Common Tragedies

Thoughts on Environmental Economics

CO2: waste or resource?

Posted by Evan Herrnstadt on February 5, 2008

At the Congressional hearing on CCS I recently attended, Lawrence Bengal (Director of the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission) made an interesting point that CO2 disposal might not be best viewed as a waste management issue, as it is so often framed. Although we are dealing with the storage of an unwanted substance, there are only so many prime locations in which to stash it. Bengal pointed out that there will be competition for the best pore space and that we shouldn’t waste it. I imagine this has to do with parameters such as storage security, ease of access, and location relative to large coal facilities. If so, will prices properly reflect these differences in quality? Even if CO2 never becomes a viable commodity, should we be looking at the sequestration stage as a resource management problem?


2 Responses to “CO2: waste or resource?”

  1. Daniel Hall said

    Get that CO2-algae-biodiesel loop going!

  2. A resource management problem for sure…who owns the rights to sequester? Are they like mineral rights? There will be value in sequestration and thus to whom do the rents occur? And if so, who bears the risk associated with early release or worse? And finally, what about the intergenerational transfer of risk. Owners today gain rents but then transfer the risk to the next generation?

    Seems like there are more questions than answers with CCS, and the current focus on technical feasibility is just the tip of the proverbial subterranean cavern.

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