Skip to main content

I was so excited this morning when I got up. Yesterday, I thought I saw a light. Some may remember a not very happy post I did a while back called, Time to Tell the Truth About Global Warming. In it I explain how global warming is so much worse than most people realize because once CO2 gets into the atmosphere, it stays there, to varying degrees, for centuries at least. And I explained how even if we stopped the engine of the world tomorrow, and reduced CO2 emissions to exactly zero, it would not avert the climate catastrophe that has begun, and will continue to get much much worse over the next 40 years and beyond.

This is incredibly important because it means that the only way we can really avoid the climate catastrophe is to not only cut emissions, but to remove the CO2 we've already put into the atmosphere.

The reason I was so excited is because I now believe that that technology is both available, and feasible to actually do just that - remove the billions of tons of CO2 that is threatening our very survival. The reason why we're all going to die is because the people who run the world, and most importantly, our primary form of communication, television, are too stupid, greedy and corrupt to allow it to happen.

The only thing I'm going to say about Reverend Wright is this: Who gives a fuck.

If you combine a few of the most respected and prominent reports--many of which are ridiculously conservative and already obsolete in their optimism--what we are looking at over the next 50 or 70 years is apocalyptic - large continental areas turning to desert, billions forced to migrate seeking water and food, mass extinctions of species, disease and famine. Then the real fun begins as nations compete for diminishing water, food and energy, resulting in massive geopolitical instability and eventually war. It won't all happen at once. It will play out over decades and, in fact, it's already started. If I believed in such things I might be thinking, Cue horseman 1, horsemen 2-4 standby.

But about a year ago I heard about this guy who built a machine that could literally suck CO2 right from the air. His name is Klaus Lackner, a physicist at Columbia University. I didn't take Professor Lackner's machine too seriously at the time because his prototype is really small - it only captures about ten pounds a day.

But last night I saw an article in the LA Times about Lackner's little machine and they had some numbers: "sucking up the current stream of emissions would require about 67 million boxcar-sized filters at a cost of trillions of dollars a year."

Now, if you are like me, you're probably thinking, SIXTY SEVEN MILLION? Trillions of dollars a year? We're all going to die.

But I had a different take yesterday. Why? Because I had coincidentally been reading about how many automobiles are manufactured every year worldwide. And guess what, it's almost the same. In 2005, Earthlings manufactured 65,318,744 cars, trucks, and buses. If I believed in such things, I might think this coincidence was divinely provident.

We make every year about the same number of autos as we would have to make of Dr. Lackner's machines once, over say, ten years. That's actually doable. The other catch though is Dr. Lackner's CO2 removers are quite a bit more expensive than a Toyota Corolla.

According to the LA Times article:

Lackner calculated that sucking up all 28 billion tons of CO2 released worldwide each year would require spreading out his machines over a land area the size of Arizona.

That seems like a reasonable sacrifice to save civilization, until you consider the expense.

Experts estimate that it would cost up to $200 a ton to filter and store carbon dioxide from the air. That means the yearly vacuuming bill could reach $5.6 trillion.

Yes, by all means, let's save civilization. Unless it's going to be really expensive. Then let's just all die. It's cheaper.

Granted, 5.6 trillion a year is really expensive. That's almost 7 times our annual defense budget. But since this is a world issue, we should probably use a world scale. The CIA has the annual Gross World Product (GWP) at around 65 trillion. So while it ain't cheap, we can afford it.

Now, a quick reality check.

As you may have noticed though, even with all 67 million machines, we would only offset our current annual emissions. What about all that CO2 that's already up there. That's where reductions in emission comes in. It would only be through a combination of  some serious emission reductions and CO2 removal that we could start seeing a reversal. But with out a device like Dr. Lackner's machine, there will not be a solution to the climate catastrophe. Catastrophe will happen, even if we reduced emissions to zero.

There are, of course, other complications to implementing this technology. These devices require a lot of energy to work. And unless they are equipped with some kind of clean energy supply, they will just cancel themselves out. Again, from the LA Times:

The orchards of filters would have to be powered by complexes of new nuclear plants, dams, solar farms or other clean-energy sources to avoid adding more pollution to the atmosphere.

Notice the word "or". It's a small word wrapped around big words like nuclear and plants. I haven't found the specifics on how much energy these things require, but there's no reason to get the Nuclear Lobby all excited. There are ways to power these things without injecting uranium into the equation.

The bottom line

Dr. Lackner's machine is a prototype. It works, but there can be no doubt the technology will improve dramatically, making them more efficient, and reducing costs. Other brands will come on the market. Competition will ensue. But we need to start building these things immediately. If something better comes along, we'll switch to it. Lackner's little startup company, Global Research Technologies, LLC needs to be bankrolled like they invented the fountain of youth.

And more than anything, especially as it applies here in the netroots, people need to be informed that the climate change we are experiencing now is not just the result of CO2 that was put into the atmosphere this year, or the last, but 100 years ago. CO2 stays in the atmosphere for hundreds, even thousands of years.

Cutting emissions will not save us. We MUST remove the CO2 that's already there AND cut emissions. CO2 vacuum farms like Dr. Lackner envisions are our lifeline. This is a global problem that requires a massive global solution. That is hard enough.

But this problem also requires something else, something that may be even harder. Harder because, in spite of the challenges that we face in trying to develop and implement CO2 sequestration technology on a global scale, I sincerely believe that our time is optimum for taking on this kind of challenge. People can do incredible things, and we actually have the technological and communication infrastructure to pull it off - something we didn't have 50 years ago.

But our biggest challenge is not the task. It is installing leaders who can actually call us to action. The United States has allowed itself to become subjugated to a small, corrupt, and frankly, stupid cabal of individuals. The "global elite" and their fawns in the media. We are witnessing it daily in the coverage of news and the election of 2008. We witness it in the response by the barons of industry who not only fail to act, but actually deliberately prevent us from acting, with their lobbying and PR campaigns to deceive the public about global warming.

The fight to retake our media, our democracy, and our country is no longer just about progress. It is about survival. We simply cannot afford to continue allowing the frivolous, the inane, the self-interested to manipulate our national conversation and our democracy. "Not this time" is not just about getting a good guy elected for a change. It is about our very survival.

Television is the most powerful political tool ever invented. And we have handed it over to people who use it for their own gain, at the expense of the public. They have lied about, distorted and filtered the information essential to a functioning democracy - all in the interests of protecting their interests. Quite simply, they have used our publicly owned airwaves against us. The responsibility to the Common Good for the use of those airwaves was the deal we made. They have abused it.

After watching yet another American election packed into banality by the corporate media, I am convinced more than ever that if we don't retake the national conversation, through the democratic instruments of power, namely our government and the FCC, our nation and our world will see only darkness to come. We will never solve the problems we face. And we, or our children, may very well perish for it.

Originally posted to TocqueDeville on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 10:25 PM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Preach. And never stop. (22+ / 0-)

    You are right, it's already started, and yet people are just assuming that somehow, someone is going to fix it.  Al Gore will fix it, after he fixes our primary.

    •  Good diary, however.... (14+ / 0-)

      Lackner's machine is not the only and probably is not even the best way  to get rid of excess CO2.

      Linky.

      •  Come to think of it... (2+ / 0-)

        it might even be more feasible to directly control the insolation, should things start getting too hot. One way would be to make orbital particle clouds...

        •  Re Geoengineering ... (5+ / 0-)

          You might be interested in Geoengineering: Some Basic Principles.  To me, there are many win-win-win approaches prior to taking on 'orbital particle clouds' and such.

        •  Fooling with Mother Nature (12+ / 0-)

          is exceptionally dangerous.  Massive projects to re-engineer our incredibly complex AND BALANCED ecosystem is almost guaranteed to result in unintended consequences.  By far the safer and better approach is to remove the excessive CO2, which we've introduced, directly and simply, as the good professor's prototype device will do.

          Given that it's an early prototype, I fully expect that much greater efficiencies and much lower costs will be realized if we, as a society, get serious.  As for sacrificing a state, it's unnecessary.  To be efficient and effective, such devices would need to be built all over the world.  There is no reason that farms of CO2 scrubbers couldn't be built on relatively unused land in every country, by every country.  Each one could be powered by wind and solar energy and they should be running for decades at relatively low maintenance costs.  The product, carbon can be a valuable resource, especially given that carbon nano-tubes are a possible breakthrough technology in battery technology and in manufacturing all kinds of new, nano-tech products.

          This is good news and the only safe approach to undoing the damage we've created in our ignorance.  I have little doubt that the cost will not be as prohibitive as predicted.  In any case, it's certainly cheaper the doing nothing.

          •  Um .... (2+ / 0-)

            So you don't want to mess with our balanced ecosystem and the answer is to use artificial means to fix man-made problems because it's the most safe solution.

            'scuse my plants, I'll immediately kill them to avoid the global disaster they are creating.

            When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

            by koNko on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 05:04:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The machine didnt look that big (0+ / 0-)

            have the govt subsidize some of the cost and put one on every new house built, then they are spread out, you don't have to worry too much about localization problems and you in essence tax "out of control" building.  People would have an economic incentive to rehab existing structures which would save some CO2 also.

            This is of course, simplified, because energy costs couldn't be required of the homeowners probably, but it could be made workable.

            •  But only in areas. . . (0+ / 0-)

              . . . that aren't powered by coal plants.

              If I had one of these things, it'd be cool, since 90%+ of our power comes from hydro. But if you had it on somebody's house out East, it might be a net negative.

              I think this is only one part of a larger solution set. And the best place for these might be in desert areas, where solar is readily-available. It'd be interesting to see the footprint and cost of a unit that combines the necessary solar-power generation with the CO2 scrubber.

              What would Gandhi do? "The cause of liberty becomes a mockery if the price to be paid is the wholesale destruction of those who are to enjoy liberty."

              by Robespierrette on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 06:47:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Finding new sources of energy here on the East (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                koNko

                Coast is another piece of the puzzle.  Cobbling together energy from several sources to reduce the dependence on any one is a start.  You could partially power it with solar.  I think that every new house should have at least one solar panel on the roof, it doesn't solve every problem in one fell swoop, but it does reduce the magnitude.  If you could take away the equivalent of one light bulb per house in America, you've saved a bunch.

                I think On Demand Water Heating systems should be code now too.

            •  but that means that new sorbent has to shipped (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              koNko

              to everyone's house and then shipped back when it's full to have the CO2 stripped and stored...

          •  The ecosytem is more of a balancing act (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            side pocket, koNko, BYw

            that drives evolution. Short of great global catastrophes such as a huge asteroid collision, the imbalances have mostly occurred over geologically long time scales, an example being the long-period orbital variations of the Earth that are believed to have helped trigger the recurring Ice Ages in the relatively "recent" past.

            The massive human population explosion has thrown the ecosystem out of balance on such a brief timescale that evolutionary processes can no longer compensate to avoid mass extinction. This has lead to what the famous paleontologist Richard Leakey termed "The Sixth Extinction", the sixth of a series of great reductions in biodiversity that have been identified in the history of life on the Earth. While the first five extinctions were triggered by natural causes, it is the existence of humankind, and more specifically the carelessness and ignorance of humankind, that has triggered this latest great catastrophe.

            The Sixth Extinction was the title of a book written by Ricard Leakey, published in 1995. Highly ecommended reading for those who may have missed it.

            The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. -FZ

            by lightfoot on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 06:30:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  But nature is highly addaptable and resiliant (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              side pocket, bfitzinAR

              On a local scale.

              And these become the "bricks" to build global solutions.

              There is no single solution, nstural or synthetic that can restore the natural balance (or shall we say the naturally dynamic balance) that has been upset in the past 150 years.

              However, we can see that improving the natural environment in local areas can improve them in relatively short periods and the cumulative effect of this can result in a reversal of trends.

              Two examples:

              Intensive planting in local areas near or in urban areas can lower average surface temperatures and measurably improve air quality; subtracting sources, we compund the effect. Instead of armies CO2 converters, municipal mass transit, greening of urban areas and restoration of forest or agricultural habitat can be accomplished on a time-scale of 10-20 years with a more productive return and provides immediate benifits as it progresses and leaves money to correct root problems like energy generation, transporation, etc.

              Severly polluted lands can be restored to sustainable habiat on a time scale of 5-210 years using the right techniques, which increasingly employ biological species to digest pollutants.

              In contrast, if we apply an expensive technological soliution to simulate natural processes we simply apply a bandaid without medicine. Can we afford ALL of the technologies available to solve these problems? Or do we need to choose wisely by selecting those withc address root cause problems while using less expensive and renuable natural solutions?

              Changing building codes and municipal planning to require higher efficiency systems reducing consuption or canging to clean generation while using nature to repair itself may be a more viable solution.

              Something to think about.

              When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

              by koNko on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 07:42:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  A nice big elm tree takes more CO2 out than one (8+ / 0-)

        of those machines.  Besides, what about the CO2 involved in manufacture?  None for elms.

        Reforest the temperate zones.  Problem solved - well, a big part of it.

        •  Not even close (12+ / 0-)

          Reforesting the entire planet wouldn't do it. And also, trees take a long time to mature. As much a 100 years for an elm. We don't have 100 years.

          But we should still reforest the planet. Every bit helps.

          •  Trees offset as they grow. No waiting (6+ / 0-)

            No emissions during manufacturing.  No emissions during transportation.  Very low cost to make a tree - way less than that machine.

            Carbon offset is a real alternative.  Think about it.  

            •  Al Gore and Virgin Airline dude have a contest (12+ / 0-)

              $30 million bucks to whoever develops an efficient way to sequester CO2 from the atmosphere. I was thinking we should give it to Lackner for his prototype. But now I realize we should give it to you. Plant trees. Who knew? :P

              •  each vehicle has its own scrubber? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                koNko

                and the additional power to run it is payed by the user in the extra gas to power the scrubber (as an emission credit? - no scrubber, buy them as a tax) worked for lead - catalytic convertors. Obviously if it was that simple someone would have thought of it already, but even if it cut the mileage in half to power the scrubber at least it's offset.  

                •  Questions (0+ / 0-)

                  How large and heavy is a generator of sufficient capacity to scrub the CO2 generated by the car?

                  How much aditional power will be required to run it?

                  How much aditional power will be required to transport the weight of it plus the additional fuel to power it?

                  How much will the additional fuel cost (and keep in mind you only pay $0.18 per gallon in fuel ax verses $3.xx in basic fuel)?

                  Where is all tht additional fuel required going to come from?

                  I can't really answer your question but I suppose these things are big and heavy and not designed to be on-board systems.

                  Catalytic converters work by initiating a self-sustaining chemical reaction by using Pd to catalyze the conversion process. These extraction converters use electrolytic energy to sustain the reaction and store the extracted carbon.

                  When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

                  by koNko on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 08:22:02 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Roof top gardens in cities, expanding parks (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tracker, koNko, sweeper, bfitzinAR

            and greenbelts. Every citizen should plant at least one tree and there are plenty of fast growing trees, it doesn't take 100 years. Farmers should be encouraged to replant shelter belts and acreage in soil bank should in some cases be replanted in trees permanently. We also need to stop burning wood for heat. I have thought for a while on demand hydrogen would be the perfect replacement for heating oil and gas.

          •  How many acres of plants (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bfitzinAR, Sedi

            Can be planted for the cost of one reactor, and what additional benifits can be realized that cannot with one reactor?

            Please, serious answer.

            With all due respect to your good intentions, our faith in technological silver bullets at the negelect of nature is illogical and insane.

            I'm involved professionally in the development of power conservation technology and well versed in gas-gas conversion reactors/generators, and as much as I support the use of such technology where it makes sense, you seriously underestimate the difficulty and cost of taking such an approach and the merit/efficiency/importiance of Mother Nature.

            Investing huge amounts of money in technological solutions to reverse the effects of the degradation of nature by simulating natural processes as an end in itself is not terribly sensible.

            What makes more sense is immediately working on the repair of degradation of the ecosystem, power conservation and clean power generation.

            If I may, allow me to reframe the picture by defining the problem as more than CO2 levels:

            Increasing CO2
            Increasing deforistation
            Increasing soil errosion
            Decreasing ariable land
            Decreasing fresh water supplies/water table
            Increasing sea salinity
            Decreasing food supplies/increasing population
            Increasing power demand

            How many reactors at what cost and what other benifits besides CO2 conversion does this offer?

            I absolutely support scientific research to develop whatever solutions possible, but I honestly do not see reactors as The solution or even much of a contributor when the economic resources can be put to better use and faster returns with existing technology (including nature) and by developing solutions to reduce source generation. As long as CO2 emissions continute to rise at source and accumulate (you correctly elaborate the latter) gas converters are an endless investment in maintaining the status quo.

            Again - how many reactors would be required just to establish equilibrium?

            Suggest we think a little deeper and agrue the merits of our alternatives.

            The order is:

            Reduce
            Reuse
            Recycle

            Regenerators and plants are the third, but plants deliver a more complete solution and the technology is very well proven by at least hundreds of millions of years.

            Blind faith in technology created this mess and won't get us out of it.

