Although there are many hurdles between us and “clean coal” or clean gas for that matter, the capacity of the ground to hold the CO2 for long enough to matter does not appear to be among them, according to a new USGS study.
After taking a look at suitable underground rock formations across the country, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey say there’s the potential to store more than 500 years’ worth of carbon dioxide emissions, which have been blamed for contributing to global warming.
There’s the potential to store between 2,400 and 3,700 metric gigatons of CO2 across the United States, according to the USGS study, which was released in late June. In 2011, the nation emitted about 5.5 metric gigatons of energy-related CO2, while global emissions totaled about 31.6 metric gigatons.
Whether this is cost effective or not is for the marketplace to decide. Whether it is required or not for using carbon is a regulatory issue. But it solves the question of whether carbon neutral power can be made reliable. It can.
Mike Mann argues
“Sequestration is certainly better than no sequestration in most circumstances,” …
“I think there are a number of false premises that underlie the belief that carbon capture and sequestration is some sort of silver bullet in the effort to move toward a carbon-free energy economy,”
We can electrify everything except air travel, and we can pay a little more for electricity. We can do this with fossil fuels if the fossil fuel interests sequester CO2, which is already technically feasible. Alternatively we can electrify with renewables if they find ways to load balance. Then we can run airplanes on biofuel. We can live more or less normal modern lives with a stable climate, just by adjusting to a one-time increase in energy prices.
Or we can argue and delay ourselves to oblivion. For some reason we are choosing the latter course.