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  •  Well, today I lost more hope. (28+ / 0-)

    Methane hydrate is present below the ocean in HUGE quantities. And the New York Times reports today that Japan has developed a method for extracting this as natural gas.  If it becomes commercially viable it sounds like it will make the Alberta Tar Sands look like the minor leagues.

    It becoming more obvious every day that advances in technology are pushing the commercial tipping point for peak oil/gas farther into the future. I had always hoped that shortages would force us to implement greener energy sources. I am losing hope of that happening in any kind of helpful time frame.

    My advice: Buy a house on a hill and stock up on anti-malarial drugs.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 09:54:03 AM PDT

    •  Yeah learning about methane was the nail in (9+ / 0-)

      the coffin for me too.

      "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

      by Horace Boothroyd III on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 09:55:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Scooped me. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laurence Lewis, Cliss, Don midwest

      Your comment went up as I was drafting mine it appears. :)

    •  Methane hydrate is an energy source with (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yoshimi, Brooklyn Jim, Don midwest

      huge amounts of uncertainty, not only in terms of production but how it would be used. I wouldn't start panicking yet.

      Governments care only as much as their citizens force them to care. Nothing changes unless we change -- George Monbiot.

      by Nulwee on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 10:20:28 AM PDT

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      •  Methane power plants are already (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        terrypinder

        popular in Europe and there is no reason why we shouldn't capture methane from our waste (landfills, waste water, and animal waste) and use it for fuel.

        I think it can be a cleaner option than any of the other options we are pursuing.  

        •  Great distinction. (8+ / 0-)

          Methane capture (which is great and makes sense) involves capturing methane that has already been generated regardless, and burning it for energy.  If the methane were NOT captured, it would be released to the atmosphere, where it is even a worse greenhouse case than CO2. Converting it to CO2 via combustion actually results in a net decrease in greenhouse effect. This is a far cry from releasing NEW methane from the ocean floor just for combustion.  The latter results in a net increase in greenhouse gas (not to mention fugitive emissions).

          Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

          by bigtimecynic on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 11:22:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Energy source? It is a pollutant (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cliss

        It will boil out of the oceans as they warm.  There will be no capturing it

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 11:48:10 AM PDT

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      •  I stand corrected below (0+ / 0-)

        Still, the escaping methane is a major problem

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 11:52:44 AM PDT

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    •  Japan has to replace their shut down nuke reactors (6+ / 0-)

      And this is how they're doing it.  Japan's CO2 emissions are at record highs, they are burning record amounts of oil and natural gas.

      Either Japan turns the reactors back on, or their CO2 levels keep going up.  Don't give me any "Yeah, but solar...." crap.  This is reality, this is what is happening today and what will keep happening.

      Japan needs a massive amount of natural gas to replace 100 nuclear reactors, and they're going to get what they want.

      •  And we are (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Norm in Chicago, Cliss

        probably going to sell them the gas. At least gas has only half the power plant emissions of coal.

        Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

        by 6412093 on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 10:47:23 AM PDT

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      •  It appears they are coming back on (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PatriciaVa, squarewheel, Cliss

        Japan is fortunately moving  toward restarting them

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 11:50:42 AM PDT

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        •  well we've basically pushed ourselves into a corne (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marsanges, Cliss

          such that the damage due to a nuclear disaster might actually be less than the damage we'll incur due to CO2.

          big badda boom : GRB 090423

          by squarewheel on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 03:55:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  well (0+ / 0-)

            since the aparent damage even from Fukushima might result in more mortality from the stress and anxiety than from the actual radiation, and given the fact that we the massive damage from CO2 is proven, rather than the speculative damage from nuclear, then yes, the balance is that even a major disaster is less damaging.

            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

            by Mindful Nature on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 07:56:16 AM PDT

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      •  Methane burns off into CO2 and H2O mainly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cliss

        For every Methane burned you get one CO2 and 4 H20 Vapor.

        It is a lot better than gasoline which combusts to 8 CO2 and 9 H2O.

        "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

        by nightsweat on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 12:53:37 PM PDT

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        •  "Per methane" what? Molecule? Pound? (0+ / 0-)

          I just want to clarify this concept, if I may.

