"CO2 – less" coal power plant draws green ire anyway

I’ve always thought that the biggest issue with greens was not CO2 and AGW, but “progress in general”. This story seems to support that notion. Maybe they’ll get James Hansen to denounce it too. – Anthony


‘Emissions-free’ coal plant pilot fires up in Germany

BERLIN (AFP) – One of Europe’s biggest power companies inaugurates on Tuesday a pilot project using a technology that it is presenting as a huge potential breakthrough in the fight against climate change.

But green campaigners have denounced the project as a cosmetic operation that does not really address the problem of global warming.

At the site of the massive “Schwarze Pumpe” (“Black Pump”) power station in the old East Germany, Vattenfall wants to the new method to allow it continue burning coal — but with radically reduced emissions.

To do so, the Swedish firm is using Carbon Capture and Storage, or CCS for short, which captures the greenhouse gases produced when fossil fuels are combusted.

This prevents the greenhouse gases escaping into the Earth’s atmosphere and contributing to global warming.

The captured gases are then sharply compressed until they become liquid and are injected deep underground, sealed away and therefore will not contribute to the increase in the Earth’s temperature, Vattenfall says.

full article here

108 thoughts on “"CO2 – less" coal power plant draws green ire anyway

  1. What is the chemistry involved in the process described in this part of the article?
    “Another option are geological formations currently filled with salty water, which can partially absorb the CO2 and in some cases react with minerals to form carbonates, permanently trapping the CO2, Vattenfall says.”
    What are the “some cases” in which carbonates are formed? Can that be done intentionally and efficiently (that is, without bankrupting us all)?

  2. I thought progress was looking at new alternative energy technology. Sticking to old fossil fuel is the Luddite mind-set.

  3. Anthony, this article really does not go into much detail about why “the greens” are disgruntled.
    But reading this quote,
    “Vattenfall managers talk a lot about supposedly environmentally friendly coal power stations but they are still planning and building conventional coal-fired power stations with high levels of CO2 emissions,” BUND’s energy spokesman Thorben Becker said.
    It makes me wonder if it is “progress in general” as you state, or “progress as usual” that is the issue…? It’s difficult to draw strong, broad-brush conclusions based on that little blurb..no?
    John D.

  4. Injecting liquid carbon dioxide at great pressure into deep rock formations under a populated area. I wouldn’t want to carry the liability insurance for that operation.

  5. So they say no to this stuff and no to nuclear. I wonder how they expect to generate a base load? If global warming turns out to be real, nuclear is the only option unless we want to return to the 16th century with a reduction in population to match.
    I wonder how many Germans believe that Global Warming is a bunch of bull?

  6. it would be interesting to know
    – how much the efficiency is reduced by the capture process
    – how many trucks they use to transport to CO2 to the storing site
    – the emergency scenarios and plans in case of leakage of CO2 from the storing site.

  7. At depths of thousands of feet water in the ground is typically warm and saline. Water there has been equilibrating with the rocks for millions of years and the geothermal gradient insures heat. I’m not sure if that means the water becomes more or less able to accept CO2 in solution.
    Depending on the chemistry of the rocks it may already be saturated with respect to CO2. In this case adding more CO2 will could result in precipitation of carbonate, sealing off the unit to more injections.
    Even where the chemistry of the waters allows CO2 to mix in solution, it is going to react at some time in a similar fashion as soon as saturation is reached.
    I don’t think that it will explode as some of you seem to think. I also don’t think it will be a very effective CO2 sink under most conditions.

  8. Pumping pressurized fluids into the ground is a common tactic in recovering oil. And the pressure will be a lot higher than the pressure _before_ you pop the top of the can. IOW, bubbling and fizzing is unlikely.

  9. Why does anyone suppose that the leaders of the environmental movement give a flying rat’s hindquarters about the environment?
    They don’t want that which works, such as a coal-fired plant that is much cleaner than anything from 1950, or a natural gas plant, which is even cleaner, or a nuclear plant.
    So for thirty years they’ve been pushing the rank and file and everyone else to go for solar and wind power, even though such technologies are {on a large scale} unproven, inefficient, and unreliable. What good is a windmill if the wind’s not blowing, or a solar panel if the sun’s not shining. Also, don’t forget the environmental impacts. And how affordable is it, even with taxpayer subsidies, when it takes up to 30 years to break even {assuming there are no problems with the device in the interim}?
    As far as I’m concerned, those environmental leaders don’t want improvements in technology; they want no technology.

  10. You guys don’t get it. They don’t expect us to generate a base load, or to even continue to live, really. Failing the elimination of humans (except for themselves), they want us to return to the Stone Age, as hunter/gatherers supposedly “at one” with nature.

  11. I like to thank you Anthony for your work. Great website!
    As for this, “CO2 camouflage” :
    which lake in Africa killed thousands of people in the valley below?
    The fizzy-drink effect….
    Way not sale the CO2 to the tomato farmers (GLASHOUSE) ? LOL
    Mick.

  12. Many environmentalist are religious cult members with the Earth as their god and man as the devil. Logic has no place in their cult. I’ve seen these cult members in action all over the West Coast of the US where I live. From burning down seed banks at the University of Washington, to protest tree sitting at the University of California, they are against progress of any kind. Unfortunately, many formerly great magazines like National Geo, etc. are gradually getting sucked into this cultic behavior as so many of their articles end with critical comments about human behavior. Discover Magazine regularly publishes wildly inaccurate articles on enviro and evil man. For example, they published an article that wildly exaggerated the amount of water it takes to grow corn, raise a lb of beef with the implication that eating meat is tough on the environment.

  13. What a waste of Good CO2, they should be using it to produce algal bio-diesel.
    Then in might even be economical!

  14. johnnyb, the Germans were made to believe, that someone elese will bear the cost of their good-naturedness to green causes. With rising energy bills and the knowledge of their dependency of the energy bully in Moscow appearing on their horizon, things will change. The German governement is still trying to hide the consequences of its politics in the past decades. It accuses the energy providers of ripping off consumers while keeping up the high taxes on gasoline, heating oil etc. This is seen and felt by lots of people directly in their pockets. So the cover of somebody else paying the costs is coming apart.
    This, at last, is a reason for hope.

  15. 95% of spending on these temporary ‘bridging’ technologies plus 5% spending on proven technologies like solar and wind and very promising technologies like geothermal that simply need infrastructure and development funding means that the bridge is to nowhere.
    If you are in a car speeding toward a cliff, do you change the radio station and empty the ashtray, or do you pump the brakes… while the passengers think about changing drivers.

  16. CO2 is already ROUTINELY pumped into oil reservoirs to increase oil recovery. This is not much different. The CO2 liquid (well, its not strictly liquid; its dense-phase CO2) it pumped in to occupy the pore space in the reservoir sands. Provided its in a depleted reservoir, it should be fairly safe – certainly no more risk of subsidence than with normal oil & gas mining. In fact – less.
    The only real risk is if it leaks out, which is why depleted reservoirs are a good option – they have proven seals.

