Carbon Capture and Storage Likely To Cause Earthquakes, Trigger Leaks

Capturing carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants and pumping it deep underground for permanent storage has been billed as a way to curtail global warming, but some scientists are raising new concerns that storing carbon dioxide that way could cause earthquakes severe enough to allow the greenhouse gas to escape into the atmosphere, reports James Bruggers at the Courier-Journal. A recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, a private, nonprofit institution that provides expert advice to the government, suggests that the process could build up enough pressure to cause minor to moderate earthquakes — the same thing that can happen in other energy-related drilling involving fluids that are pumped into the ground.  Stanford University geophysicist Mark Zoback testified before a Senate committee that large-scale carbon capture and storage is risky and will likely fail. For it to make a difference, Zoback said, the amount of carbon dioxide needed to be pumped into the ground globally every day must equal the barrels of oil currently extracted to power the world economy. “The question is,” Zoback said, “where are we going to put all that CO2 (carbon dioxide) …without triggering moderate earthquakes?”


Deep trouble? Carbon dioxide capture and storage may cause quakes. Capturing carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants and pumping it deep underground for permanent storage has been billed for several years as one way to curtail global warming and keep Kentucky and Indiana in the coal business. Louisville Courier-Journal|topnews|text|Home


About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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