            When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

            by koNko on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 05:56:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What you need to work on (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kate mckinnon, LucyMO, Spekkio, BYw

              ...is your knowledge of carbon sequestration. Plants are like lungs, they absorb, then they exhale. Trees do too. The bottom line is there is no natural way to get CO2 levels back down to stable. It will help, and we need to do everything you said. But it won't solve the problem of resident CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

              I should have written a diary about why plant sequestration won't work. I can't believe so many uninformed people. Fact: We could reforest the entire planet and it wouldn't be enough.

              We have to remove the CO2 from the atmosphere manually.

              •  Show me your numbers (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Morlock

                I'd like to understand your assumptions about the inputs and outputs of each element in the system, or at least what those variable factors would be.

                Suggest you go up (or down) thread to another of my posts directed to you questioning the energy balance and how that would translate into the effecency of such systems.

                You are making some pretty broad and unqualified statements about how this technology would work and I'm questioning the basis.

                I'm actually quite familliar with the kinetics of gas-gas conversion and the mass balances involved, and even a relatively simple and efficient conversion process such as nitrogen generation from atmospheric air has a pretty high energy demand.

                As long as you present this in broad strokes without stating your assumptions, how can we have anything but a general discussion? If you want to challange the knowledge or reasoning of people posting here, hadn't you better define your terms first? If we are stumbling in the dark please turn on the light.

                One hypothetical I put to you elsewhere is the merrit of applying clean power technology directly to basic power generation needs verses applying it to this extraction (assuming the input of CO2 from basic generation is constant).

                If we were to first apply the clean generation to replacing dirty generation in order to accomplish input source reduction, would that be more effective than using the same power to extract the carbon while continuing to serve basic needs with a CO2 generating process?

                Is this technology really so efficient?  Even without having data, I can logically question if this is putting the cart before the horse.

                I think you, yourself have stated some of the problems. My fundamenal question about this would be how much power is required per mole of carbon extracted?

                If we haven't got that number, at least let's explain the general conditions.

                What is the relationship of variables in the system such as the CO2 inputs, accumulation, extraction outputs, factors affecting dynamic balance, etc. if such technology is to be successfully employed?

                I've made some pretty broad statements too, but at least I state the logical assumptions, for example, if we increase geening and reforestation, the surface temperature will decrease, average humidity will increase (and hence thermal conductivity of the atmosphere), etc.  You are certianly welcome to argue these points because they are stated.

                To understand my basic reasoning, if we prioritize source reduction by replacing CO2 generating processes with clean (or cleaner) processes, we effect source reduction as rapidly as possible, mitigating the problem in the first stage and enabling other methods of reduction and systematic balance to be more effective (whether thay are the natural processes I prefer or the synthetic process you do). If my reasoning is mistaken, buy all means elaborate.

                If, on the other hand, we apply this technology without first making substantial reduction in CO2 generation, then I don't see the possiblity of this being effective at all - you are just throwing more power consumption at the problem.

                I'm genuinely interested in your resoning. As I've stated previously, I'm not against such technology but I'm very skeptical about it's effectiveness because of the power consumption and cost. Some natural solutions not only work but have other benifits and might be more productive (or practical).

                I think it's reasonable to raise these questions, and I'm open to your explanation.

                BTW, I've been involved in development of DC power regulation, specifically, sensing and regulation of charge-discharge processes, so I consider the practical problems and limitations of current clean power technologies and how that could relate to such systems reqiring diffuse geographical distribution or in situ application, another set of hypothetical problems I put to you and others elsewhere in the form of questions. If I wasn't interested, I wouldn't argue these points.

                Thanks for your reply and excuse my poor English. I apologise if I'm being too harsh, but I'm equally so with my collegues and self because we must seek truth from facts.

                When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

                by koNko on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 10:18:09 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Some work for you. (0+ / 0-)

                You need to work on the process plants use to convert CO2 as they breathe.

                We want them to exhale as long as possible, and then to capture enough of the stored energy and matter they contain for a useful purposes to create a more favorable balance over the total lifecycle. You can do that with plants, but not with machines.

                The reason I question the factors and figures used for these projections is to understand the inputs, which must be reduced to balance the system. If the forecasts are based on extrapolation of current, accelerating trends of CO2 generation (I believe they should be) then what are the sources and how do we reduce those? Solve the root problem first.

                Fundamentally, the problem (as I understand it) is increasing population and increasing power consumption from sources generating CO2 at a higher rate than can be digested by the ecosystem at this point.

                For sequestering to work, the balance of CO2 produced over the lifecycle of the system (including manufacture, operation including transportation of sorbant and recycling/disposal at end of life) has to be significantly less than the CO2 extracted by it or you haven't accomplished much.

                So my assumption is that, to be effective, the majority of energy consumed by the system must be clean and the question that follows is, would this clean energy be more effectively used to displace capacity presently generating CO2?

                We have no data so I'm not going to argue it further, but you might ask that question yourself. Several other people here besides me are asking it.

                I seriously doubt the efficency of these filters results in a significant overall gain unless the power supplied is clean.

                Putting clean power to work directly to reduce the atmospheric input of CO2 is likely to be a far more effective strategy than using it for an inefficient extraction process.

                Let's not put the cart before the horse.

                I'm glad you've discovered CO2 residance time. The residance time of ODS is even greater by up to a factor of appoximately 20 since these compounds are so inert they are nearly impossible to destroy by natural processes. However, despite that fact, a dramatic reduction of ODS manufacturing and use over the past 20 years has resulted in measureable improvements greater than expected (probably due to errors in forecast input data), but significant progress nevertheless.

                It illustrates the effect of source reduction.

                Reducing CO2 generation first should be the best strategy.

                When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

                by koNko on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 08:57:46 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Plant Bamboo (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bfitzinAR

            Instant forest.

            In fact, re-greening the planet and reducing source generation should be the most viable solution.

            Let's consider how we could effeciently use these sysems to extract CO2.

            First, I think you have already stated one of the inherent problems; they use a great deal of power. To be effective, it follows that the power source must be as clean as possible or it reduces efficency. The solution to that is clean energy, which can be equally applied to replace dirty power that causes the problem. Would it be more efective to concenrate that clean power investment to reduce the source problem as quickly as possible? I'd like to see that math.

            Second, how would such CO2 extraction converter be deployed? As concentrated farms? I think that has another systematic problem; as the local air becomes cleaner, the efficiency of the systems would decline unless you have the means to deliver an adequate balance of CO2 to the farm to sustain the conversion process. I doubt that can be done so logically the more rational system would be to diffuse the systems globally and/or concentrate them close to the source of CO2. (Keep in mind the generation is close to the ground where CO2 is not diffuse verses the atmosphere where it collects in a more uniform equilibrium.)

            So wouldn't it be more logical and effective to concentrate resources on maximizing the direct use of clean power and reducing sources of CO2 as quickly as possible without the addditional power generation burden of the extraction generators themselves?

            And how about investment in conservation of power which tends to have a more immediate return ecologically and economically?

            I like your statement that we have an equal investment in automobiles and extraction generators. I can't think of a stronger arguement for my case.

            When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

            by koNko on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 08:10:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Well said !!!! (25+ / 0-)

    The fight to retake our media, our democracy, and our country is no longer just about progress. It is about survival. We simply cannot afford to continue allowing the frivolous, the inane, the self-interested to manipulate our national conversation and our democracy. "Not this time" is not just about getting a good guy elected for a change. It is about our very survival.

    Thank you!

    Join us at Bookflurries: Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 10:32:45 PM PDT

  •  I think I may have heard about this. (17+ / 0-)

    Is this invention also referred to as an artificial tree?  I think I've heard of some device called an artificial tree that could take 7 times as much carbon out of the atmosphere as a real tree...but that might have been a sci-fi story.  I forget.

    But I can't help but wonder where that carbon goes, and what's to keep people from just reburning it?

    Also, does this really require an artificial solution?  can there not be any natural solution?  

    Life isn't meant to be enjoyed, it's meant to be experienced.

    by DawnG on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 10:32:49 PM PDT

  •  I say: "Let's Die" (6+ / 0-)

    and let the cockroaches take over. I think that they might do a better job, because we suck at maintaining a sustainable planet.

  •  Most important diary I may have ever read!!! (14+ / 0-)

    How can we get this technology into practice, and into the public eye?

    How can we "turn people on" to it?

    THOUGHTS WELCOME!

    •  Thanks Blue (10+ / 0-)

      "How can we get this technology into practice, and into the public eye?"

      Spread the word. Take it viral. We can't yet compete with the teevee. But we can make a dent.

      •  Maybe take it to the UN?? (4+ / 0-)

        I recall that Dean Kamen's water-purifying machine was presented there in 2006. Not sure if anything ever happened with it.

      •  consider this: (13+ / 0-)

        $500 billion into Iraq.  

        Nuclear and wind power each cost about $1 million per megawatt, or $1 billion per gigawatt.  A large nuclear plant produces about 1 gigawatt, for point of comparison.  Solar is a bit more expensive but with new technologies it is quickly coming down to about the same level.  

        $500 billion = 500 gigawatts of climate-clean nuclear, wind, and new-tech solar power.  That's only 10% of the necessary budget for "vacuuming," but it's a start.  

        If we stay in Iraq we will spend another $500 billion.  

        I say it's time for triage.  

        Let Iraq (or even Iran) take care of Iraq, deal with Iran's nuclear ambitions by bringing them in under the existing international framework for civilian nuclear power, and then focus our efforts on cleaning up the climate before we darwinize ourselves.  

        The US is 28% of the world's fossil fuel usage, so we should take responsibilty for 28% of the cleanup cost.  That would be at least a trillion dollars.  

        And as for "we can't afford it," the answer is we can't afford not to do it.  

        ---

        Strictly speaking, we also need to replace our existing energy infrastructure with renewables and nuclear, and we need to make radical improvements in efficiency.  

        We also need to get global population down by about 60%.  Keep in mind that when women have education beyond the 6th grade, the birth rate drops by half.  And when electricity is introduced into an area that did not have it before, the birth rate also drops by half.  Minus the influence of various Popes and Mullahs, there is nothing preventing a major shift in attitudes toward family planning and birth control.  

        What's going to happen:

        I suspect the human species will manage to squeak by.  We'll save ourselves from extinction, but there will still be a multi-gigadeath dieoff during the course of this century.  New technologies will be developed and deployed just in time to prevent the worst, but only to the extent that the public demand it.  Which means, it's time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

        •  Masque of the Red Death (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mattman, limpidglass, kyril, BYw

          The ultra-wealthy already have their survival compounds tucked away in projected safe spots.

          I don't think there is a vialbe individual survival strategy however. Climate change is too powerful and too poorly understood.

          Small pockets of humanity will survive somehow but it will be almost accidental.

        •  plus China plans to spend $265 Billion on (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko

          clean energylike Wind by 2020, unfortunately half of it going to hydroelectric dams.

          ...and wow! thats odd news!

          when electricity is introduced into an area that did not have it before, the birth rate also drops by half.

          ! But how does that explain Utah - I think its more cultural...

          •  China is experimenting (0+ / 0-)

            Greatly with solar and wind power, not to mention fussion generation.

            However, at presnt these are just developing technologies and less than 5% of total generation capacity.

            In the near terms China will make additional investments in nuclear, hydroelectric and (so-called) clean coal becuase the cost of solar and wind is too high to meet increasing demand for base capacity, and these technologies are not very simple to integrate to grids.

            I think our most interesting work has been development of wind power on a regional basis in local area grids with lower baseload demands so the capacity can be met with wind generation.

            The investment in solar is increasing but much of this is currently used for applications like exterior lighting where the solar panels and storage batteries can be integrated at point of use and the demand on the system periodic so there is adequate time to recharge. This is good because the amount of power required for lighting is great, but it's not widely used for basic generation yet except in some new buildings.

            One thing China has done right is to update building codes and land use codes to promote/require greater energy efficency and mandate some integration of renewable energy in housing and public buildings.

            But honestly speaking, we will still remain dependant on coal for a while so that explains the support for basic reseach in fission, solar and wind and additional investments in nuclear and hydroelectric. Not the ideal options but better than more coal or oil generation.

            When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

            by koNko on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 10:37:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Bad thing to go to dams for electricity - (0+ / 0-)

            GW is causing glaciers to melt and seriously decreasing winter snowpack.  Rivers will soon not have enough water to run a hydroelectric facility.  Wind, solar (both photovotaics and thermal plants), and bioconversion of our garbage/sewage are going to be our vaguely possible way forward - IF we'll ever start building them.

            •  that huge damn - horrible, yeah (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bfitzinAR

              today reading (paper for a change!)latest National Geographic full of the horror for China.

              They are making all the mistakes we made over again...plus their new desert is blowing straight across the Pacific to me...

              •  Perhaps not. (0+ / 0-)

                The available resoures for China to produce power are coal, hydroelectric, nuclear, solar and wind in approximately that order. Although China is investing in all of the above, baseload demand is presently met with coal and that's a big problem (shared woth the USA I might add).

                Hydroelectric can provide a large generation capacity without CO2 generation. Furthermore, the projects planned will also help to solve the endemic flooding problems China has faced for centuries and that are getting worse each year due to global warming (NOLA is trivial compared with the annual flooding of China and her SE Asian neghbors). It also creates fresh water reserviors that can help to solve water shortages in certian areas. Obviously the trade-off is displacement of people/land below the water line but that may be a more acceptable alternative than increasing CO2 emissions.

                If you extrapolate the per capita CO2 emissions of the USA using China's population you will get a pretty scarey number.

                We have to reduce our dependance on coal which has far greater negative impacts in environmental and human terms than building a few dams. Wind power doesn't work everywhere. Solar still has teething problems and is difficult to use for baseload supply without huge investments (even in Germany, solar supplies less than 5% of baseload, and the combined solar/wind generation capacity of China is a bit below that). China is also increasing nuclear capacity but that dependant on fuel trading so the percentage can never be so high.

                The USA is in the top 5 of per capits CO2 emissions and power consumption; China is below the world average for both, but consumption is rising. The Chinese government has purposely restricted supply form coal sources to avoid unrestrained growth in this sector to shift capacity growth to cleaner technology. There's also a strong desire here to limit personal energy consumption because levels equivelent to developed countires applied to our population would be unsustainable and disasterous. We have been controling population growth for 29 years avoiding what would have been approximately 400 million aditional heads (approximatly 1/3 greater population) but population decline will not be reached for at least another 20 years (life expectancy is increasing), so we need solutions that avoid dependance on CO2 generating technology.

                BTW, desertification is a significan problem in parts of China and there is a strong geening movement here, but without irrigation there are some limits to how effectively that can be done so redistribution of water is a real need. We can't just keep drilling deeper wells.

                The TVA projects in the USA were largely successful, failure to maintain the infrastructure is another matter.

                When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

                by koNko on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 10:08:57 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Would you consider adding the word "Unless ..." (4+ / 0-)

        to the title of the diary?  It would better reflect what you're actually saying here, and help make it seem as serious (and hopeful) as it is.  Without it, it sounds like it could be another Pastor Wright diary....

        Posting a diary on the nomination? Pay your McCain Tax!

        by Seneca Doane on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 11:43:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Will beg to disagree (8+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CJnyc, koNko, gatorcog, Outrider, BYw, Losty, Sedi, patrickz

      This is a cool technology (Energy COOL, or Climate COOLing we could say).  On the other hand, we should be pursuing win-win-win strategies for climate protection and geoengineering.

      What can I do for $5.6 trillion (just for construction)?

      * Move to a renewable energy and energy efficient globe.

      * Start and maintain massive amounts of forest protection and reforestration (short term: decades/centuries carbon capture and sequestration(CCS))

      * Start / maintain / expand massive programs of biochar / terra preta to enrich soil and do centuries (perhaps millenium) of CCS.

      Etc ...

      It is high risk to seize on any specific item as somehow "the" Silver Bullet solution.

      $5.6 trillion, before we start talking about operating costs and before we start talking about the costs (and risks) of sequestering the carbon, is a lot of money.

      •  Fine (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PeterHug, hyperstation, Outrider, BYw, Sedi

        As long as you know what you're disagreeing with. Because it sounds like you're disagreeing with a diary I didn't write. You should read the Reality Check section.

        I never said we should cut a check for 5.6 trillion and start building 67 million of these things all at once. I said we should bankroll dudes company and help develop the technology. I also said we should support this technology and if and when something comes along better, switch to it.

        You make it sound as though we would have to cut a check for 5.6 trillion just to move on it. That's not how it will play out at all. We support this guy. Some else comes along and we support them. Within 20 years carbon trees will be everywhere. And maybe some big farms. Or maybe not. Maybe someone will win Al Gore's prise using a carbon sequestration bomb.

        But as for how you would spend 5.6 trillion, which is an arbitrary figure anyway because, as I said, it will get cheaper, I also clearly stated we are going to have to do many of those things as well. So keep  your checkbook out. I said 5.6 trillion was affordable because it is. Not that we have to pay that. In fact, we will have to pay more. Carbon sequestration trees are just a way to remove the CO2 already present. That's only half the equation.

