Geological carbon sequestration can lower the cost of greenhouse gas reductions and faces no significant technical hurdles, a leading scientist told the California Air Resources Board. \u201cEverything we know about carbon sequestration today suggests it will be a successful technology,\u201d said S. Julio Friedman, carbon management program leader at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory January 30. Moreover, carbon can be captured and sequestered from existing power plants and other types of industrial facilities largely with \u201coff the shelf technology.\u201d Friedman said geological carbon sequestration--which already is being used in limited instances--could eliminate between 15 and 20 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions needed to stabilize Earth\u2019s climate, while enabling continued burning of coal. In so doing, the technology can lower the cost of addressing climate change, particularly in the Western United States. Consequently, Friedman said, many Western governors have been enthusiastic about promoting carbon sequestration so that power generators can continue to send \u201ccoal by wire\u201d to California from \u201ccoal\u201d states like Utah. To prepare for carbon capture and sequestration at coal plants, he said, many Western states are moving to establish programs and put legal frameworks in place. States taking action include New Mexico, Montana, Colorado, and Wyoming. The Western Climate Initiative also could help by establishing a regional carbon trading market. That market would put a value on carbon emissions reductions, which could channel money for installing capture and sequestration systems. The growing interest comes at a time when there are several emerging technologies, including membranes, that promise to lower the cost of carbon capture and sequestration by as much as 50 to 80 percent. California has a 300 gigaton underground storage capacity for carbon dioxide, which is 10,000 times more than the annual emissions of the gas from industrial point sources, said Friedman. Key target applications for capture and sequestration technology include natural gas-fired power plants, cement making plants, oil refineries, and ethanol making plants, which emit a pure stream of carbon dioxide, he noted. The key obstacles to deploying carbon capture and sequestration systems are not technical, he said. They are related to developing improved capacity assessment methods for underground storage in specific locations, operational protocols for the systems, and regulations that outline a permitting process. One thing regulations would deal with, for instance, is the characteristics of the geological formations targeted for carbon sequestration. That is because leaks would have to be prevented, as would contact between carbon dioxide and sources of drinking water. Friedman noted that chemical reactions could occur underground that would create volatile organic compounds and release metals from rocks that could contaminate drinking water. Another existing hurdle for the technology is a lack of trained people to build and operate carbon capture and sequestration systems. The good news is that all of these problems are surmountable, Friedman concluded.