  17. Typingisnotactivism, please understand that solar and wind are hardly prove technologies, moreless they have been proven to be a failure. For all intents and purposes they are worthless unless you have huge battery banks or some sort of large scale hydroplant to balance the load. Otherwise you are using fuel that could be used for transportation to generate electricity. Short and simple though, wind and solar does not work and is not cost effective.
    Electricity is a pretty easy fix, just go nuclear if we really need to reduce CO2 and the problem is solved for the next 1,000 years, then after that humanity is on their own. I have a feeling that people given 1,000 years should be able to figure a few new things out.
    Thing with nuclear though, is that nuclear can not be used to transport anything smaller than a ship. Even a train is too small to use nuclear directly. Since transportation and heating fuel is a concern in the real world, updating and improving our transportation infrastructure should be the first order of business, and would be if these global warmists really wanted start the trip towards a carbon free world (as if that would even be possible or desirable).
    True, Germany has the super cool high speed trains, but you never hear global warmists or Americans for energy indepence suggest high speed trains for the entire US, only highly populated corridors in California and the Northeast. These places are the most expensive to build a high speed train, and give pundits plenty of ammo to charge that they are too expensive. Still reducing the need to take short flights from point A to point B would save oil and reduce fuel demand.
    Next thing we could do is forget about goofy wind and solar, and go nuclear in a big way. This would decrease the demand for coal, which hopefully would lower its price. Coal, like natural gas, can also be used as a transportation fuel. Let’s face it, people are not going to go back to the days before the jet, and you will never be able to run a jet on a fuel cell, but you can run a jet on coal. Still, carbon emmissions would be reduced, and we would enjoy a real benefit by lower energy costs not just in electricity, but also heating and transportation.
    Return to the Stone Age…
    I have a strong luddite streak in me too. I would have loved to be an indian. Live in a teepee. Wake up in the morning, strech and try to figure out if I wanted to go hunting or fishing that day, while I cooked a chunk of buffalo over an open fire.
    Trouble is that I do not have the heart to kill all of the people who would have to die to allow me to live out all of my great luddite fantasies.

  18. Johhnyb
    To get your transport and heating fuels you use nuclear energy/electricity to strip Oxygen from water(H20) and Oygen from carbon dioxide (Co2). Using oil indutry techniches you squeeze and heat the Hydrogen and Carbon to make liquid molecules called petrol and diesel. You can keep all of the existing transport, industry, and living style. Bet the greens hate me already

  19. As a couple of other commentators have pointed out, this sequestration carries the risk of unintended consequences. That is the problem the Greens have with it. Specifically, the have mentioned the strong potential for acidifying the water table. It is nothing to do with halting progress, they just don’t like anything that might upset the environment. On our collective past experience of unchecked industrial emissions they are obviously correct. It is the same with CO2: I have a strong feeling they don’t really believe the science either but they just don’t like to take the chance that this is the one emission that might have no effect on the environment.

  20. CCS seems like a promising solution to allowing us to continue to use cheap energy sources whilst reducing CO2 emissions
    – it may have some problems, but if handled properly, it looks to be a good way forward
    The greens seem to be worried that it would be used as a smoke-screen of some sort
    – hiding the fact that more non-CCS power-stations will be built
    – but i’m not sure they’re justified in this fear
    – if this CCS project proves successful, then it would lead on to other plant being built
    – but they need to build smaller plants like this to prove and improve the techonology.

  21. Christopher Booker in this week’s Sunday Telegraph (UK) has written an article about objections from the Greens to new coal fired power stations. In the Uk we will lose about almost 20% of our electricity generation in the next 15yrs as nuclear power stations reach the end of their life. The EU seems to be insisting that we lose another 20% of our capacity because it is generated by less efficient coal fired power stations. The Govt tried to get the French company EDF to build a series of nuclear stations in the Uk, but they had to offer a subsidy to entice them to do so. The subsidy offer had to be withdrawn when they realised that this was against EU regulations. Consequently the deal fell through. So we are to lose 40% of our capacity and the government is powerless to solve the problem. The only solution offered is to build more wind farms. These are heavily subsidised and that is encouraged by the EU. even though other stations are needed to back up the supply from wind farms.
    This is a nightmare scenario for us here.
    We will not have the capacity to provide our own energy. In terms of security… this is one of the major objectives for any responsible government. But it does seem that even when the UK govt sees a problem and tries to do something about it (albeit 10yrs too late in terms of building nuclear power stations!) they are constrained by unelected people (the EU rulers and their green pressure groups). Sometimes I am reminded of the Khmer Rouge in this attempt to do away with all industrial life… or am I getting paranoid?
    We seem to have slipped down a slope that led from cleaning up pollution… to demonising the western way of life. … or was that the original intention?
    In the 70s we had infiltration of the Labour party by a Marxist group that tried to take control of the party. Eventually they failed and were ousted. However, it seems that the genuine concern from environmentalists has been taken over by people with other motives who do not accept any reasonable attempt to solve the problems of pollution.

  22. Greens are not afraid of this being a smokescreen. This article clears the green’s smokescreen enough, so we can see their real agenda.
    Anti-man
    Anti-technology
    Pro-nothing
    Greens are the ultimate pessimists.
    Mike Bryant

  23. As with geoengineering, CCS is another dumb, useless, and costly idea. They don’t say how expensive this new method “oxyfuel combustion” is or the CCS, but I’d be willing to bet when people see the cost of that energy they’ll be in for sticker shock. Or, maybe they aren’t even planning to reveal the actual cost.

  24. It appears that England will be one of the first nations to walk silently back to the sixteenth century. Maybe their story will become a cautionary tale for those who look longingly back to earlier times.

  25. Greens CO2 in atmosphere = bad!
    Power Comp Capture CO2 and pollution = good?
    Greens NO NO NO = bad!
    The rest of us HUH???????
    But green campaigners have denounced the project as a cosmetic operation that does not really address the problem of global warming
    Real problem of global warming = green campaigners

  26. In my opinion I would much rather this approach (CCS) than more nuclear reactors, as I’ve never heard of a decent enough, workable plan to store or get rid of nuclear waste. I am not an expert on nuclear technology and I allow that things may have progressed somewhat, but in my book nuclear power is neither clean nor green…
    From Whackypedia –
    In the United States alone, the Department of Energy states that there are “millions of gallons of radioactive waste” as well as “thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel and material” and also “huge quantities of contaminated soil and water”.[2] Despite these copious quantities of waste, the DOE has a goal of cleaning all presently contaminated sites successfully by 2025.[2] The Fernald, Ohio site for example had “31 million pounds of uranium product”, “2.5 billion pounds of waste”, “2.75 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and debris”, and a “223 acre portion of the underlying Great Miami Aquifer had uranium levels above drinking standards”.[2] The United States currently has at least 108 sites it currently designates as areas that are contaminated and unusable, sometimes many thousands of acres[3][2] The DOE wishes to try and clean or mitigate many or all by 2025, however the task can be difficult and it acknowledges that some will never be completely remediated, and just in one of these 108 larger designations, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, there were for example at least “167 known contaminant release sites” in one of the three subdivisions of the 37,000-acre (150 km2) site.[2] Some of the U.S. sites were smaller in nature, however, and cleanup issues were simpler to address, and the DOE has successfully completed cleanup, or at least closure, of several sites.[2]

