Click here to read the article in The Chicago Tribune.
Overheated Planet Seeking Solutions: Emissions Fix May Lie Beneath Us
Early in 2007, businessman and environmentalist Richard Branson offered a $25 million prize for developing a technology that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. An existing technology, however, promises to capture those emissions before they begin warming the planet. Carbon sequestration involves trapping carbon emissions from power plants or other polluters, pumping them deep underground into reservoirs and storing them for millennia. Some scientists estimate that this technology could account for as much as a fifth of necessary emission reductions and allow countries to continue relying on coal. Since carbon dioxide can make oil reserves easier to extract, a potential synergy exists in using depleted oil and natural-gas fields to house the waste. Although some environmentalists, oil companies and governments embrace the technology, numerous hurdles remain. The feasibility of safely storing carbon dioxide underground forever cannot be conclusively proven in advance of large-scale implementation, and a reserve bursting could leave thousands dead. Society, tempted to push aggressively for a cure-all technology, must carefully assess risks. In the end, it’s unlikely that any innovation will serve as a complete substitute for reduced energy consumption. – YaleGlobal