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Debunking Yara’s greenwashing

Clean ammonia is a dirty lie. The promise of Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) keeps the fossil industry running and provides cover for continued oil and gas expansion, while perpetuating ocean exploitation.

Yara International claims that “Carbon capture & storage is vital to reach the climate goals.

Carbon capture & storage is a dangerous distraction played by YARA to cover up more fossil fuel expansion. Polluting industries are not phasing out oil, gas, and coal, but rather looking to the oceans to dispose of their CO2 waste. 

“The road from ambition to reality has been long, but now it’s happening. YARA International and Northern Lights are announcing the world’s first binding cross-border contract in operation for carbon capture & storage.

Translation: YARA signed a contract with Equinor, Shell and Total Energies to keep burning fossil fuels. The Northern Lights is a huge CO2 transportation and storage plan ran by these three fossil fuel giants . What could ever go wrong? The Norwegian governments seems to really like it

Yara’s plant in Sluiskil is one of the world’s largest mineral fertilizer plants.

When they say mineral fertilizers, they are talking about fossil fertilizers, made of fossil gas, okay? Just to be clear.

“We will capture 800,000 tons of CO2 from our ammonia production in the Netherlands by liquifying the carbon and shipping it with Northern Lights to the Norwegian continental shelf for permanent storage.”

Basically, Yara is planning to continue emitting hundreds of thousands tons of CO2.  Then they’ll ship the CO2 across thousands of KMs and inject it to turn the seabed into a storage site for their CO₂ waste. Storing CO2 there comes with uncalculated risks: seismic activity, toxic brine displacement, and high probability of CO2 leaks, as it will be injected in areas where they already extracted oil and gas.

Offshore CCS perpetuates the exploitation of our oceans, which are already harmed by the climate crisis and decades of oil and gas extraction. Events like leaks would pose major hazards to marine life and increase ocean acidification.

This will be a decarbonization milestone for Yara and the European industry at large.

This technology is being pushed at a never-before-seen scale, in the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the South China Sea, representing a new threat to the world’s oceans.

Not only that: whether offshore or onshore, carbon capture & storage has been repeatedly proven to fail! Most CCS projects have fallen short of their promised storage targets or failed to get off the ground due to cost overruns.

=> Furthermore, the blue hydrogen produced is not only meant for synthetic nitrogen fertilizer production but also for the development of new applications such as shipping fuel and power production. This will not decarbonize the main production of Yara but rather create new markets for them and an increased production in ammonia.

“Carbon capture & storage will decarbonize the industry, making it fit for the future by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and taking us one step closer to reaching the climate goals.”

The false promise of CCS keeps the fossil fuel industry running and provides cover for continued oil and gas expansion. Next to the production, Did you know that almost 60% of the total fossil fertilizer emissions occur when they are applied to the soil? Well, YARA does not even consider these in their plans. 

This may sound as if Yara is going to store all the CO2 that develops during fertilizer production. However, they never committed to stop their grey fertilizers, which doesn’t even involve CCS. They use CCS as a greenwashed marketing technique that will allow them to further grow their fertilizer production.

We need to immediately transition AWAY from fossil fuels and to safeguard crucial natural ecosystems like oceans. YARA is making profit from/out of global suffering.


Other sources:

CIEL’s report: Deep Trouble: The Risks of Offshore Carbon Capture and Storage.

YCA. (2022a). Capital Markets Day.

Menegat, S., Ledo, A., & Tirado, R. (2022). Greenhouse gas emissions from global production and use of nitrogen synthetic fertilisers in agriculture. Scientific Reports, 12(1).

Cannivé, J. (2023). Yara, Green Synthetic Nitrogen Fertilizers and the Self-Perpetuation of Corporate Authority. Wageningen University.