Environmental issues and the geological storage of CO₂

The British Geological Survey and Quintessa have recently published a position paper highlighting environmental issues associated with the geological storage of CO2.

The background to this is that increasing CO2 emissions will lead to climate change and ocean acidification with severe consequences for ecosystems and for human society. Strategies are being sought to reduce emissions including the geological storage of CO2.

Existing studies operate within existing oil and gas regulatory frameworks, but if other non-oil reservoir geological formations are used these existing regulations may not apply. At UK and European levels the potential environmental impacts of uncontrolled CO2 releases from storage sites have been highlighted to be of significance for regulators. Thus a new regulatory framework may be needed.

The precautionary principle is likely to be adopted by regulators, so it is important that the effects of acute and chronic exposures of ecosystems to CO2 leakages are evaluated. Consequently, existing regulations are likely to be developed to include specific recommendations concerning leakages. This review shows that many basic data simply do not exist to assist regulators in this process.

Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.