        I've looked at natural sequestration models for years. The numbers don't add up. They make a dent, they matter. But even to that extent, many will take too long. Biochar? We have entered runaway global warming.

        There is no win win win scenario. We fucked up and now we're going to have to pay for it. That's the reality. I appreciate your dedication to this issue. But trying to sell win win win to people is the path to an incrementalism can no longer afford. It's time to force people out of their slumber. We are in a fucking emergency.

        My diary is a call to arms. It's not even about any one technology or solution. If you had read it you would have noticed it opened and closed with how the corporate media is preventing a national discussion about this issue. That and a lack of real leadership.

        •  Actually ... (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PeterHug, koNko, Outrider, dotcommodity, BYw, Sedi

          I'm not disagreeing with you.

          I appreciate your work, your writing, etc ...

          I was reacting, perhaps inaccurately, to what seemed to be an enthusiasm for 'this is the solution'.  If I totally misread that comment, then mea culpa.

          A.  I agree with "emergency".

          B.  I agree with 'incrementalism' isn't enough.

          C.  Even so, I see 'win-win-win' paths for doing a tremendous amount.  For example, a very simple step:  100% mandated high-albedo (or else green or energy producing) roof tops.  Numbers suggest real impact on global temperatures just from the albedo while lowering urban heat island and reducing same building energy requirements.

          And, to make it clear:  I truly didn't mean to be picking a fight with you.  

          I saw/value/appreciate the key point here: which is, as you repeated, the call to arms & the lack of serious discussion about what we face. (Another angle: we face Peak Oil and the political battle is about whether to lift $0.185 of gas tax which, of course, will only make the problem worse?)

          What frustrates me is when people seize on silver bullets as the solution.  I read (potentially misread) that comment along those lines.

          •  Thanks man (8+ / 0-)

            I have a habit of only adding the qualifiers towards the end of the diary.

            As for win win win, I've only recently started to rethink it. There are two aspects to it, one is functional, creating beneficial feedback loops. The other is political, a way to sell it.

            I'm starting to think, especially from studying the impact and reactions to Gore, that we may not need to sell the Marshall plan. We may need to sell the "German are coming" plan. He. Does that make sense?

            Gore's been preaching for 2 decades how we can save the environment and benefit the economy. I've followed that to a tee. But is it working? I am sick of fear based politics. But if there's one issue we should use the fear card, it is this.

            Just some thoughts. Tired. Slee[p.

            •  Personally ... (6+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              PeterHug, koNko, gatorcog, Outrider, BYw, Sedi

              I am screaming inside "The Russians are Coming" ...  and externally at times as well.  

              Even so, many of the mass responses are, to me, win-win-win.

              What happens if we start putting $20+ billion (or so) into DesertTrec type systems in North Africa, the Middle East, northern Mexico & the SW US, Australia (CSTP/Wind/etc in a system netted with HVDC for moving the renewable power to demand efficienctly)?  And, taking a reasonable amount of the desalinated water to foster sustainable agriculture, using biochar to make marginal land into rich land?  What if there were several million new acres / year of land being converted from non-plant to ever-richer agricultural land with a couple inches of carbon sequestration every year.

              What if empty US auto plants were put to work making 10,000s (100,000s) of wind turbines/year?

              What if we executed the concepts for using wind power for making ammonia in the Roaring 40s with ice making as a corollary to the production process?  1000s of square miles of several foot thick ice every winter?

              Now, while I would welcome reasonable research money toward the type of tech in your diary, I would welcome even more money into productive use of C broken from CO2.  Can we find a path where those C molecules are core to 21st century & beyond economies? That would make the process for extracting C from the atmosphere a win-win path, rather than an 'environmental' win while an 'economic cost'.

              And, back to framing.  I wonder what would happen if the D candidate come this fall stood up and said: "It is time to mobilize to save our butts."  Sadly, I think it would mean President McCain.

              Poll info I heard last night (no details) is that 12 percent of respondents had gasoline prices at top of their agenda. Listening to NPR, person after person said that 'government has to do something to lower prices'.  And, we get the proposal for a gas tax moratorium. ....

              •  In the end I think (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                koNko, A Siegel, BYw, Sedi

                that everything you've mentioned here (and CO2 extraction/sequestration) will be needed if we want a world that is anywhere close to what you and I would call acceptable.

                Which means that we should at least go down the road with this technology until we know a bit more about it (mostly I'm interested in a number that would amount to an EROEI--although really CO2ROEI).

                However, unless we (as a global community) come up with some business model for people to make money by doing this, it isn't going to happen until it's too late (discounting for the moment the possibility that it already is).

                I think that there is a growing understanding of that, which is why you'll probably see a real cap-and-trade system in place sooner rather than later.  The part that isn't being discussed (AFAIK) is that countries that choose to stay out of such a system (ie, the US) would have to pay a carbon-based tariff on goods moving in or out across that border.

                Creating such a system, and then using it to make ecologically meaningful emissions limits economically attractive, is the only way I see to get us out of this hole before we end up with a real catastrophe.

                •  no - (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  A Siegel

                  why you'll probably see a real cap-and-trade system in place sooner rather than later  

                  is that Bushadministration wants to preempt the tougher one we would get if we waited till we get a Dem in the WH.

                  At least we'd get 100% auction with either Dem.

                  •  I'm talking about a globally harmonized one. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    koNko, A Siegel

                    The total carbon load of international trade will inevitably become something that is accounted for in an economic sense.

                    In that case, I think that the end result will be a system that compensates for any nation's refusal to fully tax carbon emissions by imposing a tariff.  Perhaps the easiest way to make that happen would be to get the WTO to rule that NOT fully taxing carbon emissions would amount to a subsidy.  That would set up the required accounting within an already-functioning global system--and one that the US already belongs to.

                    •  Ah. The EU is planning imposing carbon fees on us (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      PeterHug, koNko, A Siegel

                      already and not even allowing our airlines to land there after 2010 if their emissions don't meet their standards. I hope we get forced by the grownups to change. Our political system prevents it.

                      •  You're absolutely right. (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        koNko, A Siegel, dotcommodity, bfitzinAR

                        It's completely insane that we can't get ourselves to think about issues like this that just trump everything else.

                        I was just in Europe for 7 weeks, and I think that most people in the US don't realize the depth and the breadth of the disgust that the rest of the world is developing towards (i) our apparent continued support and enabling of the Bush Administration and (ii) our inability to realize that when it comes to energy and climate, business as usual is completely off the table.

                        My impression is that we are kind of using up our last free pass ever right now.  Most of the people I talked to are desperately trying to extend us the benefit of the doubt, that things will change--quickly and fundamentally--when Bush leaves.  If that turns out not to be the case, I think that you'll see a quick, complete, and long-lasting reversal in global perceptions of the US.  And it won't be pretty.  Many of the crutches we depend on (e.g., a subsidy from the rest of the world to prop up our continuing negative balance of trade) depend in turn (at least to some level) on the rest of the world being willing to give us a "bye" on some important issues.  That's likely to end if we don't get our act together.

                        •  tell me about it! (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          PeterHug

                          I diaried

                          the depth and the breadth of the disgust

                          after the Bali talks. I was amazed to see signs there against a US Senator! (Inohofe, duh)

                        •  Taxing Aircraft and Ship Oil (0+ / 0-)

                          One hopeful action is the EU will impose carbon taxes on aircraft landing and fueling within the community, that will be a start.

                          A far greater opportunity is taxing the fuel used for international shipping wich is currently exempt under international law. It's impertaive to tax this since it has a regressive effect on reducing transportation related CO2.

                          I think support for carbon taxes is growing worldwide because it's a market solution and as imperfect as it is, the economic penalties eventially promote conservation and promotion of alternative power sources.

                          When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

                          by koNko on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 10:18:59 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                •  RE 'carbon-based tariff" (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  PeterHug, koNko

                  see how I suggested handling this in Global Warming Impact Fee:

                  To deal with a key challenge (how to engage ‘developing’ countries) and risk to economies institituting carbon limits,  is that these nations [US, EU, Japan] (the principal importers in the world) should agree that all imports will be judged by this standard: if the originating country does not impose carbon tax fees, then the fee will be imposed on entry into their country. This would quickly get other nations in line.  Would China want the United States collecting Global Warming Impact fees on all imported goods for spending as the US government deems most effective or would it want control over these resources to focus their moves away from hydrocarbon dependence and to reduce pollution within China?

                  •  Absolutely. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    koNko, A Siegel

                    I think that the key for success (=widespread adoption of a carbon-based fee structure) is to fit it into the current economic paradigm.  The less we have to change of the way companies and countries interact, the more likely it will work.

                    Which is not to say, that creating a brand-new structure from scratch that's perfect and socially just in every way wouldn't be wonderful.  It's just that (i) that won't happen anyway, and (ii) even if it could we just don't have time.

        •  I think the real isue is source reduction (0+ / 0-)

          We can argue natural conversion verses synthetic sequestration until Chenny turns Commie, but the most importiant variable is CO2 generation and that is where the most urgent action needs to be taken.

          I appreciate your sense of urgency on this, but if the process is not effecient enough and the source power to operate it is not clean, where is the benifit?  The same clean power solution could be put to use directly to achieve source reduction.

          I agree it's an emergency, so can we see the USA addopt mass-transit a little faster?

          Political perspective: Compare the per capita CO2 emissions of the top ten verses the world average and industrialized nations with significantly smaller carbon footprints and analyze the differences.

          I'm pretty confident the USA has disproportionately high emissions due to transporation and basic power generation from fossil fuels. Failing to solve those problems and investing in band aids is questionable.

          When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

          by koNko on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 10:50:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Why do you think anyone wants to know this? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silverbird, spotDawa, josecheung

    The election is so much more exciting.  We will elect a savior and then we can go back to making the savior more and more necessary.  Technology won't do it either.  We have the means to give everyone decent health care and to feed and house people.  We don't do it.  Reverend Wright may have some words of wisdom for you if you bother to listen.  Nice try though.

    An idea is not responsible for who is carrying it. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 10:37:29 PM PDT

  •  Agreed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    churchylafemme, hulagirl, kyril

    Political will expressed through clear honest mass communication (once the corrupt lying greedy bastards have had their control of the machine forcibly taken away)

    and anything is possible

    even this

    You are  so right about the numbers... totally feasible... but will we take charge of the (communication and legislation) tools to make it happen?

  •  Ofcourse we are.... someday. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, josecheung

    Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt. William Shakespeare

    by notquitedelilah on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 10:38:23 PM PDT

  •  outstanding diary (11+ / 0-)

    how i love your work!

    news of hope is what we need to motivate people to focus on environmental and climate change issues.  

  •  If only Dr. Lackner could figure out... (7+ / 0-)

    a way to have cars power his machines while they're driving down the road...

  •  Let's REC this diary - get it seen! (6+ / 0-)

    Thanks!!

  •  Quo Vadis . . . (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jbdigriz, Silverbird, kyril, bfitzinAR

    The Republicans say if a Democrat wins we'll all be killed by Islamofascist suicide bombers, and Democrats are saying if a Republican wins we'll all be killed by carbon monoxide poisoning?  

    I think I'll just stay in bed on election day and wait to see what kills me first.

    BTW, you're absolutely right about Wright.  Maybe we deserve whatever our fate is.

    I'm indifferent to rule by a single tyrant 3000 miles away or 3000 tyrants one mile away.

    by Ken Bank on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 10:49:04 PM PDT

  •  rec'ed (6+ / 0-)

    for the best summation of L'affaire du Wright

  •  ... added couple tags for ya ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    churchylafemme, kyril
  •  Laughing. (5+ / 0-)

    It's sweet though.

    The ocean is the best CO2 absorption mechanism around.  To entertain the idea that we would actually build machines of any kind to handle what the earth cannot absorb ...well, I'm laughing.

    Trillions of dollars of expenditure on technology that doesn't produce anything?  As many of these machines as there are automobiles?

    Completely loony-toons.

    Show more pictures of cute kids.  Then we'll make more of them, and they'll produce as much carbon as their parents did, if not more.

    The fact is, we're all going to die anyway.  No matter what.  So this is not even a motivational factor.

    The smart thing to to is not have kids; at least you can spare them the coming resource wars.
    Life causes dying.

    •  Thanks (10+ / 0-)

      She is pretty cute, isn't she. She's two.

      BTW, the oceans are getting saturated. One of those many feedback loops we all hear about.

      And as for "Trillions of dollars of expenditure on technology that doesn't produce anything"? That's exactly how I describe the defense budget.

      The rest of your thoughts are too stupid to respond to. "Life causes dying" Jokes on you man.

      •  and excess carbon can turn oceans into acid n/t (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        spotDawa, Rex Manning, BYw, bfitzinAR
        •  That's even more depressing (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rex Manning, Spekkio

          than this diary.  Because it means, we're on our way to acid oceans.  Done deal.

          •  It's not depressing (7+ / 0-)

            It's been 20 plus years since I've looked to the future with anything other than dread - until last night, when I began to realize that building CO2 sequestration farms are not looney toons at all, but are actually feasible.

            And they don't have to run forever. 50 years from now, we won't need them. But if you believe that our predicament calls for anything less than a massive, unprecedented, global initiative to sequester CO2 from the atmosphere, then I strongly suggest you read the diary I linked to at the top.

            •  At some point... (0+ / 0-)

              humanity should be able to control Earth's climate, bring back the currently extinct critters, teach existing criters to talk (hi, David Brin!), and I would rather discuss that and the real problems we face than the media-fabricated mindpoop.

            •  I agree our predicament calls for such a project. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wonmug, Spekkio, bfitzinAR

              I simply see no possibility of it occurring.  But that just makes me another sad-sack naysayer.  

              I guess I've just come to the conclusion that everything is unfolding as it will.  I've tried my own idealistic approaches to life and these problems, and it has beaten me down to the point that all I have left is my cynicism and sense of humor.  That may not be coming through, I admit.

              Whatever sustainable future awaits us, it is on the other side of the bust that must follow our human population boom.

              Nature, as much as we love her, is cruel in proportion to our lack of reason.  The strongest desire we have, that of procreation, is the single most destructive force on the planet today.  It will ruin the world as we know it.

              But, human life is not what "it's all about."  We're just too selfish, frightened, and insecure to see that.

              As you say, we're all going to die.  And that's not a bad thing.  It's the way it was meant to be.

              What the rest of it means, I have no idea.

              You've called my ideas stupid.  But you brought an adorable, sweet, helpless child into this shithole of a world.  Who's stupid now?

            •  I prefer the happier you (5+ / 0-)

              This is an obvious question, but: do you know what Al Gore thinks of this?  If anyone were to lead the effort to get something like this rolling, it would be him.

              Because these suckers would be stationary, they would seem to be amenable to being powered by all sorts of passive alternative energy.  They could go into the desert to be powered by solar, into the mountains to be powered by wind, in spots where tides or geothermal would do the trick.  The usual sticky problems -- (1) transmission of energy from where it's produced to where it's used, and (2) storage, would not apply.

              This is great work -- serious cause for hope.  Thanks for writing it.

              Posting a diary on the nomination? Pay your McCain Tax!

              by Seneca Doane on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 11:39:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Gore is all for a profitable venture or two. (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Silverbird, Kickemout, BYw, EMorgan, Losty

                http://money.cnn.com/...

                These are the guys who made money off the dot bomb.  Your typical venture capitalist.  Which means, they'll go for anything with a sufficient profit margin, provided they get a controlling interest, say, 51%.

                Hate to tell you, but Gore is not going to be saving the planet as much as he is going to be helping these guys line their padded pockets.

                •  it's Pascal's wager (9+ / 0-)

                  if we try to bend the mighty engine of global capitalism to the service of the environment, there are two outcomes:

                  1. Success. The profit motive unleashes a wave of new technological innovations, which, when combined with a determined effort to curb overpopulation and environmental impact, allow us to mitigate the effects of climate change enough to survive.
                  2. Failure. The climate crisis proves too much for our ingenuity and determination, and human civilization returns to the Stone Age.

                  If we don't try to bend the mighty engine of global capitalism to the service of the environment, there's one outcome:

                  1. Failure. The climate crisis worsens because we aren't doing anything about it, and human civilization returns to the Stone Age.

                  Given the choice between A) trying to use capitalism for environmental good and B) not trying to use capitalism for environmental good, I will choose A), because success is a possible outcome of A), while the only possible outcome of B) is total failure.

                  •  Maybe if you're a computer. (0+ / 0-)

                    But we don't live in that binary world of two possible outcomes.

                    The venture capitalists generally succeed.  But was the dot bomb a success, or a failure?  Depends on when you decided to sell, and the VC's were the ones who both created the wave and sold at the peak.

                    I foresee success for the capitalists, until the inevitable failure of the human experiment.  Which will be a greater success for ALL of the other species.  The ones that manage to survive, anyway.

                    But even while the capitalists are succeeding, the vast majority of us will eat their dust.  Same as it ever was.

