Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Carbon sequestration policy must balance private property, public good, expert urges

Date:
October 11, 2011
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
The lack of a settled legal framework that balances private property rights while maximizing the public good ultimately hinders the large-scale commercial deployment of geologic carbon sequestration, according to research by an agricultural law expert.

The lack of a settled legal framework that balances private property rights while maximizing the public good ultimately hinders the large-scale commercial deployment of geologic carbon sequestration, according to published research by a University of Illinois expert in renewable energy law.

Related Articles


In order to justify the extensive up-front capital investment by firms, issues with the property rights of the subsurface pore space that would permanently house the captured carbon dioxide must be resolved first, says A. Bryan Endres, a professor of agricultural law at Illinois.

"You have a new technology that requires a lot of upfront capital investment, but you don't have a legal framework for how you're going to be able to implement this technology with regard to property rights," said Endres, who also is the director of the university's European Union Center. "What's unique about property rights is they're usually pretty well settled, and yet here we are dealing with a situation where ownership isn't quite so clear. That's a key question, because a firm isn't going to invest money in a carbon sequestration plant before they are confident about who owns the area underneath."

According to the study, published in the University of Illinois Law Review, ownership of the pore space at the depths necessary for permanent geologic carbon sequestration is still an open question in the vast majority of states.

"Right now, only Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota have assigned the property rights of the pore space to the surface property owner," Endres said. "While that might make good political sense, I don't think that makes good policy sense because it creates a patchwork of small land-holdings. With carbon sequestration, the geology is going to determine the limits, not some grid-based property system. This is why we need to have legislative involvement to clarify the situation."

Endres says sequestration operations implicate a unique set of property rights issues, one that's analogous to a plane flying over a house at 30,000 feet.

"Do you own the airspace above your house?" he said "Well, no, and the reason we know the answer to that question is that there was a court case that settled the issue. And that was one of the things that allowed the airline industry to develop, so that planes didn't have to weave around an easement, like railroads do. Similarly, picture a really deep hole that may start on your land but goes down 7,000 feet. Who owns that? One argument is that a property owner does not have a reasonable expectation of ever using the pore space at such extreme depths."

Like air transport, carbon sequestration should be thought of as a public good -- one that has the added potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and curb global climate change.

"It makes more sense to treat it as you would airspace for an airplane, in that it belongs to the state and they can decide who's going to access it," Endres said. "It would be a much more efficient system if the state had ownership of it."

Endres notes that there's also the potential for states to generate a significant amount of revenue from carbon sequestration, either through an auction or a royalty system.

Because of its unique geology, the Mount Simon formation, which makes up a large swath of the Illinois Basin that extends to parts of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky, is a potentially ideal site for carbon sequestration.

"It would behoove a state like Illinois to be a leader at settling these property rights issues, and not just for climate change purposes but also for job growth and revenue generation," Endres said. "It's a resource the state should take advantage of so that it can become a center of innovation for this new industry."

While this isn't necessarily the silver bullet to reverse carbon dioxide emissions, Endres says it's one of many ready-made and already available tools that could slow the growth rate of global climate change.

"This is a technology that will allow us to utilize natural resources like coal while also shrinking its carbon footprint," he said. "So it's important to get this framework in place so the industry can really take off, because now you just have a lot of speculation, experimental labs and pilot projects. This is something that needs to get developed sooner rather than later."

The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and the Energy Biosciences Institute. The institute is a collaboration involving the U. of I., the University of California at Berkeley, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and BP.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Carbon sequestration policy must balance private property, public good, expert urges." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111011101957.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2011, October 11). Carbon sequestration policy must balance private property, public good, expert urges. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111011101957.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Carbon sequestration policy must balance private property, public good, expert urges." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111011101957.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins