia.

“Projects have been announced but are not being built, and the principal roadblock is government policy, ” said Preston Chiaro, chief executive of Rio Tinto’s Energy Products Group.  “We need a carbon pricing framework as soon as possible.”

Weyerhaeuser reports that carbon sequestration in its forests and products has allowed the company to capture 2.4 times more CO2 than it emitted in 2006, removing some 9 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents from the atmosphere. Ballard pointed out that 90 percent of the world’s forests are not protected by certified sustainable forestry standards and called for carbon credits for sustainable forestry and associated wood products.

“She’s right,” concluded U.N. Special Envoy on Climate Change Gro Harlem Brundtland at the end of the Global Business Day after pointing out to the gathering of some 300 business representatives that carbon reductions should take precedent. Brundtland was chair of the World Commission on the Environment and Development, which laid the groundwork over the past 20 years for the climate change policy now being reviewed by the U.N. general assembly in Bali.

Whether CO2 emissions are stored underground or sequestered in trees, there was consensus on Bali Global Business Day. Government policy is urgently needed to provide the global carbon business with more parameters, less risk and the flexibility needed to advance and implement associated technologies.

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