Feeds

Prof: Carbon sequestration 'as bad as nuclear waste'

Sweeping CO2 under geological carpet won't work

Security for virtualized datacentres

A Danish climate scientist has published a paper criticising carbon sequestration - the idea of dealing with CO2 emissions by stuffing the greenhouse gas away into underground or deep-sea storage where it can't affect the atmosphere.

Professor Gary Shaffer of the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen was already mildly well-known for his suggestion that the world's fossil fuel resources should be saved up in order to fight the next ice age in 100,000 years' time using targeted global warming.

Now the prof has done some long-term analysis into the consequences of massive carbon sequestration, and he doesn't seem happy with what he's found. According to a statement issued by the Niels Bohr Institute, sequestration amounts to creating "a burden for future society... in line with that of long term management of nuclear waste".

“The dangers of carbon sequestration are real," insists Shaffer. "We should greatly limit CO2 emissions in our time to reduce the need for massive carbon sequestration and thus reduce unwanted consequences and burdens over many future generations from the leakage of sequestered CO2.”

The prof says that deep-ocean sequestration is a definite no-no, as it means "grave problems for deep sea life" right off and the carbon gets back into the atmosphere quite fast, too.

The more commonly advocated plan of pumping CO2 into disused oil or gas fields doesn't meet with Shaffer's approval either. He points out that these subterranean/subsea reservoirs are scarcely leak-proof.

"One should not underestimate potential short and long-term problems with leakage from underground reservoirs. Carbon in light form will seek its way out of the ground or seabed. The present situation in the Gulf of Mexico is a poignant reminder of that," he argues.

According to Shaffer's analysis, geological sequestration is only worthwhile if a leakage rate of less than one per cent over a thousand years can be obtained. Otherwise the various issues of acidification, re-sequestration, sea level rises etc outweigh the benefits.

The professor's research can be read here by subscribers to the journal Nature Geoscience. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.