DailyDirt: Fixing A Hole Where The Rain Gets In...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Pollution from energy generation is an enormous problem that will probably require an expensive solution -- which, thankfully, billionaires like Bill Gates are willing to fund. However, we're already spending billions on energy R&D, but progress seems slow when the doomsday clock appears to be "catastrophically" close to midnight. The option of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere might give us some additional time, though, even if global-scale geoengineering sounds like it might have its own unintended side effects. After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.
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Filed Under: bill gates, biofuel, carbon dioxide, carbon fixation, carbon sequestration, climate change, energy, fluorocarbons, geoengineering, ghg, pollution
Companies: carbon engineering


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Nov 2015 @ 5:50pm

    fun little bit of old research

    We need more trees as trees filter particulates from the air. how do we get more trees? Well may you ask. We need to plant more of them. But in conjunction we also need to get the CO2 levels up so they can grow faster and better.

    Recent news was the release of the information that Australian trees like higher levels of CO2 as they grow better with the same water usage. Or grow the same with less water usage.

    What is the best carbon sequestration method, put the carbon to use in plant growth and reap the benefits thereof.

    Hence, we need to increase our atmospheric CO2 levels to promote plant growth and so remove the carbon from the atmosphere into a beneficial product.

    The only problem we have is idiots and fools advocating removal of atmospheric carbon by industrial means. We have a far better and more beneficial means - trees and other flora.

    So, more CO2 is better all round for humans and their environment. I rather like trees (except in the bike lanes of roads).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Nov 2015 @ 12:46am

    techdirt should be at the engineering level of their readers
    and not promoting this stupid co2 money making scheme
    which is more for the stupid sheeple level

    everything we do produces co2,
    therefore co2 sequestration and alikes is just a kind of existence tax,
    brilliant for tax farming, but nothing else

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Nov 2015 @ 12:52am

    and earth temperature is basic Astrophysics:
    -sun emits radiation that heats the earth,
    -sometimes the moon gets in the middle and makes a shadow

    every other proposal is asinine anthropocentric manure.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Nov 2015 @ 12:55am

    polution is real, we poison the planet in a million ways
    but Co2 is not pollution it is very natural,
    let's get real and start with the chemical compounds that are not found in nature,

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Donlon, 12 Nov 2015 @ 2:11am

    CO2 is NOT a pollutant !

    Global Warming (AGW) is total nonsense and deliberate hoax !

    "Pollution from energy generation is {NOT} an enormous problem.."

    I expected better from Techdirt.com --- Geeeez !

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Nov 2015 @ 3:18am

    dear Michael Ho
    we are disappointed

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Michael Ho (profile), 12 Nov 2015 @ 3:06pm

      Re:

      Okay... I'm not sure why you feel that way?

      I assume you believe climate change is a non-issue that shouldn't even be discussed? If that's the case, you must be disappointed in a lot of people/organizations/governments.

      I haven't suggested the government needs to tax carbon dioxide production or provide incentives to capture greenhouse gases. If climate change isn't caused by human activity, should we just let it happen naturally? If an asteroid was headed straight for us, should we just look the other way?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Donlon, 13 Nov 2015 @ 2:25pm

        Re: [Michael Ho questions Critics]

        @Michael Ho:
        Re: "Okay... I'm not sure why you feel that way?"

        ___

        We strongly disputing your core assumptions & viewpoint because we objectively know they are erroneous. That should be obvious-- but apparently you blithely assume everyone shares your superstitions on CO2 and GW.

        Yes, exactly to your assumption about us that "... climate change is a non-issue that shouldn't even be discussed? If that's the case, you must be disappointed in a lot of people/organizations/governments."

        Your quasi-religious belief in GW/AGW/Climate-Change is apparently non-falsifiable in your mind, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that it is indeed false.

        You seem sincere in your misguided opinions, but at least consider the possibility that you might be wrong.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Michael Ho (profile), 13 Nov 2015 @ 3:21pm

          Re: Re: [Michael Ho questions Critics]

          I might be wrong. I'm wrong a lot.