                    •  don't know how to respond to nihilism (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      spotDawa, Outrider, Spekkio

                      But even while the capitalists are succeeding, the vast majority of us will eat their dust.  Same as it ever was.

                      If your point is that the story of civilization is the story of exploitation of people by other people, than yeah, I'm with you.

                      But if you're saying that that exploitation renders all of human history meaningless and civilization not worth fighting for, then I don't know what I can do for you. As you point out, that's the way it's always been since the dawn of civilization--why do you think it could be any different?

                      If you're looking for an argument why we should fight to survive, then I can't give you one, except to observe that living things appear to possess an inherent tendency to struggle for survival. But that's not really an argument for anything, merely an observation, and it won't convince you of anything if you don't yourself feel that it's worth it to try.

                      If you really want to give up, then that's your right. But those who want to live will try to live and will use every means at their disposal to do so.

                      •  Not quite nihilism. (0+ / 0-)

                        I'm not saying it's all meaningless; just that we will create meaning out of nothing when we don't understand it.

                        Whatever it all means, this kind of discussion is best tempered by realism.  And this proposal is among the most unrealistic I've ever seen seriously proposed.

                        I believe things are unfolding just as they should, and that may well include the extinction of our species.

                        From a human perspective, sure that's probably nihilistic.  From a universal perspective, what the hell do we know about it?

                        Nada, zip, zilch, nothing.  Nihil. Hm.

              •  I can't imagine he doesn't know about it (6+ / 0-)

                Gore's still trying to convince the world that global warming even exist and that we need to take it seriously. So I doubt he sees much value in jumping right into a big, draconian solution until he gets the team on board that we even need a solution. If he were posting exclusively to DKos, I suspect he would be a bit farther down the road.

          •  What's depressing here is the poor science n/t (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            spotDawa

            "Never was so little asked of so many by so few"--Stephen Colbert

            by EMorgan on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 07:21:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Joke's on me. (0+ / 0-)

        It usually is.  But calling my ideas stupid is, well, a response.  You just couldn't help yourself.

        The defense budget does produce something: Sexy explosions, world conquest, political domination. If you can eradicate the attraction of these products, then we'll be on our way.

    •  life is a sexually transmitted disease, and it's (0+ / 0-)

      always fatal

      "Change doesn't happen from the top down,
      it happens from the bottom up." Barack Obama

      by shpilk on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 08:09:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lately I have been in despair (7+ / 0-)

    as I watch the candidates not talk about the coming global disaster.  With this diary, though, I can see a glimmer of hope.  

    Hmmm.   Hope?  Lately, that word has become associated with Barack Obama in my mind.  Please send this diary to his campaign, and see what happens.  

    Seems to me that if the blogosphere pushes something enough, it begins to be picked up, even a tiny bit, by the campaigns and through them, perhaps, by the MSM.  Let's push this and see what happens!

    Mahalo, TocqueDeVille, for another important diary.  Recommended!

    •  they talk (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hulagirl, bfitzinAR

      we don't hear...because nobody covers the real dbates like the Grist Climate Debate

      One of the sobering messages she delivered is that when she mentions energy independence, crowds go nuts. When she mentions global warming, there's silence. "The public isn't there yet." This means, for one thing, that greens need to do a lot more to carry the message out. For another, they need to be realistic about what can be accomplished in the current political environment. Effectively, she was saying, "I'm with you; I understand the problem. But you need to give me some room to work -- attacking those of us on your side for insufficient purity isn't helpful."

      Clinton was by far the most responsive to specific questions. She argued in some detail for why she is uniquely able to accomplish something on this issue.

      that was last November. She has the best advisors (Joseph Romm and Gene Sperling at the Center For American Progress), has the most effective energy plan, but yesterday she made a ridiculous suggestion with the gastax pander...she got an earfull from me.

      •  Rock and hard place for Hillary & (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dotcommodity

        Obama - yes, higher prices drives finding a solution, but higher gas prices are a real hardship for folks in the bottom half & especially the bottom quarter incomes.  Especially those folks who live in states that don't have decent mass transit.  The real answer to that would be rationing/price ceiling with a "fuel stamp" program for the lower income people.  You know how well THAT would fly.  Knocking off the federal tax (and making it up from oil company profits so it doesn't effect the transportation budgets) will only drop the price some 20 cents, but this is the public raised on "government is the problem" and who believes most of their income goes to taxes.  It's mostly to show she understands they are hurting.  Obama is using a different technique to show he understands.  Neither of them can actually do anything about it right now - and I promise you, gas prices are going to come down in October, and stay down until after the election.

        •  If she hadn't called it a tax, but a subsidy (0+ / 0-)

          subsidy like LIHEAP is for those who are hurting,(the heating subsidy), that would have been a great way to explain how we Dems are for helping people cope with the costs of energy.

          But to fall into a Republican git those gummint taxes offya frame...not smart. (Plus 5 cents of gastax was Bill Clinton's nickle remember his gas tax building bridges and highways for the last 15 years!)

  •  sign me up for one of those (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TocqueDeville, rcbowman, Spekkio

    Some of you might find this presentation given by Robert Bussard (of ram-jet fame) at a google TechTalk. He was invited because he is seeking investors to help finance research that he began several years ago which has yielded results which are suggestive of something Really Good. His work had been made a secret by the US government for years but they've stopped funding him. Now he's gained permission to go out on his own with it if he can fund it or, pretty much give it away if he likes. As he says, "Somebody's going to do this."

    Given the number of very smart millionaires at google it seems like a good place to make one's pitch.

    The video is ~90 min. long, just some old guy and some overhead slides. But, if you're willing to think about it a little, it's a tantalising video.

    Google Tech Talks November 9, 2006 ABSTRACT
    This is not your father's fusion reactor! Forget everything you know about conventional thinking on nuclear fusion: high-temperature plasmas, steam turbines, neutron radiation and even nuclear waste are a thing of the past. Goodbye thermonuclear fusion; hello inertial electrostatic confinement fusion (IEC), an old idea that's been made new. While the international community debates the fate of the politically-turmoiled $12 billion ITER (an experimental thermonuclear reactor), simple IEC reactors are being built as high-school science fair projects. Dr. Robert Bussard, former Asst. Director of the Atomic Energy Commission and founder of Energy Matter Conversion Corporation (EMC2), has spent 17 years perfecting IEC, a fusion process that converts hydrogen and boron directly into electricity producing helium as the only waste product. Most of this work was funded by the Department of Defense, the details of which have been under seal... until now. Dr. Bussard will discuss his recent results and details of this potentially world-altering technology, whose conception dates back as far as 1924, and even includes a reactor design by Philo T. Farnsworth (inventor of the scanning television). Can a 100 MW fusion reactor be built for less than Google's annual electricity bill? Come see what's possible when you think outside the thermonuclear box and ignore the herd

    "People who say I'm dystopian are middle class pussies!" – William Gibson

    by subtropolis on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 11:06:06 PM PDT

  •  I have a grandaughter.... (7+ / 0-)

    ...and I want to see her inherit a peaceful, green world.

    What do you think the odds of that are, really?

    What are we supposed to say to developing countries? Do we even know the whole story? From the behavior and rhetoric of our so-called "leaders" I can't believe we've been told everything.....yet.

    I fear we have already reached a tipping point. There is a lot of methane being released from thawing tundra and warming lakes that was never even considered in the climate models which first got our attention. And the climate is changing far more rapidly than anyone thought.

    Personally, I believe the next one or two generations may be the last to live in a country and planet that even vaguely resembles ours. My grandchild may have kids in a country of relative wealth, but her children will probably suffer hardships we can't imagine.

    "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

    by CanisMaximus on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 11:09:07 PM PDT

    •  Ummm... (0+ / 0-)

      I guess that means you have more of a stake or interest in this than the rest of us? Those people with no children or grandchildren -- what do they really care about? IS that the message here?

      Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

      by FischFry on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 11:28:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This person who has no children cares about (0+ / 0-)

        other people's children.  Frankley, I don't understand why you exposed your children to life in our country once we developed and used the atom bomb.  I was one of the 6-year-olds watching newsreals of A-bomb tests, watching tethered pigs dressed in military uniforms blown away in the first pulse, and I decided that I was never going to have children and let my government bomb them.  
        What is really sad, since I am now 64 years old, is that I have never regreted my decision.  It is regretful that our own civilization and system of existance is the main threat to our own world.

         I care about the world's children now.  We are doing them wrong.

        We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. -- William Faulkner --

        by Silverbird on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 06:52:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Wow (0+ / 0-)

        You're a real piece aren't you. No the message here is that you're an asshole. Piss off.

        •  It's a repeated refrain (0+ / 0-)

          And, it gets old. The "I have children" or "I have grandchildren" remark to suggest they have reason to be concerned about the future -- a vested interest. I know that there was no ill intent -- and it wasn't my intent to suggest there was -- but it disguises a darker message that runs throughout our politics: Childless people -- we don't really count. We're second-class citizens, at best. However, with a world that is grossly over-populated, that bias needs to be reconsidered.

          Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

          by FischFry on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 10:38:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  mine's 19 months (4+ / 0-)

    it certainly brings a sense of perspective.

    surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

    by wu ming on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 11:10:23 PM PDT

  •  I remember your diary about co2 collecting (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tnichlsn, churchylafemme, limpidglass

    in the atmosphere over the years and it comes to mind frequently.  

    Thanks for the diary. Another good one.

    NetrootNews coming soon!

    by ksh01 on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 11:18:08 PM PDT

  •  The question is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Plutonium Page, berkeleybarb

    'does humanity really deserve to survive'? If our current leaders represent the best we can do as a species, maybe we should scrap this evolutionary branch and let another fork try evolving to 'top dog' status, to see if they're better caretakers of the planet...

    Support democracy at home and abroad, join the ACLU & Amnesty International http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org and http://www.aclu.org Your voice is needed!

    by tnichlsn on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 11:19:58 PM PDT

    •  No. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tnichlsn, spotDawa, bfitzinAR

      The question is

      'does humanity really deserve to survive'?

      No.


      Maybe I should put a bucket over my head / And a marshmallow in each ear...

      by Page van der Linden on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 11:33:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  certainly not w/our current set of values intact. (3+ / 0-)

        It pisses the hell out of me that this Lindzen guy is at MIT. We need a drive to yank his tenure like the left coasters are rallying to get Yoo canned from Berkeley Law...

        Support democracy at home and abroad, join the ACLU & Amnesty International http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org and http://www.aclu.org Your voice is needed!

        by tnichlsn on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 11:39:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  and what is humanity? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tnichlsn

        certainly certain Western European contsructions not only do not deserve to survive - quite frankly I think very strong arguments can be, have been and are being  made exactly why it needs to be extinguished  

        "There is no limit to what you can do if you have the power to change the rules." -Josh Marshall

        by grollen on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 01:31:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Can't agree, sorry (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        seancdaug

        Western civilization - all civilization, really - represents a recent innovation by a species that diverged from its closest relative 5 million years ago, and evolved to more or less its present form 100,000 or more years ago.  To trash that immensely promising species for its momentary foibles is a bit overdoing it.  

        I once had a conversation with a guy at a scientific meeting (AAAS) back during the late cold war, in which he said it would be worth going to war and even extincting the species over the difference between the US and Soviet systems.  I mean, people - 200 years on the one hand and about 70 on the other, vs. all that evolution... sorry, no.  We're a young species and we do screw up royally in our experiments, still, but we have a lot of promise.

        Mike: "I miss my sense of outrage." Kim: "I know... What was it like?" [Garry Trudeau, Doonesbury (from memory)]

        by berkeleybarb on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 10:42:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Can you get a job (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      churchylafemme, berkeleybarb

      writing speeches for McCain?  I'd love for him to run on that platform.

      Posting a diary on the nomination? Pay your McCain Tax!

      by Seneca Doane on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 11:34:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  constructing artificial volcanoes to blast sulfur (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aisling, joel3000, spotDawa

    particles into the atmosphere ... gee that sounds like a great idea.  Surely there will be no unforeseen consequences...

  •  Not to worry- Kirk will fly towards the sun, (7+ / 0-)

    slingshot back in time and save us by bringing back humpback whales.

    Huh? What? No, I'm done with the TV. You kids go ahead and watch what you want...

    McCain has no core principles that the American people can trust he'll follow from one day to the next. We should worry about his principals, too.

    by algebrateacher on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 11:27:34 PM PDT

  •  Here's the money quote (literally) (8+ / 0-)

    Lackner calculated that sucking up all 28 billion tons of CO2 released worldwide each year would require spreading out his machines over a land area the size of Arizona.

    That seems like a reasonable sacrifice to save civilization, until you consider the expense.

    Like you, TocqueDeville, this particular quote caught my eye, and actually made me laugh out loud. "We could save civilization, but it's just too damned expensive!" Uh, ok. If I went to a doctor and he told me I needed an operation to save my life, I think I'd get the operation first and worry about how to pay for it afterwards.

    All kidding aside, the pitfalls of these nearly-magical technological solutions are why I'm very pessimistic that they'd do much good. If global society can stop increasing the amount of carbon pumped into the atmosphere, and essentially all societies agree to focus on carbon sequestration, and we come up with a clean source of energy to do it, and that clean source of energy allows us to continue with our exponentiating technological lifestyle, well, problem solved! Oh, and don't forget that these efforts will be opposed by some very powerful vested interests that profit enormously from the status quo.

    Technological solutions are not the answer to this problem, or at least not the only answer. Waiting for the powers that be to wake up and solve the problem for us is a fool's errand. The best thing we can all do, as far as I'm concerned, is to try to limit our own contribution to the problem. Is it too late? Probably, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try our best.

    •  I don't think you grasped the point (4+ / 0-)

      If we are limited to limiting our contribution, then it is not probably too late. It is definitely too late.

      Again, we not only have to dramatically reduce emissions, but we ALSO have to remove the CO2 that's already there.

      CO2 stays in the atmosphere for centuries. That means the CO2 particles that are causing our current global warming were emitted by Abraham Lincolns train. Your grandfather's Edsel.

      We have to remove the CO2 already there. There is no non-technological way to sequester carbon. Though planting lots of trees will help. A bit.

      "Waiting for the powers that be to wake up and solve the problem for us is a fool's errand."

      I agree. Which is why I am advocating throwing their asses out and retaking our public airwaves.

      •  No, no, I get the point (6+ / 0-)

        I agree with everything you've written and cited about the horrific problem our technological society has generated and I'm quite familiar with the research (not to suggest I have a better grasp of this stuff than anybody else here, but I'm a professor of environmental science), but I'm not as optimistic as you are. I just don't see our societies doing anything to seriously limit carbon production given the world's corporate-capitalist economic system. Additionally, I feel that such tech-fixes as you discuss above can actually be quite counter-productive, in that people see in the news that a machine has been invented that will remove CO2 from the atmosphere and say, "Well, no need to do anything myself, the experts will fix everything!"

        All the evidence I see, such as the rapidly accelerating consequences of global warming and the toothless blathering of our leaders, leads me to conclude that the world's climate is broken and there's not currently the political will or desire to do much about it. We continue merrily along with the globalization of the world economy, damn the consequences, because after all, why should we eat crappy little apples grown on a tree down the street when we can get really good ones shipped all the way from New Zealand! It's kind of hokey, I know, but I believe in the old saw "act locally, think globally". So what if I think it's probably too late? Hopefully I'm wrong, and think we should all try to at least temper the damage, if not actually repair some of it sometime in the future.

  •  Some things we as a species suck at: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    berkeleybarb
    1. Changing habits.
    1. Remembering that Ethanol crops can't be grown in parking lots.
    1. No panicking in moments of crises.

    The world is getting warmer regardless of whatever happens with co2, and would be getting warmer if there were no humans on the planet. It will continue to do so until there is another ice age. I don't know how much co2 is accelerating this but it's probably by a lot.

    we'd do better to start thinking of ways to painlessly adapt to an unstable climate because the consequences of global warming are inevitable, this crap is just a matter of timelines. If your kids (since that's the emotional argument we like to make around these parts) don't have to bite the bullet then their kids will.

    Have a nice day.

    •  Sorry (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gooserock, churchylafemme

      "The world is getting warmer regardless of whatever happens with co2"

      This statement is factually, scientifically proven to be false.

      •  No apology neccessary (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        spotDawa, berkeleybarb

        some things about science:

        Scientifically, factually speaking it's impossible to prove a negative, so I don't know where you got that idea. Ice Age theory is in fact just a theory, (not factually proven!) the same as a lot of stuff going on in Paleoclimatology, but both will tell you that the earth has been through several ice ages that resulted from global warming trends long before humans existed. They think the warming was caused by co2 and that's the best we got. The point is if climate science is to be trusted (I think it is, and you apparently do too) it's happening whether you want it to or not, no matter how many air filters you buy.

        •  Ain't So (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          berkeleybarb

          factually speaking it's impossible to prove a negative

          Constant repetition doesn't make this falsehood true but one must first look at the nature of proof.

          Unlike theology, scientific truth is ephemeral.

          The best evidence we have supports the theory that global warming is at least accelerated by human activity.  Obviously it is not possible to haul the planet and its atmosphere into a laboratory and study it for millenia or more.  We are stuck with observational science.

