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Sequestering CO2

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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: If you accept the idea of global warming, what's the next step? Well, one idea is finding a way to keep those greenhouse emissions out of the atmosphere. Well new research out today suggest injecting them into the surface of the planet. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, here's Sam Eaton.


SAM EATON: A lot of research has been done into whether injecting greenhouse gas emissions into the earth can slow the rate of global warming.

But CO2 tends to leak.

That is unless it's stored in deep sea sediments where cold temperatures and intense pressure change the gas's form. Kurt House is with Harvard University.

KURT HOUSE: Then the CO2 is in its liquid phase and it can actually be denser than the sea water that surrounds it so it will actually sink rather than rise. And this gives you a kind of extra assurance that the CO2 will be permanently stored rather than come back.

House says the US could potentially store all carbon emissions in these sediments. But at a price.

And that's what frustrates energy consultant Mark Trexler.

He says the US already has more affordable technology to reduce emissions that's going un-used.

MARK TREXLER: The problem right now is simply one that we haven't decided we want to do anything about this problem.

Trexler says until the US charges CO2 emitters, there will be little incentive to scale back.

I'm Sam Eaton for Marketplace.

About the author

Sam Eaton is an independent radio and television journalist. His reporting on complex environmental issues from climate change to population growth has taken him all over the United States and the world.

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