Is the Jury Still Out on Sequestration?

As global concern about climate change and greenhouse gases increases, carbon sequestration is rapidly moving from the research phase to the applied phase. In North America and Canada, where carbon-based emissions run commensurate to consumption of fossil fuels, scientists and engineers believe that carbon sequestration will be a key component of emissions control.

Of Global Concern

Climate change poses a problem for everyone on Earth. Naysayers have long since been relegated to the fringe, with their theories (ranging from cosmic rays to solar winds, when they aren’t burying their heads in the sand entirely) having been discredited by any number of mainstream scientific studies. If emissions output continues to grow, as it is projected to do, the Earth stands to lose more of its already depleted ice caps, sheets and glaciers – and the species which rely on them for their survival – never mind the air we breathe.

The Opposite of Not Going Away

Countries like China and India are not only clamoring for more and more automobiles and electricity, they’ve also become manufacturers to the world. The atmospheric result was on full display in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, when track athletes found themselves unable to train outdoors because of the caustic air – and that was after the Chinese government eliminated 50% of vehicle traffic by implementing odd-and-even days for travel.

In places like Ontario, as well as in Michigan, the first test sites for carbon sequestration are in full swing. Injecting CO2 to depths below impermeable rock layers pressurizes it, thereby causing it to take liquid form. That’s the part that Canadian and American researchers have figured out. What they need to find out is whether or not the carbon will stay sequestered. It’s a waiting game, reliant on strategically placed monitoring equipment and careful data analysis. If some in the scientific community are right, our future may depend on it.

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