          We are all pretty much in agreement that the threat is very real and quite lethal but certain knowledge is available only in another world that most of us seem unlikely to experience.

          Best,  Terry

  •  agree and disagree (7+ / 0-)

    You're right that taking CO2 out of the atmosphere is necessary to survival in the long run. Indeed, James Hansen has been pushing '350ppm' as the transcendent goal. I think adopting a lower target than current atmospheric concentrations (~385ppm) could actually positively affect political attitudes toward the problem as I believe that current goals in the 450ppm 550ppm range though technically more achievable are actually demotivating to people. Accepting 450ppm + means resigning ourselves to a permanently damaged world.

    It's really not well known that there is any possibility for CO2 to decline other than by waiting for centuries for it to 'go away'. Where I disagree with you is that manufactured 'trees' would have any role. Extraction of CO2 through chemical means from something as dissolute as the atmosphere takes phenomenal amounts of energy, and the energy inputs to manufacturing such a solution would chew up all the good the finished product would do.

    OTOH, biological processes - being self-powering - hold a lot of potential IF and only if we first make the necessary industrial emissions cuts to get close to a zero-carbon economy. Charcoaling through pyrolysis could take at least 7ppm out of the atmosphere per decade and has positive feedbacks in terms of agricultural productivity. Sustainable forestry and carbon-sequestered biomass energy are another couple of largely carbon-negative industries. Finally, 'supercharging' biological sequestration through biomimetic industrial processes, vats of algae, GM organisms etc may hold promise for more carbon negative action (emph on 'may').

    Cause for hope is that if we cause a 'peak' CO2 concentration of 450-500ppm (as opposed to a permanent level) we can probably pull through. Being up there for a decade or two wouldn't be enough to melt the ice sheets, and ecosystems might recover afterwards.

    As always, addressing fossil fuel emissions is the first and most important port of call for saving our skins.

    I have a delay pedal and I'm not afraid to use it.

    by droneboy on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 11:38:45 PM PDT

    •  Good Lord, A Bit of Light in the Darkness (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel, bfitzinAR, Sedi

      Thank you, droneboy.

      From the quoted article:

      For now, his machine, a solitary prototype, continues to hum away in the Tucson warehouse. With no good place to store the carbon dioxide it traps, the gas is simply released back into the air.

      If you consider that CO2 is what plants breathe, the solution is rather obvious.

      Finally, 'supercharging' biological sequestration through biomimetic industrial processes, vats of algae, GM organisms etc may hold promise for more carbon negative action (emph on 'may').

      Not only are the most potent clean energy sources neglected and even despised by "environmentalists" (biomass and geothermal) but the storage of the CO2 is a farce.

      BTW this not meant in any way as an attack on TocqueDeville, who does a great service trying to preach the true religion to the heathen.

      Best,  Terry

      •  So we have this machine (0+ / 0-)

        that pulls CO2 out of the air, and then releases it back into the air.

        Meanwhile, it is burning electricity from what sources?

        In 2007, out of 12,067 million kilowatthours generated, the Tucson Electric Power Company produced 10,970 million kwh from coal, 1,088 million kwh from gas, and 9 million kwh from solar.

        http://www.uns.com/...

        So, generating CO2 to capture and release C02.

        Brilliant.

        •  Frequently Asked Questions (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          spotDawa, terryhallinan, Spekkio

          Question: Can anyone join Daily Kos?

          Answer: Yes. There are no qualifications for joining Daily Kos. You do not have to have a degree, be educated, informed, knowledgeable, intelligent or rational. You just have to have an email account and know how to work it.

          Question: Can monkeys work email?

          Yes. Scientists in San Diego actually taught a monkey to not only work Hotmail, but to even type and read some words.

          •  Dang you, TocqueDeville (0+ / 0-)

            You take all the fun out of sciency stuff.

            BTW there is a company that not only extracts methane from animal manure but also retrieves nutrients to be reused as fertilizers.

            And what do the "environmentalists" think of saving the planet?

            Dreadful idea they say.

            The cows and pigs can no longer play in green meadows but must be penned up like common criminals. "How would you like it?" they ask.

            I wouldn't.  Gotta admit that. Maybe it is best we all roast together.

            Best,  Terry

            •  Animal rights people and (0+ / 0-)

              environmentalists have a whole lot of overlap, but I'm not sure this is one of the places.  CAFOs are absolutely nasty, evil, foul-smelling, water and air polluting places of torment for the animals living in them.  CAFOs produce more methane than any other single category.  That CAFOs should go away is something most environmentalists and animal rights people agree on.  However, THIS environmentalist thinks if we reduced the animal density by at least 25%, made it a more comfortable (humane even) place for the animals to live, and pumped that small river of manure and urine they spend their lives standing in to a facility that extracted methane for fuel use plus retrieved nutrients for fertilizer to replace the synthetics currently being used - it would be a great idea.  Maybe not "save the planet" but it's a piece of the answer.

        •  Prototypes are irritating that way. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          spotDawa

          Here in Fayetteville, they've been working on a bioconversion process that uses anaerobic bacteria to process garbage/sewage into ethanol and electricity.  It was 15 years in creation and since they've been testing this process (about 5 years now) they've generated over 100,000 gallons of ethanol that they were required to destroy rather than sell to help fund the research.  They went before Congress in 2006 to request loan guarantees (not loans, just guarantees) to build the first two commercial plants.  R-controlled Congress said, "Nope" so they're still trying to find funding to build plants that would have gone online this year, if the answer had been "Yep" - and still creating and destroying ethanol made from garbage.

      •  Perhaps you (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        spotDawa, Losty

        would find Geoengineering: Basic Principles of interest.

        I am a big believer in 'win-win-win' strategies, find ways to battle climate change that have benefits 'beyond' simply lowering CO2.  

        CO2 scrubbers might be the way to go, but let's find something useful to do with the output rather than spending resources to sequester it.

        •  Interesting blog, A. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel

          Terra-forming...Terra!  Who'd a thunk it?

          Are you familiar with Michio Kaku's civilization types?  It has been a while since I heard him talk about it, but it comes to mind in reference to your ideas.

          Thinking about whole systems and feedback loops is another discipline that comes to mind in your win-win-win formulation.  

          With an organic-type solution, very often two problems can be tackled with a single systemic solution that is only obvious when you are looking at the system as a whole.

          There's just something fundamentally incomplete about thinking about a single-problem/single-technology approach.  Too fragmented, too prone to  unintended side effects.

  •  I have three sons (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    spotDawa

    They are 15, 13, and 10 years old.

    I've already told them that they should not plan to have children.  I wanted to spare them the pain of leaving their children with such a horrifying future.

    I haven't forgotten The Path to 9/11, Disney. You're still dead to me.

    by beemerr on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 11:39:31 PM PDT

  •  I'm all ready dead! (0+ / 0-)

    . . . I believe to have interfered as I have done, . . . in behalf of His despised poor, was not wrong, but right.

    by johnbrown on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 11:40:40 PM PDT

  •  i will probably get lynched for this.... (7+ / 0-)

    Lets turn the world VEGETARIAN!!!!!
    Reducing the amount of C02 released by farm animals, frees up land for grains and food sources to feed the world, the third world as well, plus there will be plenty of room to plant trees which do what....? As an added bonus all that yummy vegetable produce actually eats the C02 in the atmosphere as it grows!
    and guess what......? its cheaper too!

    It almost sounds too good to be true!

    •  good luck with that. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      spotDawa
      •  if i can... (4+ / 0-)

        convince one person to go vege on this forum, I am reducing the amount of C02 released into the atmosphere.
        I think its a pretty good start.
        You have to start somewhere.

        And you have to have HOPE in humankind.

        I am an optimist. Shoot me.

        •  maybe (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Spekkio

          If one person stops eating meat you aren't creating any  significant change in the demand for meat so you aren't stop any meat from being produced... sorry.

          Anyone who has hope in mankind was probably sleeping during history class.

          I'm a pessimist, so I'll probably get around to shooting myself eventually.

          •  you are a pessimist! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            churchylafemme

            But my reasoning is that if i get one person to go vege, and they get one person to go vege, then it snowballs and howdy doody, you've got yourself a movement!

            •  It's all or nothing (0+ / 0-)

              my inner-pessimists predicts that even if you get the entire .5% of the nation that visits this website to stop eating meat and do affect the demand for meat, you're only gonna make meat cheaper and allow assholes like myself to eat more of it, thus balancing out the good you're doing. Also, the assholes like me will experience rapidly declining heart health, and co2 created by our ever expanding health care needs will far outweigh any of the good you've done, ruining the world and causing the end times to come a whole decade earlier. Abort!

        •  Target somewhat differently ... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PeterHug, Outrider, Sedi

          Getting people to reduce their meat intake, the interim step.

          Writ large, you are right.

          But, if it is hard to get people to drive less, to twist in that CFL, in our Big Mac culture, getting people to go vegetarian as a path to reduce carbon seems an unlikely path to get much following ...

          On the other hand, in this "forum", the idea that discussing meat consumption & its implications (health, food costs, pollution, and Global Warming) might be enough to convince people to start 'moving down' the food chain, even if that means reducing the level of meat consumption.

          In essence, that is what I/my family have done / are doing.  We are on a downward slope of meat consumption, buying/eating less.  

          But, you are right, a vegetarian diet is easier on the planet ...

          •  But vegetarianism is one of your win-wins (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel

            I agree that it is hard to sell as a means of reducing carbon (though convincing to some, I think).  There are health benefits to a vegetarian (or mostly vegetarian) diet that could be promoted as a public health effort.  Some of us find the industrial slaughter of animals morally problematic, and that convinces some people.  In fact, exposing people to how their meat is actually produced would be one of the best ways to promote vegetarianism.  As (I think) you point out, thinking about the environmental impacts can be part of a broader appeal to eating less meat.

            •  You are right ... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sedi

              that 'going vegetarian'/'moving down the food ladder' represents a win-win-win strategy.

              * Healthier * Less stressful on the planet in multiple ways * Ethics / morality * Less expensive (resource intensive)

              My thought is that there will be few who choose to go vege to save the planet.  Now, reduced intake?  With understanding of the win-win-win benefits?  Perhaps reduced meat intake (less, higher quality) is an easier thing to achieve than "vegetarianism".

              PS:  I give The Climate Project presentations, including to elementary school kids.  The last presentation I gave, a 4th grader made the (correct) point that going vegetarian was the best thing that any of her classmates could do re Global Warming.  (She / her family is vegetarian.)  

          •  Yes and no, depending what (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel, Cassandra Waites

            you are eating and how "raised".  If the meat you eat is pasture-raised, that animal is eating something you cannot, something that takes less petroleum and water inputs than something you can eat.  Ditto if the meat is wild (hunted by self, family, or friend).  Admittedly, that does not describe the meat most Americans eat.

            I eat somewhere between 3 & 4 pounds of meat a week, trying to keep it closer to 3, and doing my best to make most of that local and pasture-raised.

    •  BAN COW FARTS... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      spotDawa, nolabelle

      they release METHANE.

      Seriously.

    •  some info to make you think... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grollen, Outrider

      Global warming has been called humankind's "greatest challenge" and the world's most grave environmental threat, and science shows that one of the most effective ways to fight global warming is to go vegetarian.1

      Stars such as Sir Paul McCartney and Chrissie Hynde are lending their voices to share what science has already proven—that the meat industry is one of the leading sources of the greenhouse gases that lead to global warming.

      When asked what personal change people could make to help the environment, McCartney replied, "I think the biggest change anyone could make in their own lifestyle would be to become vegetarian." To read the complete interview with Sir Paul McCartney, visit PETA's blog The PETA Files.

      A 2006 United Nations report found that the meat industry produces more greenhouse gases than all the SUVs, Hummers, cars, trucks, planes, and ships in the world combined.2 Greenhouse gases cause global warming, which studies show will increasingly lead to catastrophic disasters—like droughts, floods, hurricanes, rising sea levels, and disease outbreaks—unless we drastically reduce the amounts emitted into the atmosphere.

      Many conscientious people are trying to help reduce global warming by driving more fuel-efficient cars and using energy-saving light bulbs, but they could do more simply by going vegetarian.

      The official handbook for the Live Earth concerts says that "refusing meat" is the "single most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint."3
      According to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than a half-million cars off U.S. roads.
      The University of Chicago reports that going vegan is 50% more effective than switching to a hybrid car in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

      More than Just CO2
      Raising animals for their flesh, eggs, and milk is one of the world’s leading emitters of carbon dioxide (CO2). But global warming is caused by more than just CO2. Animal agriculture is the leading source of methane and nitrous oxide emissions, which—combined with carbon dioxide—causes the vast majority of global warming.

      Methane: The billions of farmed animals crammed into factory farms produce enormous amounts of methane, both during digestion and from the acres of cesspools filled with feces that they excrete. Methane is more than 20 times as powerful as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in our atmosphere.5 Statistics from the Environmental Protection Agency show that animal agriculture is the number one source of methane emissions in the U.S.6
      Nitrous Oxide: Nitrous oxide is about 300 times more potent as a global warming gas than carbon dioxide. According to the U.N., the meat, egg, and dairy industries account for a staggering 65 percent of worldwide nitrous oxide emissions.7

      got to.....Peta for more info

    •  Except that there's ground that can't be planted (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bfitzinAR

      by humans but is very good for growing cows. Too steep for us, lovely for them.

      We need to cut back on meat and raise what we do eat in a sustainable manner.

      I know there are some people in the mountains who use goats instead of lawnmowers to keep the grass (seeded and tended by the natural selection method) around their homes cut short.

      And if you're not going to make fertilizer for the food plants out of oil anymore, it has to come from somewhere...

      •  From Fish --Oh, Wait nt (0+ / 0-)

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 12:01:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  fertilizer? (0+ / 0-)

        you do know you can grow plants without chemical fertilizers. It the amazing thing about the plant world.
        You can even use plant by products as fertilizers. its called ORGANICS
        Oh Yeah,  I forgot about all those really steep mountains in Texas. my bad.

        •  So people in Appalachia do not eat? (0+ / 0-)

          And I'm sure there's ground too rocky to plant without a great amount of energy expenditure removing boulders elsewhere in the country that grazing animals can be quite content on. Meat production does not have to be at the volume nor ecological destruction level that commercial agriculture currently operates on.

          Manure is also called ORGANICS.

          •  Right (0+ / 0-)

            cos the massive amounts of chemical fertilizers and hormones and antibiotics that are used in the US meat industry arent having any effect on the environment? they arent seeping into the waterways poisoning the earth?

            this is appetizing !!!!

            Do people in Appalachia solely survive on rotting flesh? they dont have any vegetables? You are telling me there are ABSOLUTELY NO flat areas of land in the Appalachians, every centimeter is steep and rocky? Plants take up less room than roaming livestock BTW.

          •  Them squirrels is good eatin'. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nolabelle
          •  um....FYI (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ClapClapSnap

            just another thought.........

            Factory farms are harmful to the environment as well. Each day, factory farms produce billions of pounds of manure, which ends up in lakes, rivers, and drinking water. A Missouri hog farm paid a $1 million fine for illegally dumping waste, causing the contamination of a river and the deaths of more than 50,000 fish.(26)

            Of all the agricultural land in the U.S., 80 percent is used to raise animals for food and grow the grain to feed them—that’s almost half the total land mass of the lower 48 states.(27) Chickens, pigs, cattle, and other animals raised for food are the primary consumers of water in the U.S.; for example, it takes more than 1,250 gallons of water to produce a pound of cow flesh, whereas it takes about 235 gallons of water to grow 1 pound of wheat.(28)

        •  West TX has those steep mountains (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassandra Waites

          you were snarking about (true they don't go above 8,000 ft), however most of TX has land very well suited for bison and only slightly less suited for cattle, but only eastern TX and the strip along the Gulf Coast naturally gets enough rain to grow food crops.  Shortgrass prairie can forage lots of bovines.  That same land can be turned into row crop farms, but the irrigation is draining the aquifers, much to the detriment of everybody.  You are right that organic, pasture-raised animals do not have anything like the massively negative environmental impacts noted by those who only seem to know about CAFOs.

      •  growing cows? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Outrider, ClapClapSnap

        I always thought it was raising cows, but then I guess with all the genetic modification going on, there is a possibility of science creating cow seeds.

        ......... cows raised for the meat and dairy industries are far removed from sun-drenched pastures and nursing calves.

        Cattle raised for beef may be born in one state, fattened in another, and slaughtered in yet another. They are fed an unnatural diet of high-bulk grains and other “fillers,” which can include expired dog and cat food, poultry feces, and leftover restaurant food.(12) They are castrated, their horns are ripped out, and they have third-degree burns inflicted on them (branding)—all without any painkillers. During transportation, cattle are crowded into metal trucks, where they suffer from trampling, temperature extremes, and lack of food, water, and veterinary care. At the slaughterhouse, cattle may be hoisted upside-down by their hind legs and dismembered while they are still conscious. The kill rate in a typical slaughterhouse is 400 animals per hour, and “the line is never stopped simply because an animal is alive,” according to one slaughterhouse worker.(13)

        YUMMY!

