My holiday reading includes The Hobbit and some papers from Evan Mills that revolve around climate change, risk, and the insurance industry. The problem with Carbon Capture and and Storage (CCS), aside from the fact the technology is unproven and decades away, is the fact the insurance industry won't touch it, emphasis mine:
The insurance industry's assessment of industrial CCS is of critical importance, as private financing cannot be mobilized without insurance. And without private insurance, the public sector would be compelled to assume the risks. Only a few insurers have brought these products to market (Mills, 2009), and the coverage they have offered excludes a variety of risk factors and any longterm liability. (Weighing the risks of climate change mitigation strategies)
If CCS is going to work then private industry needs to do all of the work at their own risk. If private insurance won't touch it then the model has failed because, ultimately, the public will pick up the tab for failures. I don't have an ideological opposition to public/private partnerships provided the allocation of risk and reward is clear and moral hazard is avoided.
If CCS projects are ultimately insured by the public (as we currently do for nuclear power, see Nuclear Liability Act) then they will only appear affordable, courtesy an unfunded, uncapped externalized liability.
And then there's this:
While perhaps more prosaic than other climate mitigation strategies, improved energy efficiency is widely demonstrated to be among the most promising, well-understood, and cost-effective strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC, 2007; US Department of Energy, 1997; Williams et al., 2012).
Government should focus on the sure bet, now, because:
Society is veering toward a risky reliance on unproven and untested climate change solutions in lieu of shovel-ready ones with well-known costs and impacts. Procrastination is moving society into a position of having to make harder choices, potentially more draconian and more costly choices, and to take new risks incurred by a need to act in haste (Socolow, 2011). It is prudent to hold the riskiest and least-proven responses in reserve, in case all else fails. Unfortunately, humankind may be forced to exercise these options, not because of any intrinsic failure of more benign approaches, but rather because of a failure to implement those approaches in a timely fashion. Private insurance and other market-based mechanisms for financing and managing these high-risk technologies will be in short supply, and as a result the costs will fall disproportionately on the public sector.