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A United Nations report in September said that burying large amounts of carbon dioxide could play a big role in fighting global warming, but would be a costly fix.
Electricity prices could typically rise by 25 to 80 percent if power plant operators adopted the technology, according the report by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Weyburn, CO2 Injection and Carbon Sequestration
Finally, where does that leave us? Plainly, it leaves us with 130 million barrels of new oil (6.5 days of US consumption) and 13.8 million mt of new CO2 emissions (with a lifetime in the atmosphere of about 100 years), proving that you can not have your cake and eat it too or, to put it another way, there is no free lunch.
Capturing Carbon Dioxide
Even widespread adoption of CCS will not stop the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere. Only about a third of worldwide CO2 emissions arise from electricity generation, with much of the remainder coming from heating, industrial processes and transportation. Still, if we begin to apply a variety of CO2 reduction technologies in tandem, emissions can be held close to their current level, instead of doubling over the next 50 years, argues Stephen Pacala of Princeton University. These techniques include CCS as well as energy conservation, improved efficiency, and renewable or even nuclear energy sources. "As a species we are technologically ready to tackle the carbon and climate problems," he remarks.
Others predict that the planet's enormous geologic reserves will eventually be inadequate to hold all of the CO2 the world is likely to produce in the next hundred years. Klaus Lackner of Columbia University, for one, advocates sequestering the carbon in minerals like magnesium silicates, although currently the associated cost is much too high. Whatever the approach, "we need to do it now," he insists. "We cannot afford to sit back and say some great invention will come along sometime in the middle of the century."
Safe Storage of CO2 in Deep Saline Aquifers
Impacts of leaks
At low concentrations, CO2 is not directly hazardous to human health, but may detrimentally alter environmental processes. Vertical migration of leaking CO2 will be accompanied by dissolution into shallower aquifer waters. Dissolved CO2 hydrolyzes to form carbonic acid, which can alter pH. Because pH is a master variable in water-mediated chemical and biological reactions, a pH shift may cause undesirable changes in geochemistry, water quality, and ecosystem health. Examples include mobilization of toxic metals, leaching of important biological nutrients, and modification of proton gradients across biological membranes.