        •  That's the commercial CAFO process (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassandra Waites

          and yes, it's nasty, evil, inhumane, and not very environmentally friendly.  However, it is the process and not the meat on the table that is the problem here.  Most of the meat I eat comes from cattle raised in the same pasture they were born in and ear-tagged rather than branded.  OK, yes, the males are castrated, but none of the rest applies.  They are slaughtered at a local/regional processing plant that does "kosher" so the animal is most certainly dead - and humanely killed - before being turned into hamburger.

          If we address the real issue - how is this meat derived - rather than just who is eating what, we can possibly correct that issue.  Pragmatically, unless a much larger group of people than is likely actually go vegetarian all at once, the meat industry will just sell it to somebody else or for pet food or something and you depriving yourself of something your body makes very good use of (in moderation) will make no difference in the environmental arena.

  •  It's a trick. I should have figured it out ... (8+ / 0-)

    ...before. Clearly, you knew about this guy before you wrote your previous Diary that put the fear of secular apocalypse into the air around here. Really grim stuff. And then you let that settle into all the nooks and crannies and interstices of our brains.

    And now out comes this Deus Ex Machina that will save us. An expensive machine when each one that will be needed is accounted for. An expensive machine whose patent will soon be sold to a consortium led by Exxon-Mobil and Peabody Coal. I'll bet you're going to get a big slice of that, ain't you?

    < /snark>

    The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose. - Frederick Douglass

    by Meteor Blades on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 11:49:58 PM PDT

  •  I learned about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    churchylafemme, berkeleybarb

    a similar (the same) technology a couple years ago when watching a special on PBS about global warming hosted by Alanis Morissette.

    Think of all the jobs that would be created if we manufactured enough of these to suck the carbon out of the air?

  •  Choking Palms, CA (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sidonie, berkeleybarb

    If we could harness the windmill turbines dotting the Palm Springs surrounds and convert them to CO2 scrubbers, we would have a perfect solution, doubling in effect the acreage.

    One concern I would have would be somewhat ameliorated by use there too:  the depletion and relative local max and mins of CO2 concentration.  Would plants die in the vicinity of a farm of these, unless designed properly?

    I should read the article, I guess!  But the thought of an oxygen-rich Palm Springs spontaneously combusting one July afternoon amuses me.

    One more thing.  Let's compare this contraption to a passive alternative.  How does the efficiency (pounds of CO2 per square mile per day) look?

    I've participated in similar projects, from the ground floor, and it can be very heady stuff, indeed!

    Very exciting!  Thanks for the news.

  •  How much would it cost to re-forrest.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, FishOutofWater

    ...the Sahara and keep it healthy?

    The carbon uptake of a forest is about 300g per square meter each year.

    The area of the Sahara is about 9,000,000 km^2, which is 9 trillion square meters.

    So, a Sahara sized forest would sequester 2.7 quadrillion grams of carbon each year.  Thats about 7 million tonnes of carbon each day.  Or the equivalent of 140 million of the Lackner machines.

    Now, reforesting the Sahara and maintaining it would be hideously expensive.  But the end result would give us a system that is largely solar powered.  It could also have other benefits too: the trees could be fruit bearing trees.  Or maybe some other vegetation would be more appropriate.

    Think about it...doesn't it make more sense to use an option that has the potential to provide most of its own power and upkeep?  A forest has the capacity for regeneration, these machines do not.  If we designed and implemented it right, not only would it regenerate itself, but it would also install itself as well. Of course, we'd be destroying the desert eco-system....but global warming probably won't be too kind to it, either.

    -5.75 -4.72 3.14159 2.71828

    by xynz on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 12:48:41 AM PDT

  •  The cost will come down severalfold (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, Sedi

    One of the consequences of our government Just Not Giving a Shit is that it doesn't create a profit motive to build these sorts of devices.  Our expenditures on energy R&D (public and private) are something like 1/10th what we spend on pharmaceutical R&D.  In the 1970s, those numbers were roughly equal.

    fivethirtyeight.com: electoral projections done right.

    by poblano on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 12:57:35 AM PDT

  •  Wrong view of the world - Love is the antidote (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    spotDawa, Outrider, bfitzinAR

    There is no technical fix for the environment. It is Hamilton-based and the only real antidote to Power is  Love. The antidote is Jefferson. That is, the antidote to Hamilton is not anti-Hamilton - Marx is  the anti-Hamilton - the antidote is Jefferson and a Jeffersonian view of the world. Hamilton is the Power Principle, which won the hearts and minds of America in the early 1800s. Jefferson was the organic counterforce. Hamilton believed in a singular national and eventually world government to build capital and industry - one industrial world with one center (New York) in which regions and communities had now power. Marx's view evolved simultaneously and parrallel in Europe as a dissident approach to Hamilton capitalism. Jefferson hated Hamilton: Jefferson saw a world of communities with relationships built through agrarian people united by neighborhood, friendship, fraternity and town relationships. Technical fixes for the environment merely change the execution and only temporarily; smaller cars for example, which we have seen before, but within a decade and certainly within a generation, the cars always get bigger (everything gets bigger in the Power Principle - even sheep). Jefferson believed in small; in a word, Jefferson believed in Love-based communities rather than Power-based (Hamilton) communities. The antidote to Power is not anti-Power because anti-Power is a kind of Power (see Marx). The antidote to Power is Love.

    More at:
    http://bernieq.blogspot.com/...

  •  Machines won't work (3+ / 0-)

    It tries to solve a diffuse problem with point sinks. It's very expensive, but not very effective.

    A large part of our CO2 problems comes from cutting down and burning forests. We need to restore forests and find ways to increase natural uptake of CO2.

    Natural removal processes involve enormous quantities of CO2. They can be enhanced and their rates can be increased.

    "It's the planet, stupid."

    by FishOutofWater on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 03:35:10 AM PDT

    •  Take too long (4+ / 0-)

      Every natural sequestration model I've seen takes as much as 50 years just to kick in. Don't get me wrong. We absolutely need to do everything you just mentioned and more.

      As for the effectiveness, I can certainly see a lot of room for improvement in Lackner's machine. But if his numbers are correct, which I assume they are, then they are at least effective enough to do the job and do it pretty quickly.

      It's ironic. The two most interested people I know on here, other than myself, in the science of climate change are wasting time playing naysayers and nitpicking when all I'm advocating in this diary is to support the technology and see where we can take it.

      The technology presented above could, if we all agreed to do it, completely offset our global carbon emissions within 10 years. Name me one other plan that can say that.

      All I'm saying is invest and see how much better we can make it. What is your problem with that? Or did you just pop in to be negative and contrarian.

      •  Hamilton v. Jefferson/Confucius v. Lao Tsu (0+ / 0-)

        American-based power comes from Hamilton's world view but is perceived via the Roman model - John Adam, Hamilton, all wanted a Roman empire, but especially Hamilton. Jefferson was the organic antidote and the fate of the U.S. was inherently Hamilton/Jefferson until Jefferson died in 1826. China's Confucius-based model is quite similar to the Roman vision but what makes it different is Lao Tsu - Lao Tsu (The Tao te Ching) was a contemporary of Confucius and his model of yielding power was a disident view to Confucius; thus, China has had the ability to ride power and yield power over the milennia. The England/U.S. model has no such antidote: our antidote is crash and burn.

      •  I don't fight thermodynamics (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        spotDawa, bfitzinAR

        Machines will require large amounts of energy to run.

        I'm all for research and demonstration concerning this product or improved products. I'm not saying don't look at potential solutions like this product.

        I'm saying we must do the calculations correctly to determine whether this product would help or would be the equivalent of ethanol from corn.

        Some things sound good but don't work as intended.

        We're going to need to crunch the numbers.

        I suspect this machine won't work.

        See title for why.

        "It's the planet, stupid."

        by FishOutofWater on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 04:44:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thermodynamic has nothing to do with it (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hyperstation, Spekkio, Sedi

          This argument was sufficiently addressed in the diary.

          This isn't a perpetual motion machine. The 2nd law is irrelevant. If these machines were powered by nuclear then they would be successful. Or solar or wind. I clearly laid out in my diary that plugging these into the coal grid would negate the purpose.

          I also said I don't know specifically how much energy his prototype requires. But I am pretty certain that is something that will need to be improved upon. But regardless, how much nuclear energy would you be willing to use to stop the climate catastrophe?

          I've opposed nuclear energy my whole adult life. But I would gladly use it to power farms of these machines if they could help stop global warming.

          SO, in summation, the laws of thermodynamics are not even applicable here. But providing clean energy for these things will be a challenge.

          Also, keep in mind these aren't permanent. We run the machines for 20 years, dramatically reduce emissions by maximizing efficiency, switching to clean renewables, and implementing other sequestration methods, and we restore CO2 levels to 1960 levels. Eventually, we don't need them anymore.

          I know it's a long shot. Or at least very challenging. But unless we get the CO2 out of the atmosphere we're fucked. This is a light at the end of the tunnel.

      •  Algae could Sequester CO2 and be used for Biomass (0+ / 0-)

        Good articles available here...
        http://www.sciencedaily.com/...
        and here...
        http://govdocs.aquake.org/...

        Until ultra capacitors are available to recharge batteries that can be 90% charged in ten minutes (Altairnano and A123)for all-electric cars, PHEV's could be run using biomass produced from algae. Until coal fired electricity is replaced by concentrated solar, CO2 could be sequestered by algae; it would be a win-win.  Algae by-product suld also be used as calf feedstock.

        "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

        by NFormed View on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 05:28:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Trying to be nice (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Morlock, spotDawa, bfitzinAR, berkeleybarb

    when I say this, but yes, we are all going to die. You didn't know that? Biologically and ecologically, there are TOO MANY HUMANS on this earth. All you have to do is look around you. Look at the population of any species over time. You don't need to be a mystic to see that war, disease, famine and pestilence are this planet's means of controlling populations.

    We are bound to be reduced in a big way. As it should be. You have today. Maybe only this hour. Spend it in a panicked scrambling about attempting to change nature's rules or enjoy what you have as much as you can right now.

    As if we could make things better without making them worse.

    by A Voice on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 04:06:36 AM PDT

  •  Excellent diary Tocque... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nowheredesign, Spekkio, berkeleybarb

    thank you brother.  It may be too late to preserve the biosphere but it can't hurt to try eh?

    "The truth shall set you free - but first it'll piss you off." Gloria Steinem

    Iraq Moratorium

    by One Pissed Off Liberal on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 04:16:35 AM PDT

  •  This is the wrong approach (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    spotDawa, berkeleybarb

    If you really wanted to solve this problem technologically and with money, it would make more sense to only build electric vehicles instead of gasoline powered ones and to invest massively in nuclear (the fastest deployable solution), solar, wind, and geothermal power plants - taking the worst plants (coal) offline as fast as possible.

    We're pro-choice on everything! - Libertarian slogan

    by CA Libertarian on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 04:39:09 AM PDT

    •  Nuclear isn't the fastest solution - (0+ / 0-)

      it has a 5-10 (usually 10, with cost overruns) build time.  Wind, solar thermal, and bioconversion plants have anywhere from 6 months to 24 months build time (wind and bioconversion are modular, so you start getting production before the entire plant is online).  Photovoltaic is fastest, even if you consider the "solar panel build time" in addition to how long it takes to install them.

      The issue is largely who pays upfront costs.  Solar photovoltaic is not being built at anything like the rate it should be, because the upfront costs are primarily being born by the property owner.  Ditto the smaller wind units.  Some wind is being built by AEP - less than 1% of their power generation, but still more than any other company.  Bioconversion is new enough it can't get startup funding (which is really stupid, because bioconversion makes ethanol as well as electricity - and can do so from otherwise-landfilled garbage/sewage).  Nukes are subsidized to build and subsidized to run and subsidized to deal with the waste - and take much too long to build to be even a part of a viable solution to our looming crisis.

      •  Nuclear is slow because of NIMBY (0+ / 0-)

        We need to streamline the process, because nuclear has to be part of the solution.

        Among other things, the resistance to Yucca Mountain is ridiculous.  You've got people bickering about whether waste will last 1000 or 10000 years there, and meanwhile we've got waste piling up in a 100 different locations that are far more insecure, far more prone to earthquake risk, far more prone to get into local water supplies.

        Sure you can put up solar and wind plants faster, but they don't have the proven scale of nuclear.  Also nuclear provides far, far cheaper power than solar and wind today.  Technology will change that, but we have to allow for a longer ramp for those alternative energies.

        We're pro-choice on everything! - Libertarian slogan

        by CA Libertarian on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 06:09:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  We won't all die... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    spotDawa, berkeleybarb

    in about 100 years the human race will be reduced to a small population of a few thousand living on the now completely snow-free continent of antarctica.

    The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion. --Thomas Paine

    by David Kroning on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 04:44:54 AM PDT

  •  Plan B. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonmug, Sedi

    I'm not against artificial CO2 sequestering per se, but it doesn't accomplish much else and would divert a huge amount of economic resources away from a vastly more productive and reliable technology with the ability to solve other pressing problems such as hunger, loss of potable water, soil errosion and increasing surface temperatures (that tend to drive more power consumption).

    Plants.

    Cheap, available, technology today.

    Oh fuck. Never mind. No sex appeal. Nothing in it for multinational corporations. Or bloggers. Or geeks.

    Sorry, I'm so simple-minded somtimes I act a little crazy.

    When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

    by koNko on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 04:54:15 AM PDT

  •  Here's a stupid question. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    berkeleybarb

    Is is feasible to manufacture collectors small and efficient enough to fit in every single car, therefore minutely spreading costs to the consumer, while portions of the profit go to manufacturing large units?

    Hopeful and scary diary simultaneously, TocqueDeville.

    :)

    ::::

    ...Operation Rota is Closed... New Blog Coming Soon With Pictures!...

    by nowheredesign on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 04:54:29 AM PDT

    •  I must confess that was my first thought. (0+ / 0-)

      But then I stopped to consider:  what this scientist, Klaus Lackner, has actually done...

      ...is invented the tree.

      I wonder how a cost/benefit analysis of Dr. Lackner's machine vs. planting and maintaining lots of trees would work out...

      It ain't called paranoia - when they're really out to get you. 6 points.

      by Jaime Frontero on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 12:01:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fascinating Stuff... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    berkeleybarb

    I remember seeing a short expose on Lackner's prototype on some PBS show (perhaps Scientific American Frontiers) about a year back.  It certainly would seem to be worth the initial investment to build ten or more full-scale units for demonstration and study.

    This all reminds me of that eerily prophetic sci-fi book from the 80s, The Last Gasp, by Trevor Hoyle.  IIRC, a number of filter units were built as a last-ditch effort to confront the runaway greenhouse apocalypse, but by then it was too late.

    My wife and I both had nightmares for a week after we finished the book.  And every time I hear about wildfires in Southern California or devastating winters in Britain, I still catch myself thinking, "Now it begins..."

  •  Thanks for all the research... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bfitzinAR, berkeleybarb, Sedi

    a very interesting post.

    You should retitle it: Our great-grandchildren are going to die, and we don't give a shit.

    I think that the reason that people aren't marching in the streets about cleaning our atmosphere is due to what I'll call the "smoker's rationale."

    People who smoke know that it's going to kill them, but it's always "off in the future."  If a person smoked a pack of cigarettes and then proceeded to hack out a piece of lung, they'd have a hell of an incentive to quit.  But that piece of lung might not get hacked out for 10 or 20 more years.  It's always "off in the future."

    Your flag lapel pin won't get you into heaven anymore... Remember, only a few dollars separate eccentric from insane...

    by wry twinger on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 05:11:12 AM PDT

  •  Saturate Low Earth Orbit with sand (0+ / 0-)

    $5.6 trillion could lift 2.3 million tons of silicon fragments (think mirrors) into a set of orbital configurations forming a sphere around the planet in low earth orbit, to add to the albedo of the planet, reflecting out sunlight and blocking insolation of the Earth.

    The risk to satellites and manned craft would of course be raised considerably but if everyone on Earth dies there is not much point to manned space travel, now is there?

    Since infall would clear out the particles over time, this would not be a permanent condition but likewise repeat dosages could block out as much sunlight as you needed.

    Of course, it would be more cost-effective to set up a mine on the Moon and relocate 10 times as much material to low Earth orbit but that might take time we do not have setting up the infrastructure.

    Also it would give the aerospace industry something better to do than designing new ways to bring the means to end life higher, faster and further.

    It would not take much of a change in insolation to alter the balance... or buy time for more terrestrial solutions.

    more money, more votes, more delegates and more class means more electable.

    by cskendrick on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 05:29:09 AM PDT

    •  Why (0+ / 0-)

      would we want to introduce another environmental disruption (in this case sunlight reaching earth not to mention decaying silicon falling back to earth) when we can just remove the environmental disruption causing the problems?

      •  Critical limit is time. You said so yourself. (0+ / 0-)

        You also said yourself in comments that trying other approaches (natural sequestration) should be attempted as well.

