Original Article

Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 569-599

First online:

Promising synergies to address water, sequestration, legal, and public acceptance issues associated with large-scale implementation of CO2 sequestration

  • Benjamin CourtAffiliated withDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University Email author 
  • , Thomas R. ElliotAffiliated withDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University
  • , Joseph DammelAffiliated withHumphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
  • , Thomas A. BuscheckAffiliated withLawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • , Jeremy RohmerAffiliated withBRGM
  • , Michael A. CeliaAffiliated withDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University

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Stabilization of CO2 atmospheric concentrations requires practical strategies to address the challenges posed by the continued use of coal for baseload-electricity production. Over the next two decades, CO2 capture and sequestration (CCS) demonstration projects would need to increase several orders of magnitude across the globe in both size and scale. This task has several potential barriers which will have to be accounted for. These barriers include those that have been known for a number of years including safety of subsurface sequestration, pore-space competition with emerging activities like shale gas production, legal and regulatory frameworks, and public acceptance and technical communication. In addition water management is a new challenge that should be actively and carefully considered across all CCS operations. A review of the new insights gained on these previously and newly identified challenges, since the IPCC special report on CCS, is presented in this paper. While somewhat daunting in scope, some of these challenges can be addressed more easily by recognizing the potential advantageous synergies that can be exploited when these challenges are dealt with in combination. For example, active management of water resources, including brine in deep subsurface formations, can provide the additional cooling-water required by the CO2 capture retrofitting process while simultaneously reducing sequestration leakage risk and furthering efforts toward public acceptance. This comprehensive assessment indicates that water, sequestration, legal, and public acceptance challenges ought to be researched individually, but must also be examined collectively to exploit the promising synergies identified herein. Exploitation of these synergies provides the best possibilities for successful large-scale implementation of CCS.


CO2 capture and sequestration Implementation barriers Synergies Legal and regulatory Public acceptance Water management Brine production Pressure management Pore space competition Area of review Risk mitigation