Carbon capture storage is still to gain public approval

Lucy Calderon
Freelance journalist from Guatemala, SciDev.Net

I turned into 10-year-old child in a group exercise-cum-role play session at ESOF on sustainable energies, except that my group of 10-year-olds was supposed to advise the president of our country about underground carbon capture and storage. I am not sure whether 10-year-olds worry too much about geological carbon storage or advise presidents, but anyway it was  fun.

This entertaining session at ESOF attempted to prod the participants into analysing their knowledge of, and concerns over, the impact of sustainable energy technologies.

Carbon capture storage is still a debated topic Photo credit: Lucy Calderon

And it was the idea of  ‘C02GeoNet’, a European network of excellence engaged in providing scientific information about the safety and efficiency of underground storage of carbon.

‘Carbon capture storage’ (CCS) is a contentious proposal that is suggested as one remedy to tackle global warming.

CCS involves capturing carbon dioxide at coal- or gas-fired power stations and industrial units, transporting it by pipeline or ship to a storage site, and injecting it via a circular and small diameter hole made by drilling underground for long-term storage. The promoters of the technology say it could reduce carbon dioxide levels in the air by 33 per cent by 2050.

Sounds an easy and quick-fix for global warming?  The obvious reason for public’s wariness is: who would like to store carbon, pipelines and all,  in your backyard?

After watching a video on CCS,  the session’s moderator divided participants into five groups and invited them to discuss their ideas and write queries. A representative of each group then advised the ‘president’.

My group (a bunch of creative children who love rockets) asked why the gas could not be sent into the space. The environmental organisations group raised awareness about the importance of avoiding pollution instead of storing it. Other groups expressed their concerns about their children’s safety.

What would you say if you were a researcher, an official from the ministry of environment, a journalist or even the president?

This blog post is part of our ESOF 2012 blog which takes place 11-15 July, 2012. To read news and analysis on themes related to the conference please visit our website.

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