Carbon capture and carbon sequestration are often heralded as the key to "clean energy." If you can just take the carbon emitted from producing energy - from coal fired plants or from, he he, the Tar Sands, problem solved, right?
It's not as though you point to a hole in the ground and the carbon jumps at the chance to bury itself safely in some deep cavern. No, there's an elaborate process involved. First you have to capture the carbon emissions. Then you have to find a means to compress and transport them. Finally you have to either find or create a place big enough and safe enough to store the stuff, under pressure, and make sure it doesn't leak back to the surface (it's poisonous, really deadly) in perpetuity.
Now we hear a lot of talk about carbon sequestration but we've heard a lot of talk about a manned mission to Mars too. Both are theoretically feasible but neither has been proven to be possible, much less viable.
Viable. Now there's a word that deserves some attention. Viable as in effective. Viable as in affordable. Viable as in politically and socially acceptable.
A while back the Toronto Star used the Freedom of Information Act to get its hands on an Environment Canada report that found sequestration used an awful lot of energy and produced about the same amount of carbon emissions as the carbon emissions it sequestered.
So, we're supposed to pay big bucks and expose folks living nearby to lethal risks on a process that creates as much carbon as it purports to capture? Wait, I know. All we need to do is to set up a second carbon capture operation to capture the carbon emissions of our first carbon capture operation. Then again, maybe that's not such a great idea after all.
So it seems that sequestration is essentially carbon neutral but it produces all manner of other contaminants, uses an awful lot of fossil fuel, wastes a lot of resources and exposes anyone in the vicinity to lethal risks.