UCS Position on Geologic Carbon Sequestration

Within the full portfolio of domestic and international approaches to manage carbon comprehensively, UCS views geologic carbon sequestration as one potentially viable option to achieve reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and atmospheric concentrations. In no way, however, should geologic carbon sequestration be seen as a "silver bullet" to reducing emissions, nor should it be researched and developed at the expense of other environmentally sound, technologically feasible, and economically affordable solutions to climate change. UCS views technologies and policies that prevent emissions to the atmosphere in the first place -- such as improving energy efficiency in power generation, transportation and buildings, developing renewable energy, and protecting threatened forests - as the safest and highest priority.

UCS supports appropriate research into all aspects of geologic sequestration, especially the following:

  • currently largely unexplored environmental consequences, including those associated with extending fossil fuel extraction

  • capacity for safe, long-term underground storage of carbon

  • characteristics of the currently much less well understood saline formations

  • pre-combustion carbon capture (decarbonization) technologies

  • the risks to public safety


Such research should determine the realistic scale of using this approach within the larger portfolio of carbon management options.

Originally posted July 7,2001  

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