    One of my fears is that the Greens will clamp so hard down on electricity generation from fossil fuels, that nuclear will be seen as the answer. I just don’t see how that could be…

  27. At the risk of repeating myself, I would like to know just how much CO2 is going to be stored. If it is in the hundred thousands or millions of tonnes per annum, then it’s a total waste of time, since 1 part per million of atmospheric CO2 weighs 5.15 Billion tonnes!
    Also, isn’t there a town somewhere in Germany, I believe, which tried to do something like this and now finds that the town is sinking? Great idea!
    Just feed it to the plants as another poster above said, and to do that, you just release it into the atmosphere where it belongs.

  28. The whole CCS push assumes CO2 is a problem. I would suggest that someone produce the evidence of this before jumping on the CCS bandwagon.

  29. As several other posters have noted, pumping CO2 into reservoirs is nothing new – it’s been done for years in oilfield operations to enhance the recovery of oil (google CO2 flood). And it shouldn’t hurt any groundwater aquifers, because it would only be injected into deeper saline reservoirs below usable freshwater aquifers, and it shouldn’t leak out because known seal rocks (such as shales, anhydrites, & salts) can easily be mapped by geologists.
    The real question is why bother with it all – if CO2 isn’t actually a problem.

  30. We do need electricity 24 hours a day. That means solar and wind energy require massive batteries (that haven’t been invented yet) to replace coal, gas, hydro or nuclear power.
    In terms of acidification of water tables or causing the ground to become unstable, any CO2 will be pumped very deep underground, thousands of feet down and probably underneath a impenetrable layer of rock so there is close to zero risk of any of these kinds of problems.
    For this idea to work and have an impact, however, we need to sequester truly massive amounts of CO2. Total emissions are now 25 billion tonnes per year. The biggest sequestration project I have heard of only sequesters about 500 thousand tonnes per year (or 0.025% of total emissions.)

  31. One issue not discussed here has to do with a couple of articles (on this blog too I think) about electrical transmission facilities. “Environmental” organizations in the west US are filing suit to prevent building new or reinforcing existing electrical transmission routes.
    Without these routes the periodic, expensive power from wind and solar cannot get to population centers. The full court legal press amounts to a bait and switch scheme from the green team. The plan is (seems to me) hey look over here, this is a great new bleeding-edge technology, you(all) can use it without contributing to AGW!
    Folks buy into this, then, after some building projects the green teams says “Now just try to get the power from the hilltops and deserts to your cities! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA.”
    According to power folks, who should know their business, the US power grid is in dire condition – needing both upgrading and repair, now being delayed or prevented by the AGW crowd. Let me give a possible senerio, without the benefit of a sophisticated computer program…
    If, as some think, the Sun is the major climate mover, and it remains at low level, the earth will continue to cool. Therefore, more energy will be needed to heat homes and drive business during this cooling. Should the electrical grid fail, it will take a goodly amount of time to boot it back up, and if the words of the energy folks have any truth in them will only come up in sections at best. People will die. The east coast blackouts of recent times are just a taste of what could occur.
    Wonder what the AGW crowd would think about that…
    Me, I’m keeping propane in the trailer and my gas alternator tuned…

  32. Coal powered plants in countries that couldn’t give a fart about what comes out the smoke stack are yucky. And many of these same countries provide coal for open fire cooking, etc. Back in the old days, like the ranch I lived on, we had a coal burning stove in the living room. It was not very efficient and turned both the inside and outside walls black from the sooty smoke that belched out into the living room and chimney. It was eventually replaced by an oil burning stove. That wasn’t much better. The carpet around the stove also turned black from residue. I have since replaced that with a more efficient and cleaner burning oil stove. A bit of an improvement but I still know that these kinds of home stoves are notorious for sooty residue hanging in the air.
    I have now installed a double burning wood stove. It is in another room. No soot or smoke that I can see and there is a secondary chamber that burns the wood gases again before they go up the chimney. It isn’t without any kind of pollution but it is better. I think the greenies are concerned about all those countries that are still belching pollution in general. I can’t say that I blame them. You would too if you could see the remaining black stain on the carpet in the LIVING room.

  33. Stu
    Recycle, reprocess “nuclear waste” burying nuclear waste is roughly equivalent to mining silver out of the ground and finding your tailings are nearly pure gold but you bury them anyway because you were looking for silver.
    I doubt it is possible to make coal fired power more environmentally friendly than nuclear already is.

