Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest has slammed carbon capture as a “failed” technology. 

Dr Forrest has appeared on the Good Will Hunters Podcast, hosted by WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman. 

He said there is a distinction between “good players” in the oil and gas sector that embrace green hydrogen made using renewable energy, and those that push for “blue” hydrogen, which uses fossil fuels as a source but employs carbon sequestration to make it carbon-neutral.

The Morrison Government is strongly in favour of carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a way to offset the damage and cost of highly polluting industries.

It recently passed regulatory changes to allow CCS projects to generate Australian Carbon Credit Units.

This has already allowed fossil fuel giant  Santos to move to register its $210 million Moomba gas hub project with the Emissions Reduction Fund, because it will feature an attempt at CCS.

Dr Forrest has been scathing of the plans. 

“There’s certainly not the academic and the practical research which has been done from government policy to any way responsibly support fossil fuel hydrogen as a net zero emitter of carbon,” Dr Forrest said. 

“Generally the world population has every reason to be sceptical that carbon sequestration ... works because in 19 out of 20 times it’s failed.

“To suddenly say, well, carbon sequestration, we’re going to wave a wand, it’s going to work reliably, well, you know that actually, if you’re a realist, it is a bridge way too far. It’s good in a sound bite, but it doesn’t work in reality.

“Until you’ve done that work, the academic analysis says actually it’s greenwashing, you’re much better off just burning the fossil fuel than you are converting it to hydrogen from a carbon perspective.”

The head of iron ore miner Fortescue said carbon offsets should only be used as a last resort.

“If you’ve got absolutely nothing else, then certainly look at them, but make sure they’re very sincere because they can be unreliable, and there are scams in the offset industry,” he said.

His company, Fortescue, is using offsets to help meet emissions goals, but says it will not need “very soon”, when new solar and wind power systems and large green hydrogen plants begin to power all its mobile and fixed plants. 

Dr Forrest also said that workers in the coal sector should not wait for the industry to inevitably fail. He called on coal workers to transfer to the green energy and green products sector that “without any doubt will become the largest industry in the world”.