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STOP #11

Texas, TX — Burying Global Warming Deep in the Heart of Texas

August 24, 2005

It's a tired cliché that people like to stick their heads in the sand when a tough problem arises. But some smart folks in Texas are burying their problems - and it's productive!

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a major cause of global warming when floating in the atmosphere. Innovators in Texas figured out how the gas can be pumped, or injected, underground, where it can be harmlessly stored forever.

In Texas, oil fields are drying up faster than a puddle on a hot summer's day. But by pumping CO2 into the ground near oil deposits, more of that precious remaining oil can be pushed to the surface.

All in all, it's a pretty nifty solution. By using CO2, more oil can be brought up through existing wells, helping to limit the environmental damage caused by drilling for new oil reserves in unspoiled areas. Today, some 14 oil producers are using CO2 injection on 49 different oil fields in the West Texas Permian Basin, pushing an impressive 180,000 barrels of oil out of the ground each year.

But this is just a start—the Department of Energy estimates that there are 44 billion barrels of oil in the U.S. that could be recovered with CO2 injection. The problem is there won't be enough CO2 available for the job, unless power plants and factories start capturing their carbon dioxide pollution. A Catch 22 for the oil industry and the planet—but with oil at $60 a barrel, what are we waiting for!

Injecting CO2 under ground won't entirely solve the problem of global warming, but it's a creative start. It would help America buy less foreign oil, keep jobs in Texas and other oil producing states, and it could be the key to reducing global warming pollution from large factories and electric power plants.