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Geoscientists and engineers stress CCS is safe, secure and effective

Published by
World Coal,

Geoscientists and engineers, from a range of countries – Europe, America, China, Australia, have sent an open letter to Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The letter focuses on reassuring the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that the geological storage of CO2 with relevance to carbon capture and storage (CCS) is safe, secure and effective. It urges Figueres to consider this when UNFCCC Climate Talks (COP21) commence in Paris in December.

The letter indicates that the authors have a considerable amount of evidence to demonstrate the safety, security and effectiveness of the storage of carbon dioxide in appropriately selected sites over geological timescales with highly unlike leakage. It explains full-chain CCS, which combines CO2 capture, transport and storage technologies, is currently being demonstrated at an expanding amount of facilities.

Some evidence put forward in the letter to reiterate the argument includes:

  • Stored CO2 is securely contained by physical and chemical processes that increase storage security with time. Injected CO2, held within the storage site by multiple layers of impermeable rocks, is trapped in isolated pockets, dissolves in fluids in the rock and may eventually react with the rock to make new minerals.
  • CO2 injected into underground rocks can be monitored to confirm its containment. A variety of monitoring methods has been developed and demonstrated. In the very unlikely event of poor site selection, these techniques are able to identify unexpected CO2 migration before leakage to the surface can occur.
  • Leakage of CO2 from geological storage presents a very low risk to climate, environment and human health. Research results show that the impacts of any CO2 leakage on land or at the seabed will be localised and very unlikely to cause significant harm to ecosystems and communities. Should CO2 move towards the surface, interventions can be made to control, minimise and prevent leakage.

According to the letter, the security of properly selected and regulated storage sites presents no barrier to its further deployment and enables its important contribution to climate change mitigation.

Read the letter here.

Edited from press release by Harleigh Hobbs

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