And so on ad nauseam. The secession conventions and the commissioners grossly exaggerated the Republican threat to slavery in 1861. Lincoln had been elected on a platform of merely containing slavery’s future expansion. Republicans would not have a majority in Congress if the South stayed in the Union. But perhaps the commissioners deemed such exaggeration necessary to scare timid Southerners into support for disunion. That was surely true of their even more egregious distortion of the Republicans’ position on race. A Mississippi commissioner told Georgians that Republicans intended not only to abolish slavery but also to “substitute in its stead their new theory of the universal equality of the black and white races.” Unless white Southerners wanted “submission to negro equality… secession is inevitable.”
They worry more about smaller, chronic leaks that would defeat the purpose of the enterprise. Geophysicists Mark Zoback and Steven Gorelick of Stanford University argue that at sites where the rock is brittle and faulted—most sites, in their view—the injection of carbon dioxide might trigger small earthquakes that, even if otherwise harmless, might crack the overlying shale and allow CO₂ to leak. Zoback and Gorelick consider carbon storage “an extremely expensive and risky strategy.” But even they agree that carbon can be stored effectively at some sites—such as the Sleipner gas field in the North Sea, where for the past 17 years the Norwegian oil company Statoil has been injecting about a million tons of CO₂ a year into a brine-saturated sandstone layer half a mile below the seabed. That formation has so much room that all that CO₂ hasn’t increased its internal pressure, and there’s been no sign of quakes or leaks.