Curtin University of Technology Faculty of Media, Society and Culture

Department of Communication and Cultural Studies

Digging Deeper into Geosequestration
Directed to: The Minister of Resources and Energy Author and Credentials: Cheng Shae Nee Applied Geology, Year 1, Semester 2 Curtin University of Technology, Sarawak Campus Student ID: 7D6B4294 / 13869870 Date of Report: 21st April, 2008 Location: Curtin University of Technology, Miri, Sarawak

Cheng Shae Nee Communication Skills 116

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7D6B4294 / 13869870 Research Report

Curtin University of Technology Faculty of Media, Society and Culture
Department of Communication and Cultural Studies

Abstract

Cheng Shae Nee Communication Skills 116

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7D6B4294 / 13869870 Research Report

Curtin University of Technology Faculty of Media, Society and Culture
Department of Communication and Cultural Studies

Abstract
In recent years, mankind has managed to alter the atmospheric content, perform massive deforestation, decrease the pH of the ocean, and melt glaciers from the Arctic. There is a growing concern over the rising temperature of the earth, resulting in a global phenomenon called global warming, where the concentration of greenhouse gasses, dominantly carbon dioxide has increased to a worrying level. This report is to examine geosequestration as the most recent solution in combating global warming. Its purpose is to present the arguments between the supportive notions and opposing views surrounding geosequestration. The ideas and views used to construct this report are derived from a variety of sources that provide both positive and negative feedback regarding geosequestration, ranging from reports from environmental groups, newsletters from scientific bodies, journal articles from published magazines, interviews from multimedia sources, and articles from governmental departments. Since Malaysia has not yet adopted this new form of technology, majority of the sources used were taken from countries at the frontline of this project, the United States of America and Australia. The findings of this report pin points the various issues that are of relevance to the geosequestration debate. The arguments that are supportive of geosequestration includes the potency of the earth to store gasses, the economical and environmental benefits, a solution to the ‘peak oil crisis’, as well as a bridging gap between renewable energy breakthrough and fulfilling oil demands; while arguments that are against geosequestration are its possibility of leakage, limited storage space, liability, intergenerational equity, energy penalty, time constrain, increase in costs and its distraction from renewable energy. At the final end of the report, a clear cut verdict is not stated, but points out the remaining fact that polluters should take responsibility over their actions and increase efforts to curb global warming before it is too late. Recommendations were given with the assumption that the country has already made the decision to deploy geosequestration as a major project, which focuses on the steps to take in case of leakage, the legislation in relation to geosequestration as a national project, and a transitional module drawn up to move from fossil fuel to renewable energy. Cheng Shae Nee Communication Skills 116 III 7D6B4294 / 13869870 Research Report

Curtin University of Technology Faculty of Media, Society and Culture
Department of Communication and Cultural Studies

Table of Contents

Cheng Shae Nee Communication Skills 116

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7D6B4294 / 13869870 Research Report

Curtin University of Technology Faculty of Media, Society and Culture
Department of Communication and Cultural Studies

Report Outline
1.0 Introduction
1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Purpose Audience Background Scope Matters of discussion Report structure

Page No.

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2 2 2 3 3 3

2.0

Global warming and geosequestration
2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Definition of global warming Causes of global warming Growing interest for geosequestration Definition for geosequestration Storage sites for carbon dioxide Requisites and special conditions

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4 5 5 6 6 7

3.0

Arguments for geosequestration
3.1 Potency of the earth to secure gasses 3.1.1 Revolutionary discovery 3.1.2 Oil and gas fields – a proven fact Economical and environmental gain 3.2.1 Oil fields 3.2.2 Unmineable coal seams 3.2.3 Saline aquifers Answer to ‘peak oil crisis’ 3.3.1 Living in an oil built society 3.3.2 The ‘peak oil crisis’ 3.3.3 In search for a replacement to oil Renewable energy 3.4.1 Shortcomings of renewable energy 3.4.1.1 Solar energy 3.4.1.2 Wind energy 3.4.1.3 Hydro energy 3.4.1.4 Tidal energy 3.4.1.5 Geothermal energy 3.4.2 Fossil fuels as the backbone for renewable energy 3.4.3 Geosequestration as a ‘bridging gap’

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8 7 9 9 9 10 10 10 10 11 12 12 13 13 13 13 13 13 14 14

3.2

3.3

3.4

Cheng Shae Nee Communication Skills 116

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7D6B4294 / 13869870 Research Report

Curtin University of Technology Faculty of Media, Society and Culture
Department of Communication and Cultural Studies

4.0

Arguments against geosequestration
4.1 Potency for leakage 4.1.1 Negative experimental evidence 4.1.2 Leakage effects
4.1.2.1 Asphyxiation of beings 4.1.2.2 Increase of ocean acidity

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15 15 16
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4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6

4.7

Limitations of storage space Liability over leakage Intergeneration equity Inefficiency and time constrain Higher energy demand and increase of expenses 4.6.1 Costs for coal gasification 4.6.2 Costs for transportation 4.6.3 Costs for compression Distraction from renewable energy 4.7.1 Influence of mega oil industries 4.7.2 Drainage of funds from renewable energy technology
4.7.2.1 The United States 4.7.2.2 Australia

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5.0 6.0 7.0 8.0 9.0

Conclusion Recommendations Reference List Bibliography Glossary

23 24 25 27

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10.0 Attachments • References • Bibliographies

Cheng Shae Nee Communication Skills 116

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7D6B4294 / 13869870 Research Report

Curtin University of Technology Faculty of Media, Society and Culture
Department of Communication and Cultural Studies

List of Figures

Cheng Shae Nee Communication Skills 116

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7D6B4294 / 13869870 Research Report

Curtin University of Technology Faculty of Media, Society and Culture
Department of Communication and Cultural Studies

Figure 1:

Flood in southern Malaysia (In pictures: Floods hit Malaysia 2007)

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Figure 2:

Air condition in Kuala Lumpur, June 22 (Air quality worsening: DOE n.d.)

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Figure 3:

Global warming: Causes and effects (Global warming Facts n.d.)

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Figure 4:

How geosequestration works (FitzGerald 2006)

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Figure 5:

The Rocky Mountains of Colorado (Foitle 2005)

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Figure 6:

The generation and entrapment of natural gas and oil (What are fossil fuels? How do they

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form? n.d.)

Figure 7:

Graphical prediction of world oil production (Savinar 2003)

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Figure 8:

Photovoltaic programs for the National Centre for Photovoltaics (Renewable energy

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Technologies n.d.)

Figure 9:

The Lake Nyos disaster (Nelson 2004)

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Figure10: Carbon dioxide and the ocean’s pH (Blumenthal 2007)

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7D6B4294 / 13869870 Research Report

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