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View Diary: Climate change isn't AN issue, it's THE issue (214 comments)

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  •  Stern: Carbon capture ‘not a conspiracy against (0+ / 0-)


    'Clean coal' is not an oxymoron if it has carbon sequestration. There are 594 conventional coal fired central power stations in the US if the US replaced one station per week in 12 years (rate China is adding coal plants) we would reduce emissions by 25% (1.5 billion tons
    of CO2).
    We need a top down program of replacing coal fired power
    with CCS as soon as possible.
    Once the US adopts this technology(and not before) China and India will adopt it.

    •  stern has not embraced that myth (9+ / 0-)

      he does take the approach that we need to try all clean technologies, but his views are evolving, as he realizes that things are worse than he had anticipated.

      there is no such thing as "clean" coal. like natural gas, there are ways of making coal a less dirty fossil fuel, but there is no way to make it clean. and we don't have time for half-measures or an all-of-the-above approach. we need to end use of coal.

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

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:33:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right on! Can't waste time chasing silver (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laurence Lewis, Egalitare


        If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

        by John Crapper on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:48:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Asfar as I know Stern is still supporting coal CCS (0+ / 0-)

        If you end coal you must replace it with something in
        the next 25 years and please don't say nukes. Wind is 4% with a top end of 20%, solar is under 1%.
        I see a lot of posturing, sloganeering but few proposals.
        Surprise me!

        •  he never supported it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          he said he we needed to try anything. there is a difference. and that was before his even more ramped up sense of urgency.

          given the time, money, and environmental costs, we can't afford any more coal. solar and wind have been growing exponentially. imagine if they and conservation had the full backing of governments, with manhattan project urgency.

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

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun May 19, 2013 at 12:55:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  That old industry straw-man? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean

          Why exactly is it relevant to point out that solar is at 1%? That's more than CCS is currently providing.

          It doesn't matter where solar is now. What matters is how much and how quickly we can build more. The answer is that we can build it faster and for less money than it would take to implement CCS on a large scale.

          We already cut emissions dramatically by reducing consumption and switching nearly half of coal production to natural gas. We could shut down at least 1/3 of the dirtiest coal plants in America this year and no one would notice the difference. Part of the problem for renewables is that we have excess generating capacity from highly polluting coal plants generating power at low prices. Those aging don't need to be equipped with outrageously expensive CCS. They need to be shut down now to make room in the market for more wind and solar. That could be done through aggressive EPA enforcement without a price on carbon.

    •  491 existing coal plants. And the sequestration.. (9+ / 0-)

      ...part of CCS over the long haul is still being tested at the pilot scale. So a massive program of CCS right now is out of the question.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:46:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No. It isn't being supported cause it is expensive (0+ / 0-)

        not because the technology doesn't work. You put
        a $100 per ton tax on carbon and I guarrantee you will see
        a lot more happening.

        •  No? You're telling me that the technology... (5+ / 0-)

          ...has been fully tested and is ready for commercialization? That will be news to the National Energy Testing Lab, which is projecting 2020 as the first time an operating carbon storage system that can be scaled up will be ready for operation. I agree about carbon taxing, however, because that will spur OTHER developments which will vastly reduce the need for carbon storage.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Sun May 19, 2013 at 12:08:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Most initial CS will be initially thru EOR (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eric Nelson

            like Kemper pipelines to Louisiana and current Dakota Gasification
            pipelines to Canada, IMO and one reason for that is that oil recovery pays for itself(money again).
            I don't have a link to NETL stuff you are refering to.
            Are you saying CO2 EOR which has been going on for 20 years doesn't work?

            •  Of course, EOR works. In fact, where EOR... (3+ / 0-)

              ...has been used, it has sequestered about 25% more CO2 than is emitted when the oil it pressures out of the ground is burned.

              But even if every relevant oil formation in the U.S. used EOR, it would, experts like Kinder Morgan estimate, only absorb 4 percent of CO2 being released.

              With coal there is far more CO2 released per ton by burning it and no evidence that there are enough geologically useful formations to store it. Plus, leakage, plus the energy penalty (takes about 25%-40% more energy to store CO2 than when you don't. Sources vary widely on the cost of energy to the consumer of electricity where carbon storage is applied:  At the low end, the EIA projects 2018 levelized cost for a CCS-operated coal plant at about 60 percent more than for on-shore wind. And that is assuming all the issues can be worked out.

              Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

              by Meteor Blades on Sun May 19, 2013 at 01:19:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't price compare CCS to wind but to nuclear (0+ / 0-)

                As I remember the US government optimistically projected only 20% wind  electricity in 2030, 7 years before we exceed 450 ppm?

                A lot of nuclear plants are reaching the ends of their life spans(decommissioning cost?), should those be replaced with more nukes?


                Also according to DOE sequestration storage atlas there is storage for 248 billion tons of CO2 in oil and gas fields alone while the US produces 3.3 billion tons of CO2 from stationary sources. That doesn't include storage in unmineable coal seams, saline aquifers and even shales.


                If things are really as bad as predicted, I don't see how you can rule out CCS.

                •  No problem. (3+ / 0-)

                  Coal is under 40% of US energy production and falling
                  In the future 20% will be wind. Get solar to 15%. Another 5%-10% through reducing consumption and coal is done. No CCS required.

                  What CCS proponents often ignore is the astronomical cost of building a pipeline network criss-crossing the country from hundreds of coal plants to only a few reliable locations to store carbon. You could build far more wind and solar (or even nuclear) for far less than the billions it would take to build the pipeline network alone. You might as well flush $10 billion down the toilet.

      •  OTOH, I like sequestration (0+ / 0-)

        It adds 50% to the cost, which would incentivize just going to clean power.  And I don't really care if it lasts 1000 years or only 100, it buys enough time.

    •  The big bust with carbon sequestration is: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris, Deward Hastings

      Carbon capture and sequestration is hugely energy intensive.  And the production of this energy produces more CO2 (since the energy is produced by that power plant).  So the big question is: When you capture and sequester a pound of CO2, are you actually generating a net increase in overall CO2?  And unfortunately the answer to this is often YES.

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

      by bigtimecynic on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:01:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  CCS takes 25% more coal than pulverized coal (0+ / 0-)

        but it produces 10% of PV coal emissions. You must add
        in the price of pollution for a fair comparison.

      •  what i don't understand about carbon sequester (0+ / 0-)

        and maybe i'm hopelessly naive, but don't we are already have something that does that? forests? if carbon sequester was the answer, wouldn't all we need to do is stop deforestation and begin reforestation. seriously, isn't the device people are hoping to invent just a tree? not an expert on this stuff, but i seem to remember learning that in grade school science...

        "Today is who you are" - my wife

        by I Lurked For Years on Sun May 19, 2013 at 11:47:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Forests grow very slowly compared to fossil fuel (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean

          production. An acre of trees sequesters about 3 tons of
          CO2, which is the equivalent of burning 1.5 tons of coal,
          a 4 foot cube of coal.

          •  But they are SOLAR powered sequestration (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The people that think we can capture CO2 and use fossil fuel power to re-sequester that carbon need to take a thermodynamics refresher course.  

            Had deforestation not occurred hand in hand with increasing fossil fuel use, we might not be in the fix we are in now.  Had massive reforestation projects been initiated to reclaim the Sahara and the Great Australian desert, turn coastal deserts into mangrove forests, we might have been able to offset all the fossil fuels we took out of the ground.  

            But as you rightly point out, we've dug the fossil fuel hole so deep that we can't see any daylight at this point.  

            •  Joe Romm wants to co-fire coal plants with trees (0+ / 0-)

              to reduce the CO2 a tad.
              I like a lot of what Joe Romm has to say but that's silly.
              You actually could reduce CO2 levels(carbon negative) if you burnt only trees
              and then sequestered the CO2 underground.
              But you need hundreds of square miles of trees.

              •  Which we have (0+ / 0-)

                Hundreds of square miles of dead trees, courtesy of the pine bark beetle.  

                There could be a government program to cut down all these dead trees, convert them to biochar, and use it to amend soils.  That way, all that biomass would not turn into the next decade's CO2 emissions.  But that might require increasing the Forest Service's budget, not cutting it, so scratch that idea.


    •  Tell that to coal mining communities. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean, bartcopfan

      Tell it to the people whose water supplies are poisoned with heavy metals and carcinogens. Tell it to Appalachia, where mountaintop removal is America's most shameful environmental crime of the century. No, there's no such thing as clean coal.

      Coal carbon sequestration is the most expensive way of dealing with CO2 emissions. There's a reason no one in industry wants to invest private dollars in building new plants. There's a reason the few that have been built resulted in huge rate increases. It's a completely moronic non-solution. It makes no environmental or economic sense whatsoever.

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