Some virtuous cycle

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said an odd thing today at the United Nations climate-change bloviation in New York:

Canada is working on a variety of strategies, but one of the most exciting is carbon capture and storage.

It holds great potential for major emission reductions at home and abroad.

Pilot projects are underway in western Canada. CO2 is being pumped deep underground into rock formations that have been drained of their oil and gas.

Trapping it there creates a virtuous energy cycle: We take hydrocarbons out, tap their energy, and put the emissions back.

This is a, let’s say, non-standard definition of the term “virtuous cycle,” which you’d generally use to describe a system where improvements accelerate the longer you use it.

I’d expect the prime minister, who’s an economist to the extent he’s anything other than a politico, to recognize this as a case of the law of diminishing returns.

Don’t get me wrong — carbon sequestration is A Good Thing if it can be done economically, which is the current problem. But let’s not suggest it’s going to get us something for nothing.

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