        At the end of the day the issue is the planet is overheating because of the CO2 blanket retaining more heat as a result of sunlight.

        So, I am thinking we are solving the same issue here.

        more money, more votes, more delegates and more class means more electable.

        by cskendrick on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 05:46:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tell us something we don't know (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonmug, bfitzinAR

    Perhaps what you should have titled it was "We're All Going to Die Horribly and Prematurely (If We Don't Turn This Country Around)". Otherwise great diary.

    Terra preta may actually be something we can use to sequester large amounts of stable carbon. It's one form of carbon that will stay in the soil for well over a thousand years.

    I highly recommend Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. The bottom line is that if we don't turn things around is that the rich people get to starve last.

    "Never have so few taken so much from so many for so long."

    by londubh on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 05:55:03 AM PDT

  •  there is no deus ex machina (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raines, wonmug, bfitzinAR

    It is hard to convince people to take changing our lifestyles seriously and making an effort to fight climate change when they think we can roll out machines that will make it all better and even undo past ills. People would probably increase production of CO2 to compensate, its just like putting another $50 in the pocket of a gambling addict.

    I don't mean to be cynical, but I think everyone keeps looking for technology to rescue us, and yes, technology will be part of it, but I don't think it will ever be that big a part. The Republicans don't even talk about changing our lifestyles to affect global warming, they just talk about technology saving us all, like the Rapture.

    It is cool that this technology exists, but we won't have the clean energy capacity to run these things for decades, if ever, and who knows how much energy goes into making these things, not to mention pollution and raw materials, mining, etc. People thought biofuels were a deus ex machina too, and from the beginning they were blind to the obvious consequences of using food to fuel cars, and just now finally they are starting to wake up and see the obvious.

    Having said that, I think looking into biological options for scrubbing CO2 might be more effective, easier and have far fewer negative side effects.

    •  Biofuels are a necessary part (0+ / 0-)

      of the answer - only R-controlled media and farm subsidy recipients (and their hired congresscritters) ever pushed for food-based fuel.  (Neither Hillary nor Obama are pushing food-based ethanol, they both call for "homegrown" but that just means not imported.)  Enviros were talking about switchgrass, agri waste (yes, I know UK critics don't believe in agri waste, but American corporate farms have lots of agri waste), and cellulosic ethanol from the beginning.  And I know of - and keep talking about - bioconversion, which uses anaerobic bacteria to convert garbage/sewage, agri wastes, and even - heaven forbid - coal into ethanol and electricity with zero emissions.  Food v fuel is how the Rs keep us on petroleum.

  •  There's also this Atmos thing (0+ / 0-)

    but I hear it has serious side effects...
    /sorry, Doctor Who reference - couldn't help myself.

    The Republicans were right about one thing - The media is irresponsible.

    by nightsweat on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 05:55:59 AM PDT

  •  ToqueDeville - question (0+ / 0-)

    from my husband.  What does Dr. Lackner's CO2 capturing machine run on?  He's wondering if it creates CO2 in order to capture CO2.  Thanks.

    White woman over 50 for OBAMA!! (Endorsed 6/07)

    by nolalily on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 06:05:43 AM PDT

  •  Another piece of the puzzle (0+ / 0-)

    Technology is going to play a big (but not the only, as noted by the diarist and several comments) part in averting catastrophe, and it is nice to see people getting excited about solutions. So let's get things going! We need funding for research and education to start the green tech revolution!

  •  I would like this man's contact info (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    apfapfapf

    TocqueDeville,

       I would very much like this man's contact info and an introduction if you've met him. I need to know capital costs and what he is doing for commercialization right away ... my email is in my profile.

          -SW

  •  and what do we hear from the candidates? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonmug, martydd

    <crickets chirping>

    All three of them.  Quiet as a mouse.  

    Yes, I know, if you dig into their plans they address energy to some degree.  But none of the three give it the attention it deserves.  None of them.  Same thing with poverty.  Those are issues for Gore and Edwards.  Not for presidential candidates.  Makes me ill.

    I am an Edwards Democrat.

    by ThirstyGator on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 06:19:29 AM PDT

    •  That's because nobody listens when (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassandra Waites

      they talk about it.  They can and do talk about energy independence, and going green for that reason.  That gets the crowd cheering, especially when green-collar jobs are tossed into the mix.  But talk about GW?  Crickets.  They can't talk about poverty, either.  They can talk about keeping the middle class out of poverty - that's a winner, but folks already in it, not so much.  I think both poverty and GW are too scary for the general public right now.  Both too close and things folks just feel helpless about.  So they sit there, quiet, maybe even a little irritated, until the subject is changed.

  •  awesome diary! wish this was begun tomorrow (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spekkio

    just a curious side note:

    what does 70 million tons of CO2 look like when it has been extracted from the air?  And where do you put it?

    If it's in solid form that would be one hell of a large chunk of dry ice!

    "circular firing squad" rhetoric = IOKIYAAD

    by pullbackthecurtain on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 06:27:24 AM PDT

  •  the only thing keeping us from (0+ / 0-)

    driving hydrogen cars is political will.

    Alternative energy can be developed and implemmented much faster with direct government involvement. Costing much less than a Trillion dollars.

    •  The only thing keeping us from driving (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Outrider

      ...hydrogen cars is technology. Well, that's not the only thing. But it's the first thing.

      Right now it takes about as much energy to produce pure hydrogen as the energy you get out of the hydrogen once you have it. This is called a sink. Any energy source can become a sink when it takes as much or more energy to mine, extract, transport and deliver the energy source as the energy source will put out.

      As for the political will, I'm not so sure. Bush's big hydrogen initiative was nothing but a way to put off doing anything so the oil companies can keep selling gas. So we have this big hydrogen pitch when right now we could all be driving electric cars.

      Electric cars get their energy from coal and nuclear plants. But they are still more efficient, cleaner, and don't require foreign oil.

      They also would set us up when we move to clean renewable electricity like solar and wind, geothermal etc.

      But they completely put big oil out of the picture as a transportation fuel. Hydrogen, not so. Big oil is already envisioning hydrogen pumps they can sell from. None of this plugging in to the house thing. Thus the "political will" to push hydrogen.

      Imagine a situation where you have solar panels powering your house or neighborhood, maybe some wind thrown in. And your car charges from that source.

      This is big oil and big coals worst nightmare. But it is civilizations only hope.

      •  electric cars (0+ / 0-)

        are great, but they also have a technological problem--they don't go far enough.

        •  and a solution to improve fuel cells (0+ / 0-)

          involves... yes.. HYDROGEN!

        •  Just requires a change in (0+ / 0-)

          thinking.  Even when I was driving to work instead of carpooling or riding the bus (I do both, depending on whether or not my neighbor is going to work the same time I do), I still didn't drive in a single day more than the charge on an EV.  It would mean consciously deciding to rent something for a "road trip vacation" or hauling garden stuff for those of us who only do that sort of thing once or twice a year.

      •  how much of the worlds oil will we use? (0+ / 0-)

        every last drop - then we short big oil stock?

      •  Yes, even with electricity from coal (0+ / 0-)

        or other fossil or mined fuels power plants average 80% efficiency, while internal combustion engines average 80% inefficiency.  Heck, we'd be more efficient if we set our houses up on batteries like the off the grid people have, run our houses on them and then recharged once a week (and did the "heavy stuff" like laundry or power tools work while recharging).  Even with today's relatively clumsy battery technology, we'd save energy.  (At least as long as we didn't all try to recharge at the same time.)  EVs won't "save us" any more than any other single thing, but they will/would be a part of that solution.  (I'm keeping my '83 Datsun until I can get a flex-fuel plug-in hybrid, if I can't get an EV.)

  •  We're Still all going to die (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bfitzinAR

    but when and how are the important questions, second to the question how we'll live.

    You can't get away with the crunch, 'cuz the crunch always gives you away

    by dnamj on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 06:31:52 AM PDT

  •  and I am all for these machines, and trees.. (0+ / 0-)

    let a thousand flowers grow.
    It will take everything we have to deal with this problem.

  •  Isaac Asimov - Threats to Humanity (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk

    I found this clip of a speech given by Isaac Asimov in 1989 that gives some added perspective on global warming.

    He and Frederik Pohl wrote one of the first books I read and could trust on pollution and the environment Our Angry Earth.

    "Never have so few taken so much from so many for so long."

    by londubh on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 06:42:32 AM PDT

  •  heh! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spekkio

    I love coincidence!

    I linked to Time to Tell the Truth About Global Warming in a essay on DD yesterday!

    http://www.docudharma.com/...

  •  I'll tell you how to make this scheme economic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spekkio

    Pure carbon dioxide, once extracted from the atmosphere can become a valuable resource.  With the addition of energy, one can affect what is known as a reverse water-gas shift with hydrogen to convert carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide and water.  Carbon monoxide + hydrogen, known as syngas, can be converted through use of a catalyst into methane (natural gas) on up to a wide range of long-chain hydrocarbons (see Fischer-Tropsch reaction).  

    So, CO2 pulled from the atmosphere could be a raw material for producing everything we current manufacture from petroleum, from plastics to jet fuel.  This way we could continue to supply essential hydrocarbons in a carbon-neutral manner, eliminate the dependency on fossil fuels and the Middle East, with the revenue generated helping to offset the cost of the carbon sequestration component.  The only hitch: we'd need energy to run the co2 extraction, to provide high-grade process heat to thermochemically produce hydrogen from water and to drive the catalytic hydrocarbon manufacture process... this would demand a shit-load of high-grade power to run (e.g. 100s GW), which would basically demand nuclear power.  However, GenIV technology could do this with a 60- to 100-fold increase in Uranium utilization efficiency and consequent high-level waste reduction.  Indeed, next generation nuclear could run such a process for centuries using existing depleted Uranium and Gen I, II, III reactor "waste", virtually obviating the need to mine more uranium!  

    What are we waiting for, lets get started!

    The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

    by mojo workin on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 06:51:22 AM PDT

    •  The energy source for conversion of CO2 (0+ / 0-)

      has been around for quite a long time now-the sun. The process is photosynthesis.

      Good articles available here... http://www.sciencedaily.com/... and here...
      http://govdocs.aquake.org/...

      "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

      by NFormed View on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 07:45:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The problem we run up against is entropy (0+ / 0-)

        or the quality of the energy.  Diffuse, relatively weak energy, is hard to harness to do work creating practical issues.

        The solar constant is 1370 W/m2.  Atmospheric losses will knock this down to about 1kw/m2 if you're lucky.  The sun shines only 1/2 of the day and the incidence angle varies from 0 to a noon maximum and back again, so the total flux will be roughly 1/2 again.  Lets ignore cloudy days to be generous... so, mean 24 hr energy will be 250W/m2.  Now, the converstion efficiency of photosynthesis in fixing carbon is about 4.5% (very roughly: see http://www.fao.org/... ), so our solar energy source for plants coverting co2 is now down to an equivalent of 11W/m2 on an average (24x7).  So we fix co2 with net effective power of 11W/m2, but now we have to harvest the plant matter to sequester the carbon... that takes energy.  Then we have to provide other inputs (fertilzer and whatnot), all taking energy... Its not looking so good at this point.  

        Now, take a 2GWth nuclear reactor using the heat for thermochemical conversion.  Assume losses of 50% in collecting the CO2 and hydrogen production, and 50% again driving the syngas conversion process it leaving 500MW of 24x7 power available in fixing carbon.  That would be the equivalent of 40,000,000 square meters of land, or 40 square km., doing the work by the sun.  [Note: I'm just using order of magnitude approximations to give an idea of scale... I don't intend any specific number to be exact, but just to give a sense of magnitude overall.]

        A plant driven by a reactor complex of 4 units would exceed the carbon fixing ability of 100-200 sq. km. of land, and we haven't factored in the energy cost (and co2 emissions) of cultivating this much land and sequestering the biomass!  And, I think this land would be much better off growing food anyway (which isn't sequestration because we eat it and exhale co2 as we convert the food into energy).

        The other factor is that we still need hydrocarbons.  Plastics, liquid fuels are essential to our economy.  Aircraft, for example, MUST use high-grade liquid fuels.  This process would provide liquid hydrocarbons, without oil, by pullling the CO2 from the air!  Carbon-neutral jet fuel, gasoline, diesel fuel would be the result.

        So, to sum up, I think there is much room for debate and there are fundamental issues with solar due to its diffuse nature.

        The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

        by mojo workin on Thu May 01, 2008 at 05:40:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great Diary (0+ / 0-)

    Tocque, thanks for the insights.  So far your/our sense of urgency is in the minority but hopefully after a regular pattern of large hurricanes & typhoons, increasing numbers of tornadoes, and growing crop failures such as Australia's drought amidst our growing calls for change, and we will get started down the road to recovery.  I live in hope that this will come before it is too late.  Given the shared threat (Europe: flooding & freezing due to stopped Gulf Stream, China: flooding & desertification, Australia: desertification, US: flooding & desertification, etc.) there is grounds for hope.

    In an earlier post,  "wondering if" turned me on to fast growing grasses & biomass for use in both hydrocarbons as well as biochar for fertilizer.  Check out this article about this technology as it may be a good addition to the energy portfolio.  There is at least one company that is well established doing this.

    If you want to see the challenge we are facing in getting to carbon neutral, check out this spreadsheet of the US energy production by source contribution.      In this spreadsheet, it shows the US growth rate in MWh electricity consumption.  Now, just suppose that we needed to eliminate the ~50% of our electricity source from coal along with a steeper growth rate from pluggable hybrids and more mass transit via electrified light rail.  That's a lot of MWh we need to replace as well as provide for steep growth from non-carbon emitting sources.

    I am working on a project to analyze the Solar Photovoltaic manufacturing industry.  While it is early in the project, it is depressing to see that the lead in solar PV panel manufacture seems to be in China.  Stay tuned.  There is an excellent article in today's NYT railing against the McCain/Clinton gas tax holiday.  You want jobs and a growing economy, Washington?  How about getting off your ass and stop protecting the status quo, return the oil lobby money, alter the tax code to promote alternative sources like wind and solar and sit back to watch the magic like in Germany.

    I also think that nuclear power is an inescapable part of the solution however there are better designs (fast reactors) that use all of the fuel and  what is left over can be recycled.  There is a recent IAEA publication that describes how much energy is available from our current fuel resources if this approach is used.  See the PDF page 10 table A-2.  Only 5000-6000 years versus 85 years using the current designs/approach coupled with lots of radioactive waste.  Meanwhile we should still be working on fusion research.

    We're literally the frogs in warming water.  The test is whether we will realize that there is a problem and take action before it's too late.

  •  Wasn't there some method discovered recently (0+ / 0-)

    that takes carbon dioxide, water and electricity and makes fuel oil?

    Plus several ways of breaking down organic wastes to produce fuel oil?

    Our dependence on fuel oil is not helpful in the least, but nor will it disappear in short order. Catalytic fuel creation, powered by carbon-light electricity, and thermal depolymerization, powered either by carbon-light electricity or carbon-efficient fuels, would be helpful. It would mean less refining of crude oil, by a bit.

    "I decided to force-feed him, but he wouldn't eat... I hated myself for making him eat, but I hated him more for not eating."

    by Shaviv on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 07:09:50 AM PDT

  •  What if we reforested all over the planet... (0+ / 0-)

    ...got our asses into cities and reforested suburban areas and such as? Don't trees process CO2 and change it into something yummy we can all use? Why would we wan't to store all the bad gas when we have the most wonderful processing machines ever "devised" already? Am I missing something? We can all stop eating the bodies of cows and MacDonalds can start replacing the forest they've destroyed in the Amazon. That'd be a start.

    (¯`*._(¯`*._(-IMPEACH-)_.*´¯)_.*´¯) It's not too late!

    by nehark on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 07:20:23 AM PDT

  •  My mother always said... (0+ / 0-)

    You can kill their women and you can rape their children - but don't ever fuck with their money.

  •  So here's the solution (0+ / 0-)

    Build one of these filters into every car sold and run it off the car's power plant.

    Problem solved.

    Well, except for a few minor details, like what to power the car on. But we can work those out, right?

    </snark>

    Let's tell [the American people] the truth, that there are no gains without pains, that we are now on the eve of great decisions. Adlai Stevenson

    by Omir the Storyteller on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 07:46:52 AM PDT

  •  can we please (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Morlock, bfitzinAR

    quit calling it Global Warming and start calling it Ecological Collapse? that would be a start cause you don't complain about the sniffles when you've got a case of EBOLA! No joke.

    Say something you don't agree with!

    by Christian Coulon on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 08:02:00 AM PDT

  •  I'm late to the party here (0+ / 0-)

    but bra-effing-vo to you, TocqueDeVille.  Great diary.

    One of the reasons I'm considering an MBA is to get involved with these exciting new industries.