  34. I dislike conspiracy theories with great intensity as they are usually nothing but garbage. But in this case if you follow the trails of smoke you are bound to find the fire eventually.
    The entire Green movement is a ‘smokescreen’ in itself on this issue of climate change. How can I deduce this? Because the main backers of the climate change issue are transnational politico types such as predominates the ranks of the UN and the EU. Al Gore and James Hansen are typical of the American manifestation of this type. This is not really a ploy to set mankind back into the “Stone Age”. Anyone in political power would see in an instant that going back to pre-Industrial days, however much this might satisfy some of the radical Greenies, is not compatible with any form of modernized government. The Greenies, however, are a useful tool in keeping people in line and keeping enviromental concerns foremost in the public mind. The threat and fear of radical climate change, along with the glaze of scientific credibility it has, is all that is needed to motivate a public that would otherwise be against such changes that are blatantly damaging to their economic interests. Climate change is the dominant issue of the day, and the most versatile with almost any action being able to be justified under this aegis that would otherwise stand out as unusual, absurd, or even criminal.
    Think of all the technologies that are being advocated and at times deployed. What do they all have in common? They substantially raise the price of electricity. This threatens millions of lower income earners. When people are deprived of something that only then government has the power to offer them, they become a mob and a tool of those in power. Very useful. If you are beholden to someone else for that which you need to live, you bascially have to do whatever they say. If you want the privilege of having electricity, and all the conveniences that provides, then you will tow the line of the Government.
    And in the EU that is not in Berlin, or London, or Paris, but in Brussels. The EU is thus far a case-study in how disparate groups of people will manage under a transnational government. It’s basically a gigantic experiment. You will find a great many ties between its leadership and the UN. And within the lab of the EU, they are setting up England as the first test sample. With the Continental disdain for the British, you can liken this (with a bit of historical irony) to how the British felt about Austraila. Massive immigration combined with an eventual shortfall in electricity generation is going to spark some kind of popular reaction, and you can bet that it will not go unlearned from or undirected.
    It can’t be done all at once because people would notice that and take action against it. So it is done slowly over years or even decades allowing people to get adjusted to the change, and allowing for indoctrination via the media for two generations. See the recent posting by Dee Norris for an example.
    I prefer to think of the current situation as wanting to blend the idealism of the early and mid twentieth century as regards the viability of international governing bodies (i.e., The League of Nations and its successor the UN) with the elitism of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries where the wealthy and powerful had much but the middle class had yet to really emerge in most places so the common man had very little and was thus largely at the mercy of his ‘betters.’ Controlling energy is the first phase in this.
    Controlling information will be the next, and this is already underway in the EU with that government considering what to do with bloggers, particularly the anonymous ones that are critical of it (though that will not be the reason given of course). The traditional MSM (e.g., the BBC) is already under the sway of the EU as it provides massive subsidies in it’s so-called efforts to reach out to the public it attempts to govern and ‘educate’ it on the benefits of being European. After that is well in motion, the control of currency will come next. You can expect the EU to drop its leniency that is has thus far shown to nations not adopting the euro as their currency. They will want every nation in the single-market system to dump their national currencies (pounds, francs, marks) and exchange them for the euro exclusively. You will also see the EU want to absorb the ECB (European Central Bank) into its “institutional framework”. While the euro is in circulation now, it is not as pervasive as the dollar is in the United States, and that is the eventual goal.
    All of these are not really ‘coming.’ They are in developing form now in the EU and they are being promulgated with varying speeds depending upon successes and setbacks. And the lessons are being well learned you can bet too.
    If you want an idea of what is being contemplated there, think of the United States federal government being replaced by the United Nations. You have an unelected beauracratic administration at the top interacting with democratically elected provincial governments. This preserves the tradition of voting while at the same time rendering it largely impotent. Yet the governors of these provincial governments are inextricably part of the top level of governnment too. So you see the EU Council of Ministers is about the equivalent of the UN Security Council. And the EU Commission with its president is much like the UN’s Office of the Secretary General, except that for now the former rotates among the chief executives of various provincial governments (i.e., national governments) – but they are working on making it an electable position from the European populace much as the Sec Gen is elected by the General Assembly. The fraud that there is a European populace at all (instead of British, French, Germans, Poles, Italians, Romanians, etc) is the same fraud that says that an unelected transational governing body (the UN) can help bring peace and good to the world. It sounds good, and it can actually be made to work with the right set of conditions (think of what the UN could do if it were directly in charge of the US Armed Forces for example), but it does not really benefit anybody except those in power.
    And to have true power you must control energy, information, and currency. If you can control those three, you can control trade. Once you control the wealth generation that trade provides you can more effectively control politics. After all, our own current system of lobbyists illustrates what happens when government becomes the primary mover and shaker in markets. And of course markets employ people – people like you and me, ordinary Joes and Jennifers. Once you control something, you can take it away if needs be, and people will go to any length to not have something as vital as those three taken away from them. Imagine your life without electricity, the Internet, or the ability to purchase things. Now try to imagine modern society functioning without these.
    And that’s my point. We are not to do without these. We are just to be controlled by our need for these. It will probably be offered to us at first as something good, and will be freely chosen. After that, however, the project will not stop for any one or for any reason until it is completed. Some of it has already begun. Or else, after its various scandals, why do you suppose we still have the UN and are still members of it?

  35. The Montana legislature has studied carbon sequestration. It seems they have decided to do nothing. See: http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/montana_legislature_wont_tackle_carbon_sequestration_and_thats_a_good_thing/C37/L37/
    According to Rep. Brady Wiseman: “…It turns out that the costs are high, the benefits are dubious and years away, and the desire to proceed within our power industry is negligible.
    My report to you is that doing nothing is a reasonable option. We will probably see carbon dioxide pumped into the ground in Montana, but only for the purpose of getting more oil out, and we don’t need any new laws to do that.
    And in addition, carbon sequestration provokes the argument over global warming. In our political environment, polarized and solidified by intense subcurrents of high-voltage activist religiosity, trying to have a fact-based discussion about global warming has turned into a total waste of time, from a public policy perspective…”

  36. I have a strong luddite streak in me too. I would have loved to be an indian. Live in a teepee. Wake up in the morning, strech and try to figure out if I wanted to go hunting or fishing that day, while I cooked a chunk of buffalo over an open fire.

    That kind of life is colloquially known as “short and brutal”. No thanks.

  37. I think the greenies are concerned about all those countries that are still belching pollution in general.
    Unfortunately, far from it, Pam. So-called Greens are not interested in the environment, or in pollution, though they claim to be. Their interests are solely political, and all else is a sham. Greens are indeed the “new reds”, only are even more insidious and dangerous than the old ones. Democracy itself is in grave danger.

  38. The motives of the environmentalists have little to do with science or ecosystems. I have posted a bunch of stuff on my blog about the self feeding government structures which need AGW to survive.
    On another point, I just compiled the latest hockey stick data, which many don’t realize is constructed by collecting random information which may be temperature, and throwing away data which won’t contribute to the blade of the stick. I think the graphs I made show clearly the selection bias used and how it reduces the past ‘temperature’ signal relative to modern times.
    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2008/09/08/manns-statistical-amplification-of-local-data/

  39. As Heinlein said, it is easy to mistake stupidity for malice. I’d like to think most Greens are sincere and mislead. Some of their leaders are another matter. They want the benefits of technology (at least for themselves) but want the rest of us to live ‘in harmony with nature’ or at least their definition of it. That means higher taxes and less freedom.
    It is always for a good and noble cause, of course, and what could be more important than ‘saving the planet’?
    We now see the result of growth and progress. 150 years ago, most folks worried about putting food on the table. Basic survival. Today, we have the ‘luxury’ of giving voice to the Disaster and Crisis types who would have been laughed off the stage a few generations ago. Given the lack of scientific knowledge (and common sense) of the general public, the D&C’s have a willing audience. It is always easier to blame someone else.
    It would be comforting to think that the pendulum will swing back, but that requires an educational system that teaches young people to think, rather than ‘feel good.’ A few may rise above, not a majority in my experience.
    And when the lights do go out, the rest will just blame someone else.

  40. I think there is a creepy Kaczynski core in some of the environmentalist groups. They go beyond Luddites and are willing to risk other people’s lives to attain their goals of saving the planet, i.e. freeing it from the yoke of humanity. There was an Australian article a few weeks ago that babies are a drag on the economy. Of course eating is bad too, and breathing generates CO2. Only in rich countries could you find the amount of self-indulgence it takes to create an entire class of misanthropic people who probably could not tell the difference between a starling and a grackle or a cold front from a high pressure area.

