Feeds

Prof: Carbon sequestration 'as bad as nuclear waste'

Sweeping CO2 under geological carpet won't work

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.