          I still think we should pursue better sources of energy simply because we should strive to be more efficient and sustainable. And it doesn't hurt anyone to explore the possibilities of geo-engineering -- if only to better understand our world and the biosphere.

          I agree global warming *could* be a huge misunderstanding along the lines of 1970s predictions of an upcoming Ice Age. However, I'm leaning towards thinking global climate change is more like ozone-depleting chemicals that irreversibly damage parts of the atmosphere.

          I'm fully aware that CO2 is a "natural" molecule that can be harmless at a wide range of concentrations. Yes, we exhale it. Yes, methane is produce by other bodily functions. Those facts don't mean everything "natural" is safe or harmless under all conditions.

          And I don't think you're making a "truckload of vegetables" argument, either. You have a point. Life on earth could also be endangered by tampering with things we don't understand fully -- such as CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

          I have never said that anyone should jump into geo-engineering blindly. But we are, in a sense, doing so by not doing anything at all (and continuing to burn fossil fuels at an increasingly greater rate). And merely *discussing* the options is potentially helpful and not a seemingly huge waste of resources.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 3:29pm

            Re: Re: Re: [Michael Ho questions Critics]

            "Those facts don't mean everything "natural" is safe or harmless under all conditions".

            Indeed, the fact is that in concentrations of 100%, everything is toxic. CO2, oxygen, water, salt...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Nov 2015 @ 3:58am

    We've had the solution for decades. It's called nuclear power. No carbon footprint on that, and less radiation released than coal or oil.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Nov 2015 @ 5:09am

      Re:

      and hide the nuclear waste in poor third world countries,
      preferably on the same ones we extracted the uranium in the first place,
      so that it kind of cancels in a zero sum

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Jon M. Kelley, 12 Nov 2015 @ 5:20pm

        Re: Anon 12Nov2015-0509

        "...hide the nuclear waste in poor third world countries,
        preferably on the same ones we extracted the uranium in the first place, so that it kind of cancels in a zero sum"

        That's really a brilliant idea, I forwarded it to my U.S. Senator, along with a link so that she could actually see the source. It is much better than letting the EPA run wild protecting the algae, and given their recent history I think that they are tree killers rather than tree huggers.

        Thank you.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 3:31pm

      Re:

      Hydro power is cleaner.

      Signed the residents of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 12 Nov 2015 @ 4:07am

    How about we stop polluting our waters, specially coastal ones and use algae to scale back carbon dioxide levels? Any high schooler will have learned that oxygen reached current levels because there was abundant nutrients and plenty of algae willing to do their things in the geological past.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 12 Nov 2015 @ 6:53am

      Re:

      Maybe the algae can make fuels too. Of course then that would be more carbon neutral than carbon capture but still an improvement.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 12 Nov 2015 @ 10:43am

      Re:

      Algae grows BETTER in polluted waters and higher temps, so the pollution couple with global warming has increased algae masses to record levels. Surely you've heard of the red-tide epidemic over the last several years. That's algae.

      The call to decrease water pollution is in an effort to curb algae growth as increased algae harms other inhabitants of the seas. Currently, we want edible fish, crabs, lobsters, oysters, and clams more than we want increased oxygen from algae.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Nov 2015 @ 6:30am

    What if global climate change is a hoax and we make the world a better place for nothing?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Nov 2015 @ 7:18am

      Re:

      yes a "club of rome" version of better place:

      “The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up
      with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming,
      water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through
      changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome.
      The real enemy then, is humanity itself." - Aurelio Peccei, an, Club of Rome, The First Global Revolution

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Personanongrata, 12 Nov 2015 @ 1:48pm

      Re:

      What if global climate change is a hoax and we make the world a better place for nothing?

      The phenomena of climate change on Earth is a indisputable fact that has been occurring since the beginning geological time.

