The good, bad and the ugly about carbon sequestration
London: Carbon sequestration is fast gaining popularity as a way to counter global warming. However, its effectiveness and consequences are not yet fully understood. Now, a Niels Bohr Institute researcher is providing an insight into these issues.
Large scale use of carbon sequestration could help to avoid extreme global warming that would otherwise occur in the near future unless fossil fuel emissions are reduced significantly. But it is not clear how effective different types of sequestration are in the long run, owing to leakage of stored CO2 back out to the atmosphere. Nor is it clear what would be the long-term consequences of such leakage for the Earth`s environment.
Gary Shaffer, professor at the Niels Bohr Institute, and leader of the Danish Center for Earth System Science, made long model projections for a number of sequestration/leakage scenarios. His results show that leakage of the stored CO2 may bring about large atmosphere warming, large sea level rise and oxygen depletion, acidification and elevated CO2 concentrations in the ocean.
Storage of CO2 in the deep ocean is a poor choice since this creates grave problems for deep sea life and since CO2 stored this way returns to the atmosphere relatively quickly, bringing back the global warming.
Geological storage may be more effective in delaying the return of the warming and associated consequences but only if a CO2 leakage of 1 % or less per thousand years can be obtained.
Alternatively, one could actively counter leakage from the ocean or geological reservoirs by re-sequestering CO2 to stabilize climate at some desired level. But it would be hard to gauge the global leakage rate to be matched by re-sequestration. Furthermore, re-sequestration would have to be carried out over many thousands of years, a burden for future society in line with that of long term management of nuclear waste.
Shaffer said: "CO2 sequestration has many potential advantages over other forms of climate geoengineering. It makes good sense to modify the Earth`s radiation balance by putting carbon back in where it came from.
Atmospheric CO2 is long-lived and evenly-distributed globally making it possible to manage it in a long-term, controlled way with less chance for unpleasant climate surprises. However, 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."
Shaffer believes that "the dangers of carbon sequestration are real and the development of this technique should not be used as an argument for continued high fossil fuel emissions. On the contrary, 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 research appears in the journal Nature Geoscience.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- UP: Jammu-bound Muri Express derails in Kaushambi
- Five unmanned parachute-like objects spotted over Mumbai airport
- CBSE Board Class 12th Exam Results 2015 declared
- Delhi's 2015 CBSE Class 12 topper M Gayatri talks to Zee Media
- Jaipur girl Mini Rajpal wins Miss India Deaf 2015!
- Dawood's intercepted phone calls prove yet again he is in Pakistan
- Mumbai architecture creates double decker bus from scrap!
- No respite from heat for next three days: IMD
- One year of Modi govt: PM addresses mega rally in Mathura
- Watch: Mumbai cops find new secret agents in housewives!
- DNA: Sikh man in New Zealand removed his turban to help injured kid
- Police registers case after parachute-like objects were spotted over Mumbai airport
- One year of Modi govt: PM promises to fulfil aspirations
- Growing medical negligence in Delhi's AIIMS
- DNA: AIIMS doctor removes both kidneys of minor, claims she had only one
- Heatwave claims over 550 lives so far, Delhi saw hottest day
- Check cbseresults.nic.in for CBSE Class 12 result 2015
- PM Narendra Modi's Mathura rally: As it happened
- CBSE Class 12 results out: Here's how you can check
- Public rally on 100 days of AAP govt: As it happened
- Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party changes its logo
- One year of NDA govt: PM Modi writes open letter to nation, promises to transform India
- Unidentified flying objects spotted over Mumbai airport not motorised: Home Department
- World optimistic about India: PM Narendra Modi on 1 year of NDA govt
- Militants kill five, target telecoms in Kashmir attacks
- Bharatiya Janata Party lacks majority for Ram Temple, Article 370: Amit Shah