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Hope? Could storing CO2 in the ocean seabed help slow down climate change?

Experiments in the North Sea are showing that capturing and storing carbon dioxide below the seafloor can work without significant leaks or environmental damage

We now have the technology to capture CO2 emissions and bury them underground, to act as a bridge to a time when we can be fossil-fuel free. 

For the past few weeks, marine researchers from several European countries have been injecting CO2 into the seabed and watching how much and how fast it bubbles up through the sediments into the water. For sub-seafloor carbon capture and storage (CCS) to lock away carbon for decades or longer, scientists have to become confident that the reservoirs are secure, and that they can quickly and accurately detect any leaks. 

These results offer hope that CCS technology can help offset rising CO2 levels which in turn are responsible for global temperature rises and climate change.

This is not a solution for climate change, but a mitigation process until we change the way we live

Doug Connelly, UK National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton

In January, Norwegian officials approved a subsea carbon storage scheme to collect CO2 from power plants and cement factories on land, compress the gas into a liquid, then pipe it under the seafloor for storage. The $852 million project is expected to be running by 2024. Japan is also pushing forward with offshore carbon storage underneath the seafloor off Hokkaido island.

CCS will be needed to cut 14 percent of the emissions that have to be abated by 2060 to limit a global rise in average temperatures to less than 2 Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), the International Energy Agency says.

Countries signed on the dotted line and agreed to a 40 per cent CO2 reduction by 2030,[Then] they went back and said, ‘Holy crap, how are we going to do that?’

Julio Friedmann, Center for Global Energy Policy at Columbia University

Countries who have signed the 2015 Paris Agreement have been looking to CCS as a possible solution that would allow them to deliver on their pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

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