      The issue is not does climate change occur on Earth but rather what are the mechanisms responsible for the change.

      The billion dollar question is are the mechanisms anthropogenic or natural?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Michael Ho (profile), 12 Nov 2015 @ 3:08pm

        Re: Re:

        "The billion dollar question is are the mechanisms anthropogenic or natural?"

        Does the answer really matter that much? Are we supposed to just accept all natural disasters and not even discuss possible solutions for global problems?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Nov 2015 @ 11:01pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Does the answer really matter that much? Are we supposed to just accept all natural disasters and not even discuss possible solutions for global problems?
          Two things.

          The first is "Is climate change a natural disaster?". Or is it just change like the seasons, coming and going in cycles?

          The second is "There are bigger global problems than climate change". There are more critical problems not being handled at the moment that profoundly affect human life than some possible scenario of climate change.

          Thirdly, (I know I said two things), we haven't a clue (that is actually based on sound experimental evidence) of how to mitigate any effects to climate change (whether anthropogenic or natural). We see volcanoes go off on a semi-regular basis and the only thing we can do is "get out of the way" if we have enough warning. Climate change is far more widespread and an extraordinarily larger activity than a single volcano, so if we can't stop a volcano, then how on earth are we to stop climate change? Hmmm. We can't even stop the effects of large storms, so how about it. What are your mitigation solutions that will demonstratively show positive results? Not PC but actual efforts.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Michael Ho (profile), 13 Nov 2015 @ 3:28pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            > "What are your mitigation solutions that will demonstratively show positive results? Not PC but actual efforts."

            Exploring alternative energy sources that have no carbon footprint would be a net positive step in the right direction, even if climate change isn't a "real" problem. Fission has its own problems, but fusion could pan out someday. Call me an optimist.

            And we can't fight volcanoes or hurricanes or tsunamis at the moment, but does that mean we shouldn't explore possible ways to, even if our current technology seems woefully inadequate?

            How does progress even happen with an attitude that we can't change things that seem impossible to change?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2015 @ 1:42am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I am all for exploring alternative energy systems. New building methods, recycling of currently unrecyclable wastes, etc, are worth investigating. Actually understanding the interactions within the global environment can help in innumerable ways.

              But this incessant caw caw caw of the politically correct anthropogenic climate change proponents only gets in the way of actual understanding. We know essentially zip about what causes, effects, directs our climate. Anyone of the climate change scientists who says otherwise is simply playing a shell con game.

              The whole point is that we have an opportunity to do study but this has been hijacked by the politically motivated.

              And we can't fight volcanoes or hurricanes or tsunamis at the moment, but does that mean we shouldn't explore possible ways to, even if our current technology seems woefully inadequate? You've been watching too much Star Trek and have lost the recognition that it takes enormous amounts of energy to mitigate such events. We don't yet and unless there is a major breakthrough in energy system, we won't for the foreseeable future.

              A function of science and engineering is to push or understanding and develop new techniques. However, in the current time, any ideas that shake the current dogma is stomped upon immediately.

              How does progress even happen with an attitude that we can't change things that seem impossible to change?
              There is nothing wrong with dreaming, this gives rise to inspiration. But, as I said earlier, there are more important problems to deal with than this current fad of anthropogenic climate change and the subsequent control of people.

              If I understand it correctly, Michael, you have been trained as a scientist. However, many times, you articles and comments seem to indicate that your teachers did not teach you well. You seem to have drunk the modern "kool-aid" instead of having an active enquiring mind that wants to understand the nature of the universe around us.

              There are many things we investigate (areas such as the broad world of physics, chemistry, biology, etc) that we have models of thought about how they work. But in reality, we know actually little. What is amazing is that we can do so much with those ideas. But as has been shown throughout history, our understanding of the world around is extremely limited and the systems and models of thought on which we base our understanding change over time or in some cases come back to haunt us.

