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Stanford Geophysicist: Carbon Sequestration "too expensive and too risky"

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An article in the Los Angeles Times earlier this week highlights why the adverse environmental consequences stemming from the production and consumption of fossil fuels are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to eliminate. In this case, it turns out that "carbon capture and sequestration" (CCS) not only can cause earthquakes (which "would almost certainly ruin the CCS site and return it to square one"), but it's extremely expensive as well.

The problem is that much of the Earth’s crust hangs in a tenuous balance, so even a slight change in underground pressure can cause small earthquakes. While these earthquakes might not knock down any buildings, they would almost certainly ruin the CCS site and return it to square one, said Mark Zoback, a geophysicist at Stanford University and an author of the commentary. “If even a small leak develops, you’ve not succeeded in doing anything for the environment,” Zoback said.


Stanford geophysicist Mark Zoback says,  “Let’s do all of those things that we know will be beneficial and will have long term payback. Wind and solar are now getting competitive with fossil fuels. Natural gas is cheaper than coal now. In 40 years we could be using all renewables. I think CCS in comparison is just too expensive and too risky.

Instead of wasting our money on an energy technology that's "just too expensive and too risky," how about we focus our resources on energy technologies, like wind and solar, that are both safe and increasingly economical?