Wednesday, March 14, 2007

King Coal

Thought nuclear power-plants were earth unfriendly? Just wait till you consider coal. The MIT Technology Review says that "Reducing the impact of continued coal use on global warming will require a massive effort to collect carbon dioxide from power plants and bury it underground ... the volume of compressed carbon dioxide that will need to be captured and transported is similar in scale to the amount of oil consumed in the United States..."

The interesting thing about the Global Warming model is that it creates a direct linkage between politics, policy and the natural world. In this model, we manage the natural world by managing human activity. Environmental management is achieved by social engineering.

Unfortunately social engineering is neither easy nor cost free. Accepting the Global Warming model necessarily implies that people not only accept the social engineering of the world in principle (without which Global Warming cannot be fought) but also such probable outcomes as mandated energy budgets for individual countries and the world as a whole. But that is the least troublesome part of it. The deeper problem is that social engineering, if the experience of the planned economies of the 20th century can be used as reference, cannot be made to work reliably. Great Leaps Forward, returns to the Year Zero, Five Year Plans, etc all failed and failed miserably. What guarantee is there that efforts to cap output in developed countries, managing lifestyles and burying carbon dioxide on the scale of the oil industry won't have serious unintended consequences?


Blogger wretchard said...

The world can be more complicated than it seems, and so can societies be.

Australian scientists are baffled a massive whirlpool off Sydney, which has forced the sea surface to fall almost 1m and ocean currents to change course. "At its centre the sea level has dropped by 70cm, while the water 400m below the surface is 6C colder than normal at that depth." (

3/14/2007 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger reliapundit said...

we do NOT have to sequester it; we can use it to grow seaweed for ethanol:

(link broken into 2 lines to fit)

ALSO: man-made co2 is HARMLESS climatologically speaking.

3/14/2007 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

What if a few countries responsible for 50% of greenhouse gases and half the world's population got together on clean coal technology and economic development and the media followed Al Gore's rule not to talk about it?

3/14/2007 09:08:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Another way to use the co2 from coal plants is to grow algae in greenhouses. There are some interesting greenhousesavailable that will desalinise the water in the bargain.

3/14/2007 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Excellent link Charles.

3/14/2007 11:00:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

Global Warming is history.

It's over.

Over ,over.

It's a scam.

Global warming leads carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The increased temperature causes the increase in carbon dioxide. Not the other way around.

The sun is causing the rise in temperture. Didn't you watch that show on TV the other night?


3/15/2007 12:23:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

One of the interesting things about coal is that burning it releases naturally occuring Carbon 14 into the air.

Carbon 14 is radioactive.

So, as a result, coal fired plants release more radioactivity into the air than do nuclear power plants. There are no nuclear regulatory standards for coal fired plants, so this is no problem, at least from the bureaucratic standpoint.

In reality, if everyone will look around themselves even briefly they will realize a quiet little truth. North America and other developed lands constitute a net carbon sink, not a source. Virtually everything we stack around ourselves has some carbon in it - and were that not enough, we insist on planting trees and other vegetation all over the place. And we insist on putting out forest fires. There are more trees now in North America than there were in the 1700's.

At Cape Canaveral, if you want to build a new space facility of some kind and need to clear an acre of land to do so, the required environmental remediation is to knock down the trees on THREE MORE ACRES of land. Lightning sparked forest fires used to keep the place pretty well leveled, with only small scrubs able to grow. This is the environment in which the local wildlife came to live - they don't like big trees. But we meddling humans keep putting out the fires to proctect our rockets and radars and the trees grow big.

When may I expect compensation from the Third World for all this carbon I have stacked up around me?

3/15/2007 06:03:00 AM  
Blogger CDR Salamander said...

Europe is getting the idea...we are slowly getting back on track as well.


3/17/2007 03:05:00 AM  

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