  41. Nah … Carbon capture doubles the capital cost of building a coal-fired station, increases energy consumption by 25 percent and then increases the operating cost by upwards of sixty percent.
    Since, currently, in the UK, eighty percent of the coal used for electricity production is imported – and nearly half of that from Russia – and, in the near future, near 100 percent of German coal will be imported, we have in carbon capture a policy which will increase our usage of raw materials, massively increase our electricity bills and also reduce our energy security.
    A much better option is to use nuclear for electricity generation and to use the (off peak) excess to power underground coal gasification, using the gas as a domestic fuel.

  42. same thing in Canada. Alberta is derided as polluting eco-nightmare, but when the Alberta government announced a CCS plan, Suzuki et al jumped all over it.
    Apparently facts have nothing to do with the propaganda. Alberta has the toughest environmental regulations in Canada, and even in North America. Alberta is the only jurisdiction that requires new power plants to have the same emissions or less, as a gas fired plant. This applies to CO2, mercury, NOX, PM10 etc.
    Alberta also has 1/2 of the total wind generation capacity in Canada. Alberta has literally 1000 times more wind generation than Ontario, which has 4 times the population of Alberta. Most of the eco-criticism, comes from Ontario, of course.

  43. There is one sort of carbon sequestration that makes sense.
    Pumping the exhaust through a greenhouse.
    If there’s one thing we know from the crazy Bristlecone Pine Proxy fiasco, it is that moisture and carbon dioxide both directly influence plant growth.
    Even algae pools should benefit.

  44. All: As for carbon sequestration into underground formations, the technology is decades old. The oil industry has been using it since the 50s.
    It is safe. Its exactly the same mechanism that stores oil and natural gas for millions of years.
    Your natural gas for heating will come from temporary underground storage, during the winter. Natural Gas is pumped underground during the summer, closer to the market, for storage. During the winter its released to the pipeline system. Trillions of Cubic feet of gas are stored this way, every year. Right now, there is nearly 3 trillion cu ft in storage.
    Gas (CO2 in this case) is pumped into a permeable rock horizon. The formation is itself isolated. It has impermeable shale above and pinching it off at the zonal boundaries. It holds oil and natural gas in place for millions of years. It will hold CO2 for millions, too.
    Assuming, of course, that we actually NEED to dispose of CO2. If we don’t need to dispose of CO2, its an expensive, useless, add-on.

  45. Talking of alternative energy sources
    “Compost bug offers hope for biofuel industry”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/aug/15/biofuels.renewableenergy
    A detritus-loving bug found in garden compost heaps has been genetically ‘turbo-charged’ to help it break down tough plant matter at speed, a process that could be about to transform the way the world makes biofuels”
    http://www.tmo-group.com/
    “It completely eliminates the debate about food versus fuel,” says the company’s CEO, Hamish Curran.

  46. Stu (05:49:16) :
    We have all this nuclear waste needing to be stored.
    Why?
    France has been generating 75% of their electricity with nukes for the last 25 years. Total waste is stored in a single room about the size of a large basketball court.
    Why?
    Because France recycles their nuclear fuel. Most of the material in the fuel rods (95%) consists of uranium and plutonium. Both of these can be used to make new fuel rods. A lot of the remainder is used in nuclear medicine. In fact, the US must import such medicinal isotopes as we want to store ours away in big waste areas.
    Why?
    After the publication of the book The Curve of Binding Energy by John McPhee, the Carter administration became convinced recycling nuclear fuel rods was a national security risk because someone might steal the plutonium and build a bomb. However, the problem with using plutonium from spent fuel rods for nuclear devices is you must separate the isotopes responsible for poisoning the chain reaction. This almost brought and end to the use of plutonium in the first atomic bomb. For awhile Oppenheimer despaired of getting around the problem. However, the implosion design was designed, allowing the Los Alamos group to use plutonium even with the undesirable isotopes present. This is all documented in the book Making the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes.
    In any event, why couldn’t the US secure the fuel rod recycling process?
    Is it better to have used fuels rods stored in over 130 locations throughout the US with little or no security?
    Evidently it is, because that’s what the US is doing.
    We are all smarter than those French, right?
    For the whole story see http://www.terrestrialenergy.org/

  47. Everytime I read environmental quotes/policy/desires, I can’t help but think about Orwell’s 1984: “Some are more equal than others.”

  48. The creation of an extremist environmental party after WW II and the eventual collapse of the Communists, could have been predicted, since these people are the natural heirs of these extremist groups. They can’t be reasoned with, only opposed. We have to be careful not to let such a group get this kind of power and clout here. The proper use of coal (hydration) is essential for a good energy solution. Carbon sequestration is a waste of money.

  49. If the greens were truely Luddites, they would eshew all mechanical things, like the private jets the green leaders flit about in to be seen in different countries “caring fo the environment.” If they are, as some have pointed out, concerned about the effects that China will have on the world, why don’t they go to China to wage their battle? Why persecute their war on coal and oil in countries where real pollution has been markedly reduced over the last 4 decades? They claim that these home-soil campaigns are necessary because the US produces 25% of the CO2 with only 3% of the world population. They seem to forget that the US also produces between 22% and 25% of the world’s economic output and that the US is dinged for 25% of the UN’s annual budget.
    Why are they working on “global governance” as a next step?
    As a few people have rightly commented, most people in the green camp are sincere. Most of them have no real grasp of the issues, they just follow where the green executive lead them. Sheep do that too. The real problem is with the anti-everything green leaders who want to tell you how to live, what cars to drive (more appropriately, not to drive at all), how many children you can have, etc. All the while, they live profligate lifestyles that are truely at odds with their messages.
    CO2 capture and sequestration is a hopeless cause, we couldn’t capture enough of it to make a difference even if it was a problem. Solar and wind are niche techologies that are so inefficient and so landscape intensive as to be unworkable.
    Maybe the lights will have to go out before people wake up.

  50. Les,
    Most of the eco-criticism, comes from Ontario, of course.
    Followed closely by British Columbia, where we have a carbon tax on our gasoline.

  51. Imagine a spiral shaped greenhouse, emanating from the coal plant at it’s center. The plants can use the CO2 and a moderated amount of the waste heat. At the open end of the spiral the CO2 levels will be at preindustrial levels. However, even if this could work perfectly, greens won’t like it.

  52. My guess is that things will have to get worse before they can get better. The utility companies have not been building coal or nuclear plants for quite a few years. But the existing plants are approaching the end of their design life, about 40 years. Some of the utilities are doing life extension work on the existing plants but sooner or later they will have to be reitired. If nothing new gets built then we will start having brownouts. When the lights start going out people will become more positive about proven technologies like coal and nuclear.

  53. Jack, that was my take too. We could also be using fast breeder reactors to transmute U-238 to Pu-239 at a point in time when U-235 ore sources are depleted. Also Th-232 can be transmuted to U-233, which is fissile.
    However, uranium contamination isn’t something to scoff at, as it is very hard to clean up or even keep in one place once it gets into the groundwater, but most of that is legacy contamination due to no knowledge of the future potential of a problem during the Manhattan Project or not caring later in the game by the military-industrial complex.
    Of course the French didn’t just get into proxy war with Russia in Georgia and stick missiles to intercept Russian ICBMs in Poland either… I imagine the U.S. starting to reprocess nuclear fuel would have repercussions with the Russians, who are basically drunk on the money that they’ve been making from selling oil and gas to the Europeans.

