The risk of death from poisoning as a result of exposure to CO2 leaks from underground rocks is about one in 100 million, a new study has shown.
The study dismisses recently voiced fears that capturing CO2 from power stations and storing it deep underground carries a significant threat to human health.
Scientists from the University of Edinburgh studied historical data on deaths from CO2 poisoning in Italy and Sicily, where the gas seeps naturally from the ground because of volcanic activity.
They found that the number of recorded deaths was very low and say that engineered gas storage underground could be even safer, as it will be planned and monitored.
Storing CO2 gas underground prevents it from contributing to global warming. Such technologies will play an important role over the next 50 years, as a bridge to the development of clean energy, the report said.
"These Italian CO2 seeps are natural, are often neither sign-posted nor fenced off, and yet there have been remarkably few accidents," said Jennifer Roberts from the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, who undertook the work.