          You can't just estimate CO2 production based on the molecular stoichiometry the way you did because different fuels have different energy values.  Rather, the way to do it is by measuring the lbs CO2 created per BTU generated during combustion.  The approximate numbers for that are:

          Coal: 210
          Diesel: 160
          Gasoline: 150
          Natural Gas: 117

          So N.G. does produce significantly less than gasoline, but it's not as extreme as you suggest with your numbers.

          Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

          by bigtimecynic on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 10:08:23 AM PDT

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    •  This is why I thought fighting the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      srkp23, Cliss

      pipeline was tilting at windmills.  We need to make things more efficient and focus on demand and not worry about supply.  There will always be a dirty fuel out there as long as there is demand for energy.

      •  or (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        srkp23, orlbucfan, AoT, Don midwest, greenearth

        we could set an example. but the fact is that canada itself says it will be bottlenecked without the pipeline.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 10:46:07 AM PDT

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      •  asdf (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        srkp23, Cliss, Don midwest
        There will always be a dirty fuel out there as long as there is demand for energy
        But the cost of extraction (which increases for every unit of potential fuel recovered) will reach a tipping point in all cases.
      •  This is not an either or (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cliss

        We should target both

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 11:51:30 AM PDT

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        •  We could but we aren't (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cliss, Mindful Nature

          doing it effectively.

          •  Which would entail what exactly? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Don midwest, Cliss

            Because other than the stuff I'm doing, not eating animal protein and not driving, the only other options require the government to act, and I really don't see that happening any time soon given the GOP lock on the house. There is no broad based proactive way to reduce demand without government action. What we can do is limit supply and make the shit more expensive.

            •  Not to be tiresome, but I'll point to California (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT, Cliss, NoMoreLies, Kestrel228, denise b

              it's what I know.  First, California has about the third per capita carbon emissions of many other states.  this is NOT because we drive less.  ;)

              So.....

              states can enact energy efficiency standards for buidlings and appliances.  Also the DOE is authorized to create energy efficiency standards under various Energy Acts as well.  That means the President could ratchet those up so that you only have the option of buying efficienct appliances.  Buildings are under state building codes.  Of course, there's the fuel efficiency standards for cars, which Obama gets mad props for.  Also, California has recently enacted land use controls (effecitvely, but don't call them that or people get all funny) to reduce vehicle miles travelled (VMT).   If you want to get more exotic, regulatory agencies might be able to force mortgage origniators to include commuting costs in the mortgage calculations, making more remoe homes more expensive.

              I think the demand side really boils down a series of smart regulations at the state and federal levels can do a whole lot.  Did I mention that there's a THREE-FOLD difference between the most wasteful states and the most efficient Notice that framing in your letters to the editor, please.  the US could reduce it's national emissions by something like 12% just by adopting the California standards nationwide.  Did I also mention that that California economy is the one that is globally competitive on a basis other than low wages, anti-union laws?  

              In short, we can do a lot, if we decide to stop being ridiculously stupid at a national level.

              Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

              by Mindful Nature on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 03:09:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm in California too (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Cliss, Kestrel228

                And we do a great job. There's plenty we could do at a national level.

                In short, we can do a lot, if we decide to stop being ridiculously stupid at a national level.
                And this here is the real problem. You and I both know this isn't going to happen in the next four years. If we're lucky the GOP will lose the house in 2016, but that's pretty much best case scenario at this point. We may be looking at 2020 or, god forbid, beyond that. That means nothing is going to happen at the national level, which means we have to start attacking supply as well.

                Of course, now that Jerry Brown is intent on proving he's business friendly here in CA we'll see what standards get gutted. I'm not expecting it to be a lot to do with carbon emissions, but I'm still crossing my fingers.

                What California can and should do is dump money into building solar cell factories. Shit, even bicycle and bus factories. Out manufacturing has been virtually completely destroyed and we haven't done anything about it. Expanding the manufacturing base of solar will bring down costs, which would be great.

    •  How will this affect the conveyor belts? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cliss, AoT, Don midwest, freesia

      Those seeps are super cold, with sinks of super salinated heavy water at the bottom, with life living around them sort of like the Thermal Vents--think chemosynthesis as the main process for food extraction.

      If we get rid of those cold sinks, what happens--how does that affect the underwater weather that makes currents?

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