Monday, April 20, 2009

India

In the Washington Post April 13th, Rama Lakshmi reports that “ Scientists at India's National Geophysical Research Institute released preliminary findings from ongoing government-funded research that seeks to inject carbon dioxide into the basalt rock formation called the Deccan Traps, which is about 60 million years old. S. Nirmal Charan, a senior scientist at the institute, said researchers wanted to determine whether carbon dioxide can be trapped for tens of thousands of years within the basalt. He said more simulated laboratory tests are underway, but initial results show the process to be "environmentally benign."” This is significant for a couple of reasons. The first is that the research is (so far) positive. The second is that the research is being done at all. India’s public position to date has been one of passive skepticism about carbon sequestration. “Let the Developed World prove it is safe first” has been the mantra. That is a position that carries the likelihood for long term procrastination. For even if carbon sequestration is researched outside India first, who knows if it will conform to the standard of certainty that might be set – let alone a demand for the research to then and only then be replicated “at home”. Doing it oneself has a way of changing the frame. In doing so, it allows for a debate first about what would constituent success and it allows that test to be done where it counts – locally. India has too much coal and too much need for energy to not do this research.

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