              The more I read of the ideas of the theorists, the more I see that they have followed a path that does not lead to actual understanding. Theory is good, but that is all it is, theory. It helps get a possible understanding of the interactions that we observe and in some cases gives some predictive ability.

              But all theories fall short and if you believe they are the truth then you are on the path of dogmatism not science. Unfortunately, there are many dogmatists in the leadership of the various endeavours of study.

              I'll give you but one example. The universal background radiation. It is used to validate the various "Big Bang" models. But there is a serious problem in what is actually found. The first is that actual radiation temperature is only close to the various predicted values. Secondly, it is supposed to be uniform (or close to it) across the sky (according to the various models) but is, in fact, not uniform at all. There is a great deal of variability in the measurements. At the levels measured, the percentage variance is far too high.

              The question that needs to be answered is this: What is the cause of the variance? and are the models in use even remotely correct? and is there an alternative cause that can be investigated for the cause of this background radiation?

              For example, we can only observe this background radiation from one location in the universe - here in our solar system. What are the consequences if what we observe is in fact an artefact of where we are in our galaxy and not a fundamental property of the universe in question.

              Since we cannot test in any other location, our understanding of the measurements will not be and can be verified in any meaningful way. We should be looking at viable alternatives but we don't. If there are no viable alternatives that we can come up, then that too is okay.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Michael Ho (profile), 17 Nov 2015 @ 5:57pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Anonymous Coward,

                I'm not sure why, among an otherwise reasonable discussion, you feel the need to disparage me (as well as my educators/mentors). But no matter... I'll ignore your insults to be polite.

                > "You've been watching too much Star Trek and have lost the recognition that it takes enormous amounts of energy to mitigate such events."

                I actually do recognize the vast amount of energy it would take to mitigate a hurricane. eg. https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110112/03542112626/dailydirt-modern-swords-to-plowshares.shtml

                (I do also admit to enjoying some Star Trek episodes as well.)

                > "there are more important problems to deal with than this current fad of anthropogenic climate change and the subsequent control of people."

                Sure. I still don't see why we can't *discuss* various engineering proposals that could have significant impact on our environment, if we chose to deploy them.

                I'm going to assume that you don't like the tone and underlying assumptions that I've implied in this post. And on top of that, you have a pet peeve against climate change "science" and its supporters.

                Perhaps your comments would be more constructive if you pointed out some citations behind your views? I know, science oftentimes makes that difficult when a prevailing theory is popular (and well funded) -- that is a weakness in science and human endeavors. Still, I don't think it's a pointless venture as long as those citations are at least somewhat credible and logical.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2015 @ 2:53am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Michael,

                  That "insult" was intended to highlight a very common problem in education today. The lack of ensuring that the minds being educated are open to continual enquiry. I don't know what has happened in the last 30 years, but, education (particularly higher education) has been closing its mind.

                  Sure. I still don't see why we can't *discuss* various engineering proposals that could have significant impact on our environment, if we chose to deploy them.
                  If we were to put the resources into these, then these resources would not be put into the more important problems (which really don't get a look-see at the moment).
                  I'm going to assume that you don't like the tone and underlying assumptions that I've implied in this post. And on top of that, you have a pet peeve against climate change "science" and its supporters.
                  Some of what you highlight is interesting and thought provoking, but some of it is just following the herd (in dogma) without asking the questions that would question the underlying assumptions.

                  As far as "anthropogenic climate change science", yes I do have a pet peeve when the scientists in question make utterly ridiculous statements about climatic changes without answering the fundamental energy requirements. I have enquired of these "scientists" to answer a simple question, (I even give them all the calculations to go with it) and I get nothing back of any meaningful worth.