    Never has it been clearer to me that this nation will get the President it deserves.

    by Scarpia on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 08:16:50 AM PDT

  •  There are problems with nuclear power. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra Waites, bfitzinAR

    For instance, where are we going to store the waste? One of the reasons for the holdup for the Yucca Mountain project is the fact that there are holes and cracks in the place. And it is right along a fault line of an earthquake. But even then, there is only a finite amount of waste that we can store there.

    The other solution for nuclear waste is to recycle it into electricity and create a situation where it is 100% recyclable. But the technology does not exist to achieve that yet. For the proponents of nuclear energy to prove that it is safe, they have to prove either that the Yucca Mountain facility will be able to meet all of our nuclear needs or that we can achieve 100% reprocessing.

    •  Yucca Mountain is not only (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eternal Hope, Cassandra Waites

      unstable and along a fault line, it's directly over a major aquifer and is on land sacred to Native Americans.  They couldn't have found a worse place if they tried (except maybe in the basements of all the elementary schools in America).  And to top it off, transporting the stuff over public highways and rail puts it way too close to urban areas on the way there.  DOT confidently expects more "incidents" than anybody but an R would be comfortable with (I don't remember the number, but I was appalled).  But of course, Yucca Mountain isn't anywhere near where any of them live, so that's all right.

      Aside from the waste issue there are two other problems with nuclear - 1) mining the uranium is worse than mining coal, and 2) nuke plants take an average of 10 years to build - we don't have the time.  (Never mind that they are subsidized to build, subsidized to run, and subsidized to deal with the waste.)

  •  so then what what what do we DO? (0+ / 0-)

    We talk about "information warfare," we talk about taking back the media, about standing up for ourselves, our rights, our very survival...but what do we do about it? Make a youtube video? Cancel cable? Sign an online petition--or better yet, an "online march"? Stage a self-contained riot that gets no one fired up besides our activist base? Every action just seems so self-satisfied, every complaint mere digital soapbox oratory. We're all so enlightened, but we're all so utterly impotent and mute.

    Forgive me for being so dismissive, because I am clearly generalizing, but the armchair activism that seems to pervade the blogosphere is both yawn-enforcing and sad.  I don't want to tar everyone here with one enormous, snide brush, but what is so revolutionary about this endless chatter and priggish doomsaying?  We do so seemingly little.

  •  No we're not! Because... (0+ / 0-)

    the Pens won, again(!), last night! Ha ha ha hahahahaha! (I'm really sorry if anyone is a Rangers fan out there, Lundqvist is one of my favorite goalies, and Straka is a great player, but the Pens have my heart.)
    Politics is a team sport, and I am totally convinced that team psych theories are just as applicable to candidate supporters as it is to hockey teams... And Obama can win, if We support him, and if he does there is a real chance that We can save each other. And, no, as a candidate, Hillary Clinton does not have the capacity to help us save ourselves. It is delusional to think that we have an option in our choice for the Presidential nominee, (and here I acknowledge the ambiguity and irony of that statement.) The only choice is between commitment to hard work, and responsibility for our actions in our communities, or relinquishing responsibility and control to someone else, and just get along.  
    Jimmy Carter brought me into political and social consciousness, and finding out what the letters "AP" stood for from my ma brought me into global consciousness: I grew up on Dylan, the Beatles, Joni Mitchell and European classical music: I lived outside the states for a year: I've studied "Guernica," Medieval philosophy and literature, and four different languages: I've had two marriages, businesses, kids and am completing requirements for my second degree:
    And I still get told that my opinions are naive and uninformed, and that I "just don't understand" what is at stake and what costs are and that change takes time....
    Ppffftttttttttttt!
    I came on last night after the game and an individual's honest expression of her take on what was happening right now, by winterbanyan, and was startled by the interpretive distances, but encouraged as well. I was startled because the distances seem too broad to reconcile, but encouraged because, hey, we're all here, agreeing to participate and support something, together.
    Obama repeatedly reminds his audience that his nomination depends on "Us," and that "We" are the only ones that can create change, and that he will represent "us," but that "we" have to use our voices. Returning to hockey, Give him the puck and he will shoot it for us. Hockey is so fast, a game can be won or lost in 15 seconds, and morale is not an exclusively military term. Politics is no different, and if we really want change, we've got to keep our morale up, connect on our passes, and focus on repeating what we're doing that is positively effective. And, yeah, maybe that's "party line," but is it such a bad thing if the party line is diplomacy, responsibility and community building?    
    I believe that the American public can vote in their best interests: I believe that public support of renewable energy is increasing and will restore the human habitat to a healthy environment: I believe in diplomacy: I believe in grace and dignity, and that these abstractions can be manifest in words and actions: I believe that Americans can rise to the call of the humanist ideals of Justice, Liberty and Equality: I believe that change is slow to start and quick to spread: I believe a perfect deflection is just as beautiful as a blue line slap shot.
    I believe we can save ourselves, if we can elect politicians that can control their desires to wave their nuclear d**ks around in their quest to be King of the Mountain. But it is now, and has always been, up to each of us.
    We already know what we need to do, we need to force the issue of renewable energy, we need to be more aware of our consumption, we need to support local businesses instead of umbrella corporations, we need to force public transportation, we need to stop supporting the production of junk food, we need to support "sustainable and durable" rather than designed obsolesence, (sorry, i'm dyslexic, i can't spell.) We know what we need to do, we just have to do it.
    Thank you, TocqueDeville, winterbanyan, and the Pittsburgh Penguins!
    (I'm going to go away now for a few days, because my psyche is too fragile for the flames I'm going to get on this. Sorry it's so long, but I went to sleep, and woke up, thinking about this.)  

    The dream knows no frontier or tongue,/ The dream no class or race. Langston Hughes

    by parse this on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 08:27:33 AM PDT

  •  I heard these things remove CO2 as well.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Guyer, bfitzinAR

    They are cheaper and look nicer.....IMO

  •  Wrong place. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Guyer

    Getting CO2 out of the atmosphers is the same blunder as we made in putting sewage and storm water in the same system and then cleaning out the sewage -- even worse.
    Where teh machine would be of use is on the exhaust pipes of cars or on chimneys.

    "The three main issues in this campaign are Iraq, Iraq, and Iraq." -- Bill Foster

    by Frank Palmer on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 08:38:34 AM PDT

  •  I love you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mxwll, lisastar, Spekkio

    The only thing I'm going to say about Reverend Wright is this: Who gives a fuck.

    Seriously. I love you.

    McCain is so patriotic, he's ready to die for his country. Any day now in fact.

    by Warmwaterpenguin on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 09:22:35 AM PDT

  •  We already have CO2->02 machines all over (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rcbowman

    they're called plants.  

    Wouldn't it be cheaper to plant more trees? And fix the oceans so that the single-celled vegetation stops dying off and does more CO2->02 conversion?

    I mean, not that I'm against helping the process out with machines. But what is the relative expense of one of these machines versus planting sufficient vegetation to convert an equivalent daily conversion of CO2 to O2?

    But I felt it was a little odd, here, to talk about CO2 staying in the atmosphere for hundreds of years without mentioning the mechanisms that take it out (which we've been spending money to dismantle, at the rate of, what, an acre a second?)

    •  Yes, actually plants can be modified (0+ / 0-)

      to absorb even more CO2 - of course, in the process we could make some sort of monster plant like Audrey.

      (I know, need to change Audrey's name to Hillary. I know, I know.)

      "Change doesn't happen from the top down,
      it happens from the bottom up." Barack Obama

      by shpilk on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 08:03:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What a job works program... (0+ / 0-)

    The CO2 might be a con job, but we can prop up the economy for decades making magical tree-suffocating machines.

    Only $5.6 trillion. Wow.

  •  What about micro-scale versions? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    berkeleybarb

    As for the boxcar-size de-CO2-ifiers, surely they get a bit cheaper when you're producing millions of them. At the scale they've been building them, of course they're expensive.

    But where I assumed you were going with that pic of the car was the idea of including a very small system on the car itself which would do some of this. It depends on the power consumption, and what the power is needed for. If a lot of the power needed for the system is needed just to get the airflow going, fine - this can be done passively when the car is driving. If a whole lot of power is needed for the actual CO2 scrubber, then it won't work so well.

    Presumably an airscoop into a CO2 filter system on the front of a car would, for the time being, offset less than the car's output of CO2, but it'd be a start. And if the car companies were manufacturing the things, and including them on normal cars, they'd be getting cheaper fast.

    Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end. - Alan Paton

    by rcbowman on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 10:20:45 AM PDT

  •  If these CO2 machines get small enough... (0+ / 0-)

    why not simply install them in cars?  That's where I thought you were headed when you introduced the number of cars made each year.

    "We have met the enemy and he is us." -- Pogo

    by prophet on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 10:26:19 AM PDT

  •  effin' brilliant. (0+ / 0-)

    great diary... but I suggest an edit:

    you snark:

    Yes, by all means, let's save civilization. Unless it's going to be really expensive. Then let's just all die. It's cheaper.

    Expensive is OK, but cutting corp profits is not.  add a few zeros, let Exxon manufacture them, and we have a deal!

  •  Unfortunately the CO2 machines (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Morlock, mtosner

    run on whale oil.

    "That's what killed Dennis Day-- contempt for the audience." -- Phil Hartman as Frank Sinatra

    by Pangloss on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 11:33:14 AM PDT

  •  Good diary Tocque, unfortunately my rec couldn't (0+ / 0-)

    keep it on the list, I tried (sigh). I'll be very happy when this site stops doing what we criticize the media for (ad infinitum discussion of the most trivial Bull Shit).

    I belong to no organized political party, I'm a Democrat. -Will Rogers

    by geez53 on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 11:54:56 AM PDT

  •  I actually sat in Lackner's class (0+ / 0-)

    on Alternative Energy Resources. He did speak a little about his carbon scrubbing technology but he in no way sees it as a silver bullet, just a bandaid technology to tide us over till we figure out a great way to truly harness solar or nuclear energy.  

    The problem is, as he says, that there really aren't enough empty oil fields to sequester the amount of CO2 that we need to extract from the atmosphere.
    Our problem is that we are mobilizing carbon that has been buried deep in the earth that isn't part of the natural carbon cycle and adding that to the mix. We have maybe 60 years left of oil but we have so much coal/shale/tar supply (he even has a map of it outside his office) to last us a few hundred years, that, with growing world population, increasing deforestation, burning hydrocarbon based fuel, we will begin to run so low on atmospheric oxygen as to asphyxiate before we can even get to killing  ourselves off through global warming.

  •  It removes CO2, leaving us free to die of (0+ / 0-)

    the general pollution left by burning fossil fuels.

    Ask the Chinese how it's going for them, as perhaps as many as 750,000 people die prematurely each year from good old fashioned air pollution [estimates are anywhere from 30,000 to 90,000 Americans die prematurely from air pollution].

    We need to change the way we live, entirely.

    "Change doesn't happen from the top down,
    it happens from the bottom up." Barack Obama

    by shpilk on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 08:02:11 PM PDT

Meteor Blades, anna, Roadie, paradox, Ed in Montana, buffalo soldier, Mimikatz, dwellscho, kid oakland, PLS, RedMeatDem, Irfo, Beth, Peace JD, thinkdouble, jm, grollen, ks, kate mckinnon, Trendar, Geenius at Wrok, Raybin, Unstable Isotope, ScientistMom in NY, theboz, janinsanfran, PeterHug, Winger, lazbumm, tnichlsn, Avila, Shockwave, wu ming, MsSpentyouth, simaramis, tacet, liz, meg, LEP, baracon, rhubarb, Earwicker23, eeff, ThirstyGator, xynz, platypus, MackInTheBox, acuppajo, frisco, object16, musicsleuth, bumblebums, mataliandy, exNYinTX, Poika, expat germany, Jerome a Paris, Creosote, redtravelmaster, Bogleg, dnamj, RubDMC, opinionated, raines, Joe Sixpack, cskendrick, wonkydonkey, ProfessorX, Baldwiny, grrtigger, srkp23, ask, pdrap, biscobosco, peace voter, CalNM, BPK, wanderindiana, ksh01, scamp, Porfiry, nomes, roses, Frederick Clarkson, allysonsta, CanisMaximus, javelina, someRaven, itsmitch, CodeTalker, k2winters, BruinKid, xeju, jbdigriz, mrclean, Nate Roberts, fumie, wonmug, novelle, dksbook, wader, ChristieKeith, Janet Strange, DemocracyLover in NYC, hhex65, Mxwll, hangingchad, danthrax, sockpuppet, Dallasdoc, jlynne, Miss Jones, pat bunny, Chicago Lulu, lapolitichick, blueteam, gmb, cometman, exiledfromTN, churchylafemme, David Mason, NYFM, manwithlantern, Neighbor2, rockin in the free world, applegal, fromthecorner, johnj, AbsurdEyes, Mrcia, kalmoth, Eddie Haskell, sarakandel, 2dot, Dood Abides, kismet, outragedinSF, Oaktown Girl, bwintx, Donna in Rome, zerelda, side pocket, Lefty Mama, JayDean, Michiganliberal, kd texan, rmx2630, bibble, BoogieMama, Gowrie Gal, greenskeeper, nehark, G2geek, Fabian, mediaprisoner, Bluesee, sandblaster, marina, radarlady, pattyp, el dorado gal, seesdifferent, subtropolis, democracy inaction, OpherGopher, PBen, offred, Jersey Girl, gmoke, JohnB47, truong son traveler, ajsuited, basquebob, ChemBob, Brooke In Seattle, trinityfly, Claybow, reflectionsv37, boofdah, eru, mojo workin, cfk, Morrigan, majcmb1, concerned, nailmaker, Barcelona, sheddhead, Little Lulu, Phil S 33, brenda, illyia, jane123, sunbro, AnotherMassachusettsLiberal, SBandini, algebrateacher, Marcus Junius Brutus, Savvy813, marescho, CWalter, nanobubble, neroden, northanger, jilikins, the fan man, Ekaterin, hcc in VA, psyched, kkjohnson, hedgey, berning, Dania Audax, Land of Enchantment, RainyDay, CJnyc, begone, lcork, light typing, occams hatchet, elliott, andreuccio, dus7, Nance, danmac, tarheelblue, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Keone Michaels, Kingsmeg, sherlyle, BlueInARedState, Yellow Canary, koNko, kestrel9000, InsultComicDog, buhdydharma, compbear, Loonesta, canyon country, TheBlaz, SherriG, tecampbell, global citizen, Ashaman, The Hindsight Times, gatorcog, FireCrow, joe shikspack, BalkanID, plf515, Potus2020, nowheredesign, Cato come back, blitz boy, spotDawa, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Dianna, va dare, k00kla, RantNRaven, Jbeaudill, liberalpercy, Compostings, shaharazade, Statusquomustgo, lifexpert, Blicero, Lurtz, duha, Friend of the court, Intercaust, The House, Aaa T Tudeattack, bigchin, One Pissed Off Liberal, sarasson007, pgm 01, Bernie Quigley, Cronesense, Fredly, bldr, Loudoun County Dem, moodyinsavannah, godislove, Must Have Been The Roses, suburi, terryhallinan, Great Uncle Bulgaria, drbloodaxe, Outrider, la urracca, Blue Waters Run Deep, kath25, SJLeonidas, Jimdotz, greenchiledem, DWG, londubh, FischFry, Rex Manning, Seneca Doane, artisan, jayden, brentmack, robynsmith, netguyct, jnhobbs, Phylosoph, JML9999, Biologist, Zydekos, scardanelli, TexasTwister, gizmo59, rmonroe, Winter Rabbit, poblano, discocarp, martydd, chapter1, lisastar, terry2wa, truthbeauty, gfv6800, pullbackthecurtain, hulagirl, edison, Phil N DeBlanc, geez53, Cat Servant, wagdog, hilllady, LucyMO, billd, QueerMark, pamelabrown, boatjones, Cassandra Waites, DailyKingFish, mofembot, ClapClapSnap, Ken Bank, Spekkio, moneysmith, LCA, echatwa, xysea, aigeanta, auctor ignotus, BYw, less god more good, MantisOahu, George Gould, dont think, In her own Voice, shortgirl, forgore, bbrown8370, ryangoesboom, FudgeFighter, Neon Vincent, Texanomaly, liluli, snackdoodle, hummingbird4015, mtundu, cantelow, Baldur, Stranded Wind, Don Enrique, jenontheshore, forestgreen, Gorilla in the room, sweeper, txdreamer, history geek, Last Years Man, Patch Adam, MingPicket, shopkeeper, Ateo, Daily Activist, Night Train, Osaka, magatte, zbbrox, RageKage, johnbrown, Cholesky, Booyah Josh, obiterdictum, patarico adamasso, ZilV, bfitzinAR, berkeleybarb, jazzence, Yirmiyahu, Leslie in KY, sanglug, hyper, billssha, Chammy Nooks, Shelley99, kl5, OffHerRocker, majhula, histOries Marko, yaddab, nolabelle, lizabroad, canag, A Voice, jfromga, etara, orangeuglad, voila, citisven, gihrose, ljfxiki, nomdegrrl, differance, parse this, ppl can fly, The Veritable Buddhist, oceanrain, patrickz, AFTERUS dot org

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site