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Evaluating the options for carbon sequestration
Two potentially important approaches to society's response to climate change are the taking up of carbon by newly planted forests and their soils, and the disposal of carbon dioxide from flue gases generated during combustion in power stations. However, there remain major questions about the economic viability of these approaches, their effectiveness at removing carbon from the atmosphere in the long term, and their social and political acceptability. Dr Simon Shackley, from UMIST and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, is evaluating these carbon-reduction options, generally referred to as carbon sequestration processes. He and a team of researchers are assessing carbon sequestration processes against several criteria, such as economic, environmental, political, social, legal and technical factors. They are seeking the views of key stakeholders, including industry, government, environmental groups and the public. A key aspect of the multi-criteria assessment is to develop a method to allow examination of uncertainty in factors such as technical feasibility, and to allow factors that are difficult to quantify, such as social acceptability, to be assessed alongside engineering and economic evaluations. Collecting and compressing carbon dioxide from power plant exhausts, and then burying it in old oil wells at sea, is a technically-feasible way of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere. But is it economically viable on a large scale, and will the public accept a method that allows continued high rates of fossil fuel use as an environmentally sustainable response to climate change? Dr Shackley's project aims to answer these and other questions about carbon sequestration. The project's findings will assist decision-makers in industry, government and non-government organisations to consider choices for responding to the challenge of climate change. The information will also help the wider community consider the conditions of such climate change solutions.

A Tyndall project is examining the effectiveness, economic viability and social acceptability of options for storing carbon dioxide underground, in the ocean and in forests. © David Fierstein More information Contact the lead investigator of Project IT1.22 (Carbon sequestration: a pilot stage multi-criteria evaluation of biological and physio-chemical approaches): Dr Simon Shackley Tyndall Centre (North), Manchester School of Management UMIST, PO Box 88, Manchester, M60 1QD Phone: +44 (0)161 200 8781 Fax.: +44 (0)161 200 3505 email: Other researchers involved in this project are: Clair Gough, Tyndall Centre (North) and Manchester School of Management, UMIST Prof Melvin Cannell and Dr Ronnie Milne, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Edinburgh Prof John Shepherd, Tyndall Centre (South), Southampton Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton Project duration: April 2001 to June 2002

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Useful web sites: The Tyndall Centre: Manchester School of Management: IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme:

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