Saturday, June 23, 2012

Geologic Storage and Earthquakes?

Stanford University researchers have published an article claiming that geologic carbon storage can cause "induced seismicity" when carried out in continental interiors.  The high probability that CO2 storage in these regions will trigger earthquakes means that seal integrity is necessarily unreliable and CCS should not be deployed on a large scale.  Of course the likelihood of earthquakes also means local death and destruction, so that CCS must be regarded as a threat similar to hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" for natural gas.

In response, the Clean Air Task Force (CATF) released a statement countering these assertions.  According to CATF, existing models fail to demonstrate any link between CCS and induced seismicity; if such a link did exist, it would not apply to enormous offshore storage reservoirs; and, most importantly, no record exists of any significant seismic activity resulting from any CCS or EOR project anywhere in the world.  They conclude, "There's no question that seismic factors must be considered in the planning and permitting process for selecting carbon storage sites ... But fundamentally, we maintain the expense of overcoming any such obstacles will be minimal compared to the global costs of climate change from unmitigated industrial greenhouse gas emissions into our atmosphere."

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