  54. We had a fast breeder reactor that used “spent” fuel rods for fuel, and which was inherently safe due to the use of metallic fuel rods. It was called IFR. The prototype was up and running in SE Idaho at the Argonne-West facility. It was the dawn of a bright new age – we have enough spent fuel rods lying around to provide all of our electricity for hundreds of years. But Bill Clinton killed the IFR in 1994 with encouragement from NRDC.
    Greens at the core of radical environmentalism don’t oppose solutions because they’re Luddites. It’s because they’re Malthusians. They think there are too many people on the planet. Elimination of DDT killed a lot of people, but didn’t really make a dent in the population. Converting food to fuel might accelerate the pace of starvation. Lowering the standard of living will knock off a bunch due to starvation, lack of medical care, etc. If those don’t work, I suppose total economic collapse and global war might work. Hang on to your hats, folks. Until the general populace gets wise to what’s really going on, it’s going to be a rough ride!

  55. Bobby L.
    Very interesting essay.
    As an aside, there are quite few extremists posting on this and other similar threads (e.g., “environmentalism = evil insanity”…period). I suggest to anyone so willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater to go live for a while in some of the industrialized former Eastern-Block countries, or perhaps Beijing, to see what industry/economy in the absence of environmental regulation looks/smells like.
    You’ll be beating a wheezing, soot-marked path back to this crazy “over-regulated” country….betcha…Almost without exception, environmental regulations originate as concerns shared by free citizens (now so often demonized as wacko-green “environmentalists”).
    It’s easy to see that extremists are a big problem in today’s world, though as I see it, extremists on “both sides” of any issue equally detract from recognizing real problems and developing meaningful, long-term solutions.
    John D.

  56. Pingback: Environmentalists Denounce No-CO2 Emission Coal Plant | Skeptics Global Warming

  57. Mike Hodges (10:37:37) :
    Everytime I read environmental quotes/policy/desires, I can’t help but think about Orwell’s 1984: “Some are more equal than others.”
    Hrrmmph. Wasn’t that “Animal Farm”?

  58. You’ll be beating a wheezing, soot-marked path back to this crazy “over-regulated” country….betcha…Almost without exception, environmental regulations originate as concerns shared by free citizens (now so often demonized as wacko-green “environmentalists”).

    The ones you’re referring to are more like Conservationists. The whackos don’t want any progress, period, no matter how “green” or “earth friendly” it really is.

  59. What Mike said. The Malthusians hide amongst the true stewards of the environment the same way the Isamic Jihadists hide amongst the civilian population.

  60. Sorry but I’m just not in to painting with broad brush strokes. I know it is easier to come up with pithy sayings about ones opposition with a broad brush stroke, but it likely will lead to gridlock instead of compromise that can lead to real change. Abraham Lincoln was like that. He painted with finer brushes. While many wanted him to paint the opposition early in the process with the broad brush of “bad” versus “good”, he did not want to do that and tried very hard for compromise. Unfortunately, it takes both parties to a two-sided debate to change from broad brushes to finer ones. Environmentalists and conservationists have lots in common but they insist on holding onto their preferred brushes. On both sides. Its like paddling feverishly in opposite directions in a two person canoe. Both people look ridiculous and they get no where.
    Here is an example of same-side compromise. I think both sides on this issue can say that for example, China has a pretty substantial pollution problem, not from burning fossil fuels, but from having no exhaust controls and scrubbers in place. A place to start with China would be to add an import tax on goods manufactured under environmentally unsafe conditions combined with positive incentives to use more environmentally friendly manufacturing processes. Its not telling them they can’t use fossil fuels, it’s just telling them to control the smoke stacks a bit more or else their goods will be more expensive to sell outside of their own country. The other thing that a person like me can do is to limit the items I buy that are made in countries that use environmentally unsafe manufacturing processes. And I do that.

  61. Jeff A., I’m a conservation biologist/ natural resource consultant who often works on behalf of the building, timber and ranching industries. I’ve spoken out on a few local environmental issues and been labled “wacko-environmentalist” and “anti-progress” as a consequence, I’m not sure where the line is drawn.
    I have many friends who by no means are “anti-progress”, or “anti-people” who have spoken out about one conservation issue or another, and as a consequence have gotten labeled, packed into an extreme wacko-box and shipped to La-La-Land where the crazy cavemen live.
    Extremist diaologue and name-calling do not help, hardly ever, no matter which side is doing it; that’s my point. It tends to oversimplify very complex issues. By the way, there are a lot of extreme views and name calling to be found in the Bloggosphere; it’s unfortunate, but true.
    By the way, do you personally know anyone who “doesn’t want progress, period”?…really? Even in the article posted by Anthony regarding this coal-plant issue, if the article is carefully read, one can see that the “Green” opponents may not even be opposing this particular plant, or this new technology, or progress in general.
    Rather, as I previoulsy pointed out in the third post under the article provided by Anthony… “Vattenfall managers talk a lot about supposedly environmentally friendly coal power stations but they are still planning and building conventional coal-fired power stations with high levels of CO2 emissions,” BUND’s energy spokesman Thorben Becker said.
    As I wrote in response to Anthony’s comment about greens, I wrote…
    “It makes me wonder if it is “progress in general” as you state, or “progress as usual” that is the issue…? It’s difficult to draw strong, broad-brush conclusions based on that little blurb..no?
    By the way, under my last post…I meant to write “quite a few extremists”…not “quite few”..just slightly different meanings there..
    Jd

  62. John D:
    You might recall that the soviet block economies you mentioned were almost totally government controlled. The example you cite totally destroys the point you were trying to make.

  63. Mike Bryant (05:33:14) :

    It appears that England will be one of the first nations to walk silently back to the sixteenth century. Maybe their story will become a cautionary tale for those who look longingly back to earlier times.

    How about the 14th century? Then The Canterbury Tales and The Cautionary Tales would be set in the same timeframe.

    As long as we’re on literature:
    Mike Hodges (15:19:27) :

    No. It is “1984″.
    Sincerely,
    Winston Smith
    Ministry of Truth

    Brilliant!

  64. {Please excuse the repost, I thought of a better riposte at the end.}
    Mike Bryant (05:33:14) :

    It appears that England will be one of the first nations to walk silently back to the sixteenth century. Maybe their story will become a cautionary tale for those who look longingly back to earlier times.

    How about the 14th century? Then The Canterbury Tales and The Cautionary Tales would be set in the same timeframe.

