The world is burning fossil fuels at an ever-increasing rate, resulting in increased release of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This results in an increase in the long-term globally averaged temperature. Consequently there is great interest in developing carbon capture and storage in geological repositories to help abate the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Zoback and Gorelick have just published a paper that a) emphasizes the vast amounts of carbon dioxide that need to be captured and stored, and b) analyzes in detail the likelihood that small-scale earthquakes may be induced at the injection sites because of the increased fluids introduced into the storage sites. Their concern is that even small to medium scale earthquakes may destroy the integrity of the sites, leading to significant leakage of carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. They conclude that extensive deployment of carbon storage involves considerable risk.
For more on this story, visit: Global warming blog by Henry Auer: Induced Earthquakes A Potential Hazard for Geological Storage of Carbon Dioxide.