Senate panel shaken by claim earthquakes could unmake CCS plans

By Gabriel Nelson of E&E News (subscription): “Storing carbon dioxide in underground reservoirs may not be an effective way to curb climate change because it could trigger small earthquakes that let the gas escape, a Stanford University geophysicist warned a Senate committee today, shaking up a debate over a technology that many lawmakers see as key to the continued use of fossil fuels. The earthquakes probably would cause little damage, but the small-to-moderate tremors from carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects could be strong enough to shatter the seal of rock that prevents the CO2 from leaking upward, Mark Zoback, an earth sciences professor at Stanford, says in an article [PNAS paper] published yesterday.

"That’s one reason carbon storage is an "extremely expensive and risky strategy" to reduce carbon emissions, he told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee during a hearing that explored the link between energy projects and earthquakes…."

One reason "clean coal" in a climate context remains a pipe dream.