Public Policy Focus - The status of carbon capture and sequestration.
In 1972, the first commercial carbon dioxide (CO2) flood project in the world began with the injection of CO2 into the Scurry Area Canyon Reef Operators Committee (SACROC) unit in the Permian Basin in Scurry County, Texas. The goal was simple: To arrest declining oil production and recover bypassed reserves. Today, nearly 40 years later, CO2 injection is being considered on a much wider scale, and for a different purpose altogether: To help arrest an increase in the average surface temperature of the planet.
CO2, among other gases such as methane and nitrous oxide, is a “greenhouse gas,” a gas that traps heat in the Earth’s atmosphere by absorbing and emitting radiation within the thermal infrared range, causing a greenhouselike warming effect. The presence of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere is vital, for without them, Earth’s surface would be on average about 59°F colder than at present. CO2 is also a key ingredient that nourishes plant life through photosynthesis.