Major news in the world of carbon capture and storage.

For years, scientists and others concerned about climate change have been talking about the need for carbon capture and sequestration.

That is the term for removing carbon dioxide from, say, a coal-burning power plant’s smokestack and pumping it deep underground to keep it out of the atmosphere, where it would otherwise contribute to global warming…

Among the concerns about sequestration is that carbon dioxide in gaseous or liquid form that is pumped underground might escape back to the atmosphere. So storage sites would have to be monitored, potentially for decades or centuries.

But scientists at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University and other institutions have come up with a different way to store CO2 that might eliminate that problem. Their approach involves dissolving the gas with water and pumping the resulting mixture – soda water, essentially – down into certain kinds of rocks, where the CO2 reacts with the rock to form a mineral called calcite. By turning the gas into stone, scientists can lock it away permanently.