Although CO2 geological sequestration is the most popular carbon storage method promoted and pilot tested, the economic feasibility and technical risks for commercial scale sequestration projects are rarely mentioned. More significant is that, apart from rhetorical pronouncements, the would-be impact of the operation on climate change is not discussed. This work studies the technical risks, regulatory issues, and economic burden of CO2 geological sequestration on the U.S. by using the Kyoto Protocol emission requirement as the base line. The potential effect of burying all the extra CO2 regulated by Kyoto Protocol on global temperature change is also evaluated.

The lack of regulatory framework is blamed as one of the obstacles for slowing or stopping CO2 geological sequestration practice. However, any regulatory issues are intertwined and dominated by the physics of the injection process itself and its economic viability. This study analyzes the uncertainty and/or risks caused by CO2 geological sequestration in oil and gas reservoirs, saline aquifers, and coalbeds. The work shows that the potential technical and legal risks and financial costs for sequestering CO2 underground make it impossible to promulgate any regulatory framework without causing detrimental effects on economic development and energy utilization. It is estimated that CO2 sequestration in U.S. will cost over $1 trillion annually for CO2 geological sequestration by complying with the Kyoto Protocol. Even if the global temperature increase of 0.7 degrees Celsius over the past 100 years is solely caused by anthropogenic CO2 emission, the change on the global temperature by sequestering all the CO2 emitted exceeding the 95% of 1990 level will be negligible. The dynamic climate and weather patterns on Earth will make it impossible to be verified.

This work gives a realistic situation on the potential impacts of commercial scale CO2 sequestration projects on economics, environment, and the global climate change. The findings of this study can be used to evaluate the risks of the CO2 geological sequestration projects.

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