A PROPOSED method of cutting harmful carbon emissions in the atmosphere by storing them underground risks causing earthquakes and is unlikely to succeed, a US study says.
The warning came in a Perspective article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, just days after another independent US study warned that carbon capture and storage risked causing earthquakes.
At present it is considered a ”viable strategy” by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for pollution control from coal-based electrical power generation and other industrial sources of carbon dioxide, said the study.
But while no large-scale projects are yet under way, the huge volume of fluid that would need to be stored below ground for long periods make the notion unrealistic, argued the study by experts at Stanford University in California.
”There is a high probability that earthquakes will be triggered by injection of large volumes of carbon dioxide into the brittle rocks commonly found in continental interiors,” said the article by Mark Zobacka and Steven Gorelick, professors in the departments of geophysics and environmental earth system science.
”Because even small-to moderate-sized earthquakes threaten the seal integrity of CO2 repositories, in this context, large-scale carbon capture and storage is a risky, and likely unsuccessful, strategy for significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”