Potential Sequestration Drawbacks

One study that appeared in ScienceDaily in July 2008 examined different methods of carbon sequestration in an attempt to determine the pros and cons to the environment using four different testing scenarios, which conserved different types of land and animal species. The study determined that conservation of species is usually maximized when the natural habitat is either restored or maintained. Carbon sequestration, however, is maximized when forest ecosystems are restored.

According to Andrew Plantinga, a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Oregon State University, "The main thing we found is that if you want to conserve species, that policy might not be compatible with carbon sequestration. On the other hand, if you want to get carbon out of the atmosphere, it's not clear that will be good for the species. The take-home message is this: when you think about policies targeted to private landowners, government has to be careful about how it does this because it may achieve one objective but at the expense of something else."

Another drawback is the cost associated with carbon sequestration. Costs depend on the method used. Sometimes, when declining oil fields are used to store carbon, the oil withdrawn from the field during the sequestration can offset the costs. Recovering the oil in this option, however, reduces the environmental benefit of storing the carbon because the carbon in the oil being withdrawn offsets the environmental benefits from storing the carbon.

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