    As long as we’re on literature:
    Mike Hodges (15:19:27) :

    No. It is “1984″.
    Sincerely,
    Winston Smith
    Ministry of Truth

    “Just the place for a Snark!” the Bellman cried,
    As he landed his crew with care;
    Supporting each man on the top of the tide
    By a finger entwined in his hair.
    “Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
    That alone should encourage the crew.
    Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
    What i tell you three times is true.”
    The Hunting of the Snark – Lewis Carroll

  65. George B.
    Not really, the bottom line is those Eastern Block industrial economies did not benefit from, or adjust to the voice of concerned citizens; because there, concerned citizens had no voice. With no voice, there is no expression of concern (environmental, economic or otherwise), without expression of environmental concerns on behalf of citizenry, there’s no government response, with no government response, there’s no resulting environmental law…no environmental law…voila…you get a lousy place to live, work and play…filthy, disgusting, ugly, unhealthy; barbaric and dehumanizing actually (but at least nobody has to suffer the foolishness of “Greens” and wacko-environmentalists there!).
    Ultimately you can blame the dismal state of the Eastern Block environment on the failure of totalitarianism. Proximally though, it arises out of inability of citizens to express or respond to social concerns (environmental or otherwise), and of course, a government that really doesn’t care counts for something too.
    It supports my argument precisely; if not, I apologize, as I don’t exactly understand your reasoning.
    John D.

  66. How did Lord Chesterton put it?
    “The pleasure is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable.”

  67. Maybe their story will become a cautionary tale for those who look longingly back to earlier times.
    Highly recommended reading: Otto Bettmann, The Good Old Days (They Were Terrible)

  68. as I’ve never heard of a decent enough, workable plan to store or get rid of nuclear waste.
    All the nuclear waste in the history of the world wouldn’t fill a good-sized auditorium.
    Not to mention that much of it can be recycled.
    It’s a non-problem. (Waste from other energy production is far more of a problem.)

  69. Just read some customer reviews for the book you recommended. I got it coming to me. Thanks evanjones.
    Mike

  70. Evan,
    What reason do you have for hope in the human race? History,
    theology, the law of compound interest?

  71. John D.,
    I agree. If humans are naturally experts at anything it seems that it would be in the ability to go to extremes. Our planet shows much more balance than we who live on it. And yes we ought certainly to appreciate the conveniences living in a modernized society like the USA affords.
    The main problem with this whole movement is found in the maxim that “the lies most difficult to distinguish are those which contain the most truth.” There are many laudable things about environmentalism practiced in moderation just as there are many laudable things about capitalism practiced in moderation. There is absolutely no reason, except for our current technological capacity in some cases, why the two cannot go together. The caveat in that is that it must be of free will and not government mandated. The problem there is that government mandates are the easiest (or laziest) way of getting people to do what you want if they don’t want to. Plus, in that way there can be punishments for not cooperating and rewards for cooperating, so there is that incentive too.
    There is nothing even inherently wrong with a one-world government if it does not ignore the free will of the people it governs. The two-fold problem as I see it in the EU that is that they are clearly prepared to override the popular will when it suits their agenda, and that the interests of the globe at large do not go together suitably for that type of unified government to exist on our planet. They don’t even go together in the EU itself as is amply demonstrated on EUReferendum.com. For example:
    http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2008/09/as-others-see-it.html
    Again, this is because extremism is quick, easy, and lazy way get what one wants. The core of it is arrogance and impatience, qualities wholly demonstrable in the EU and the UN. They presume to have the best vision for bring the world into its fullest flower with peace and love and harmony everywhere. To bring us paradise on earth as it were. And they don’t see why they should wait for ponderous democratic processes (such as we have here) to bring about change (also slow). And so since we are both stupid and stubborn, any means necessary fits in order to bring about their perfect vision of paradise on earth. But such work ignores the essences of what it means to be human, free will among those.

  72. Evil loves a hierarchy,
    God needs no such thing.
    It you want to bring on evil
    bring on that one-world thing.

    Stalin was by some accounts a coward yet look what he ruled over.
    a rule of thumb:
    A good idea does not have to be forced on people and a bad one shouldn’t be.

  73. What reason do you have for hope in the human race? History,
    theology, the law of compound interest?

    My study is history. I apply simple Historical Method: Like any scientist studying an immensely complicated progression, I observe the trends.
    I look at where man was, what he was doing, how he lived 5000 years ago. 2000 years ago. 1000 years ago. 500. 200. 100. 75. 50. And now, today.
    How can anyone possibly do that and not be filled with a most exuberant optimism?
    In the future we shall bestride this narrow world like a colossus!
    (Compound interest is on our side, too.) #B^1
    Just read some customer reviews for the book you recommended. I got it coming to me.
    Let me know what you think.

  74. Or be smashed by an errant comet? It is dangerous out in the universe. For a while some thought we did not need God but some dangers are beyond human ability at this time and forseeably. And then there is Yellowstone. The logical consequence of a cold uncaring universe is a cold uncaring universe.
    I think God saves fools first in many cases. A form of heavenly triage.

  75. Or be smashed by an errant comet?
    I’ll lay odds we’ll be able to deflect it before the problem comes up.
    I’ll go with Heinlein (and I think even he was badly suckered into unwarranted pessimism in many ways–re. food and resources, for example). I think man in general, and modern man in particular, can rise to just about any occasion. And when he does take a licking, he dusts himself off and travels on.
    Just to pick one thing, computer processing ability doubles every 18 months. Do you have any idea what that means? (Not even to mention biotech . . .) Trends. The trends. Consider the trends!

  76. Trends are trends
    and should not be despised.
    But I also prefer:
    a fundamental reason why.
    Sometimes you just have to settle.
    I think that any love is good lovin’
    And so I took what I could get, mmm
    Oooh, oooh, she looked at me with big brown eyes
    And said
    You ain’t seen nothin’ yet
    B-B-B-Baby, you just ain’t seen nothin’ yet

  77. “Sometimes you just have to settle.” evan
    Yep, but i will press on to rediscover what everyone else never forgot.
    “and know it for the first time”

  78. Life “then” as opposed to life “now”, for one.
    (Dentistry. Toilet paper. Freedom. And like that.)
    I’m more concerned with the “Big What” than the “Big Why”.

  79. @Evan
    Search ‘Family Wipes’. Seems that some want to do away with toilet paper and replace it with washable cloths that can be reused.
    Of course, we would have to hand wash them.

  80. Yep, but i will press on to rediscover what everyone else never forgot.
    “and know it for the first time”

    Yet don’t forget that it’s modernity and its accompanying affluence that affords you the ability to do so. Without it, we’d all be 18-hour-a-day dirt farmers. (Or worse.)

  81. No luddite here. “Better living through thermonuclear biochemistry” is my motto. Did I miss any toes?

  82. I’m all in favor of that. (I just hope the moralistic nuts don’t get in the way of cell renewal. I want very much to violate “what God intended”. That’s the point.)