                  The fundamental problem in all the predictions is the energy requirements. If they cannot explain this, then they are stuck badly. The one (actually two) references I was given to back the claims (by a "anthropogenic climate change supporter, but not necessarily a climate change scientist), on reading it, made even more sense for my questions and demonstrated that the experimental data well indicated a few thousand years for specific changes to occur. Funnily enough, he assumed that it supported his viewpoint. What was funny about reading the paper, was that I predicted to myself, various results they would be reporting. Low and behold, I was correct. My energy calculations (though fairly rough +/-50%) still means that at least 6 (and maybe a lot more) orders of magnitude are not being considered. Even calculations I made based on IPCC officially released data, indicated over a thousand years before significant change would occur. Unfortunately, I can't find my copy of the specific paper. When I find it, I'll put the reference to it in this discussion.

                  I have made the comment that even a fifth grader could do the calculations.

                  You raise these questions to anthropogenic climate change scientists and you are treated as persona non grata and as an imbecile. When this kind of response is given, one must immediately, assume that the people in question are hiding something and that their public statements are less than accurate or complete falsehoods.

                  Rational debate is good, irrational response to challenging current beliefs is not good. The anthropogenic climate change believers are irrational. Those who believe there is no climate change are just as irrational.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 6:02pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            There is a lot of data that has been gathered on the subject, I suggest you read some of it and draw your own conclusions but simply rambling on with talking points obtained from shady "news" sites does little to garner credibility.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 12 Nov 2015 @ 2:20pm

    Specious

    Capturing greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and fluorocarbons can be accomplished using certain porous materials that trap these gases. The problem remains: how can we reliably store vast amounts of greenhouse gases -- and do so economically? [url]


    There is no need for humans to waste any time engineering new methods to capture CO2 as it would be exponentially less expensive to plant trees, flowers, grasses and such than to create man made CO2 sinks.

    Natures solution is also non-toxic.

    Carbon cycle

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The carbon cycle is the biogeochemical cycle by which carbon is exchanged among the biosphere, pedosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere of the Earth. Along with the nitrogen cycle and the water cycle, the carbon cycle comprises a sequence of events that are key to making the Earth capable of sustaining life; it describes the movement of carbon as it is recycled and reused throughout the biosphere.

    The global carbon budget is the balance of the exchanges (incomes and losses) of carbon between the carbon reservoirs or between one specific loop (e.g., atmosphere biosphere) of the carbon cycle. An examination of the carbon budget of a pool or reservoir can provide information about whether the pool or reservoir is functioning as a source or sink for carbon dioxide.

    Don't we have real problems to solve?

    PS Greenhouse gases are a prerequisite for Earth's atmosphere and without them life as we know it would cease to exist.

    Please read:

    Greenhouse effect

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The greenhouse effect is the process by which radiation from a planet's atmosphere warms the planet's surface to a temperature above what it would be in the absence of its atmosphere.[1][2] If a planet's atmosphere contains radiatively active gases (i.e., greenhouse gases) the atmosphere radiates energy in all directions. Part of this radiation is directed towards the surface, warming it.

    On Earth, solar radiation at the frequencies of visible light largely passes through the atmosphere to warm the planetary surface. The surface itself emits energy at the lower frequencies of infrared thermal radiation. Infrared radiation is absorbed by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These gases also radiate energy, some of which is directed to the surface and lower atmosphere. The mechanism is named after the effect of solar radiation passing through glass and warming a greenhouse, but the way it retains heat is fundamentally different as a greenhouse works by reducing airflow, isolating the warm air inside the structure so that heat is not lost by convection.[2][3][4]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JonK (profile), 12 Nov 2015 @ 5:52pm

    re: Specious, Personanongrata, Nov 12th, 2015 @ 2:20pm

    Humanity has known how to relatively cheaply reduce global warming for over half a century. It is called nuclear winter, and is the expected effect of a nuclear war. The Chinese, Russians, and North Koreans all again seem willing to help.

    Another alternative, though less exciting would be to simply pump ocean water into all available volcanic caldera. This would generate a similar effect of stratospheric microscopic particles reflecting sunlight, reducing global temperatures, & reducing the amount/growth of life on Earth. All good warmist goals.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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