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NMSU climate change lecture series to explore carbon sequestration

Release Date: 21 Feb 2020
NMSU climate change lecture series to explore carbon sequestration

Carbon sequestration, also known as carbon capture and storage, has long been known as a promising, even necessary, tool to manage the amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gases pumped into Earth’s atmosphere.

In the next installment of the New Mexico State University Climate Change Education Seminar Series, Brian McPherson, a professor at the University of Utah, will present a talk titled “On the Competing Risks and Benefits of Geologic CO2 Sequestration,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 4 at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.

McPherson, also the science director of the Southwest Regional Partnership on Carbon Sequestration, will explore the pros and cons of geological carbon sequestration in the effort to confront this global crisis.

Carbon sequestration refers to processes that concentrate carbon dioxide, the most prevalent heat-trapping gas, and store it where it will not contribute to global warming. Carbon sequestration has potential to limit the atmospheric impacts of power and industrial plants that produce large volumes of CO2 waste. If paired with technology that can directly capture CO2 from the air, geologic carbon sequestration could also reduce the existing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.

McPherson will present a broad overview of the human-caused greenhouse gas problem and the methods that scientists and engineers are exploring to store carbon in subsurface rock layers. He plans to draw on the examples of four major projects, including one conducted in New Mexico, that are aimed at assessing the potential of this technology to slow climate change.

“We are not reducing carbon emissions quickly enough to avoid highly disruptive future effects of climate change, both nationally and globally,” said Reed Burgette, an assistant professor in geological sciences at NMSU.

“Engineering solutions such as geologic carbon sequestration has promise as part of a range of solutions to avoid catastrophic impacts. McPherson is a national leader in investigating the potential of geologic carbon sequestration, and he will bring a regional perspective about the prospect of applying it here in the Southwest U.S.”

McPherson’s talk is the seventh in this academic year’s NMSUCCESS series. The series’ goal is to shine a light on research and issues related to climate change for this region and the world.

The last talk in the series will be hosted by Leah Gerber, a professor at Arizona State University, at 7 p.m.Wednesday, April 22 at the Rio Grande Theatre. Gerber will speak on a specific measure to help maintain biodiversity and stave off species mass extinction. The talk will take place on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

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