  83. Evan,
    Dentistry is a big one for me. Just in my lifetime (I’m 58), a trip to the dentist has gone from a thing of dread to dang near a social event…flirting with the girls and talking about fishing with my dentist. No anticipation at all except for the price tag on the crowns.
    Often, I’ve told him how good he is. He gives technique some of the credit. But, also he says their equipment is so much better these days. One example: Needles. They’re laser sharpened now and used once. Painless!, when he uses his special technique. Way back when, they were autoclaved, got dull over time and would tear tissue when jammed in. Hurt like hell. That tearing of tissue is what caused most all the discomfort after the deadening would wear off, also. Gawd, I’m long-winded.
    [Reply – I bet I can trade you wind for wind! ~ Evan]


  84. Bobby Lane (19:53:29):
    …There is nothing even inherently wrong with a one-world government if it does not ignore the free will of the people it governs. …

    One-world government inherently ignores the free will of its diverse subjects. It is the ultimate smoothing algorithm, damping all that high frequency dissent into the straight trend line of government policy.

  85. Anthony Watts wrote: I’ve always thought that the biggest issue with greens was not CO2 and AGW, but “progress in general”.
    My brother, you’re not alone. See this article, which drew some fire over at Realclimate in last Friday’s Roundup (starting at about comment 60). Definitely worth a read.

  86. johnnyb:Thing with nuclear though, is that nuclear can not be used to transport anything smaller than a ship. Even a train is too small to use nuclear directly
    Just a nit on your excellent post, but these new uranium hydride nuclear batteries would be great for powering trains and ships without the hassle of a nuclear reactor. Roughly the size of a hot tub and just several tons in weight. Last ~5 years.
    http://nextbigfuture.com/2008/04/updates-on-uranium-hydride-reactor-and.html

  87. The German people are lacking in logic, Living in Germany and watching the German public get eaten alive used to give me nightmares but realizing that they were lacking in logic I close my eyes to the problem. G. Schroeder took €385,000 a year for life after arranging a German government loan to finance a Russian pipeline to transport gas to Germany, he also conveniently destroyed most of the energy laws not related to Russian energy, the Germen people ? they thanked him for securing ‘reliable’ energy for Germans future, for believing a man that has been married 5 times ( and about to be single again) and cost the country hundreds of billions of € it shows how stupid the German public really is.

  88. I’ve read that there is enough uranium in coal ash, that it would be considered nuclear waste if it hadn’t been exempted by previous laws.

  89. I thought coal ash had a bit of thorium, not uranium.
    While there are thousands of spent nuclear fuel rods that could be recycled, 90% of the total waste is leftover from the weapons programs. Hanford, Oak Ridge, etc. Not nearly as useful, far more dangerous, with proper handling, could still be a source of energy. It takes a commitment of many folks to make it happen. Serious safety issues. We’ll have to deal with them. We won’t get one millijoule by just talking about it.
    That’s the real problem – energy. To maintain or improve the quality of life, it takes energy. We can and should conserve, and be as efficient as possible. We still need energy, particularly in developing countries. Wind and solar may have a small place at the table, but serious energy means coal, gas, or nuclear. The first two have problems of supply and pollution. So does the third, but we can deal with them, particularly if we reprocess what we already have.
    Transportation at the individual level will depend on room temperature liquid fuels for a long time. Absent a major breakthrough in batteries, nothing else has the energy density. Joe Sixpack isn’t going to pump cryogenics or high pressures with much degree of safety.
    All of which is a moot point if the folks with influence and power don’t want it to happen. If the Greens, Enviros, AGW’s and the like get their way, it won’t happen. When the lights do go out, it may be too late.

  90. JeffL
    I don’t think we can take any environmental lessons from the oil companies thank you. I’ve worked in the oil business too and I’ve seen what goes on. Plus I’ve lived near a refinery that chucks out all their worst crap at night-time when nobody sees it. What companies are supposed to do bears little relation to what they actually do and I wouldn’t trust anyone to drill farther than they could get away with before dumping their junk. So yes, like the greens, I think the water table is in danger of being ruined. We’ve already seen fish farms turning it salty.
    Every time somebody assumes we can trust industry to regulate themselves I despair of their naivete. The greens are simply trying to preserve our environment and it’s an uphill struggle against people with deep pockets and zero conscience. Of course they are ritually pessimistic; it comes from bitter experience. Do you even realize the extent of the poisons, hormones, chemicals, effluent, raw sewage etc that is ritually chucked into our rivers and seas? Don’t blame the greens for being misled about AGW – the fault lies squarely with the duplicitous scientists.

  91. James G.
    Your wariness of self-regulated industry is warrented.
    Great case-studies of self-regulating industries might be found in the history of the California sardine fishery, the Atlantic cod fishery, the Atlantic Sworfishery, and the old-growth-dependant North American timber industry. What do all of these have in common? Moslty unregulated, rampant harvest with increasingly clever and efficient technologies, to the point of diminishing return and industry collapse. A portion of the citizenry starts to recognize the problem and expresses concern, and then governement trys to impose regulations that yes, protect the environment, but also lead ultimately to sustainability of said industries. Then members of said industries call those trying to impose some rules “wacko environmentalists” that are killing their respective industries. Circular reasoning?
    I remember once when I was working for the USFS in northeast California in the early ’90’s; it was a Friday night at Laufman Station and a bunch of harvest inspectors, timber markers and cruisers were around the BBQ, along with a handful of “ists”…(biologists, hydrologists, archeologists, etc). The timber folks were complaining about that damn spotted owl and all of those tree-huggers destroying the old-growth timber economy. One of the biologists, getting a little impatient asked the timber folks…”ok, let’s say you guys were able to mark and cut the big timber here on the Plumas, Lassen and Modoc, as fast as you want, like you did in the late 70’s and 80’s; how long would it last? With some feet shuffling and mumbling, they confessed, about 7 to 10 or so years!
    So if left unregulated, at this point in time, old-growth timber in Northeast California would last about a decade..maybe more! Who’s at fault at the sad state of the timber industry..the “Greens”…the “Guvinment”…or unregulated industry?
    John D.

  92. Then members of said industries call those trying to impose some rules “wacko environmentalists” that are killing their respective industries. Circular reasoning?

    When Greenpeace activists tell shoppers at supermarkets that eating GM foods may cause you to grow a third arm, or that GM foods aren’t tested, they’re rightly labeled as “whacko environmentalists”.

  93. Jeff, in the first half of your post, you’ve taken a very, very small part of my contribution completely out of context. But, I completely agree with you on the concern over third-arms though, if that’s really what’s been said. Regarding whether or not GM foods have been tested, I personally don’t know; perhaps you can share?
    John D.

  94. John D, since your post is right above mine, the context is right there for all to see. I don’t see a problem. Quoting an entire post to highlight a single part isn’t good “netiquette”.
    Yes it’s been said, on camera, more than once. And GM foods are probably the most tested things we eat. Does it mean they’re perfect, or that a small percentage of the population won’t have an allergic reaction (as they might with any “organic” food.)

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