Princeton: Direct removal of carbon dioxide from air likely not viable

Carbon dioxide

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From the Princeton news website

By Steven Schultz

Technologies for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are unlikely to offer an economically feasible way to slow human-driven climate change for several decades, according to a report issued by the American Physical Society and led by Princeton engineer Robert Socolow.

“We humans should not kid ourselves that we can pour all the carbon dioxide we wish into the atmosphere right now and pull it out later at little cost,” said Socolow, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

The report, issued by a committee of 13 experts, was co-chaired by Socolow and Michael Desmond, a chemist at BP. The group looked at technologies known as “Direct Air Capture,” or DAC, which would involve using chemicals to absorb carbon dioxide from the open air, concentrating the carbon dioxide, and then storing it safely underground.

[The full report is available from the American Physical Society.]

Robert Socolow

Robert Socolow

In essence, the committee found that such a strategy would be far more expensive than simply preventing the emission of the carbon dioxide in the first place.Making optimistic assumptions about initial DAC technologies, the committee concluded that, from the evidence it had seen, building and operating a system would cost at least $600 per metric ton of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere, for a system that could work today. Building a system big enough to compensate for the emissions of a 1,000-megawatt coal power plant would require 30 kilometers of equipment. In comparison, removing carbon dioxide from the flue gas of a coal-fired power plant would cost about $80 per ton.

As a result, the group concluded, DAC is not likely to become worthwhile until nearly all the significant point sources of carbon dioxide are eliminated.

“We ought to be developing plans to bring to an end the carbon dioxide emissions at every coal and natural gas power plant on the planet,” Socolow said. Beyond using electricity more efficiently, options are to modify plants so their emissions are kept from the atmosphere or to shut them down entirely and replace them with low-carbon alternatives, he said.

“We don’t have to do this job overnight. But the technologies we studied in this report, capable of removing carbon dioxide from the air, are not a substitute for addressing power plants directly,” Socolow added.

The possibility of using DAC has arisen in policy discussions that contemplate a so-called “overshoot” strategy in which the target level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is exceeded and then reduced later through use of some air capture technology.

In its report, the group noted that, “No demonstration or pilot-scale DAC system has yet been deployed anywhere on earth, and it is entirely possible that no DAC concept under discussion today or yet to be invented will actually succeed in practice. Nonetheless, DAC has entered policy discussions and deserves close analysis.”

Socolow noted that while the contents of the report serve as a warning against complacency, the experience of developing the report offers grounds for optimism. “The message of hope is that smart scientists and engineers are getting more and more interested in energy and climate problems,” Socolow said.

“The committee that worked on this problem included both senior researchers and researchers starting their careers, and both industry experts and academics,” he continued. “The review process elicited contributions from thirty to forty others. Everyone was a volunteer. Leading this project convinced me that scientists and engineers are poised to provide many creative strategies to reduce the risks of dangerous climate change.”

The DAC assessment began when it was authorized by the American Physical Society’s Panel of Public Affairs in 2008. Socolow’s first co-chair was William Brinkman, who was then a senior research physicist at Princeton and now directs the Office of Science at the Department of Energy. They convened a meeting of experts at Princeton in March 2009, but then Brinkman’s move to Washington required him to step down from the group. Socolow continued the project, first with co-chair Arun Majumdar, who stepped down to direct the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy initiative, then with Desmond.

Socolow co-directs Princeton’s Carbon Mitigation Initiative, leads the Siebel Energy Grand Challenge, and is an associated faculty member of the Princeton Environmental Institute and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment.

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The APS report is here: Direct Air Capture of CO2 with Chemicals Report (2.4 MB) Format - PDF

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91 thoughts on “Princeton: Direct removal of carbon dioxide from air likely not viable

  1. I guess these experts need to be reminded that plants have been doing DAC for a long time… at very high efficiency. My guess is that if the folks at BP wanted to make this technology viable… they would. Instead, it seems that they’d rather create a carbon tax system, where they can still afford to pay for their pollution, while their competitor’s cannot.

  2. I disagree, Doctor. Firstly, since mankind puts so little CO2 in comparison to all sources, then it doesn’t matter which CO2 you capture. Secondly, why would we want to? You begin to play God with the natural forces of earth, and you will create a real catastrophe.

  3. I suppose chlorophyll based methods were not considered for a reason that I must have overlooked while reading the post.

  4. We humans should not kid ourselves that we need to pull out any CO2 we “pour” into the atmosphere.
    Jeesh.

  5. I’d be glad to show Schultz an existing CO2-removal plant. They’re all over the place, small and large factories. I’ll bet Schultz has a CO2-removal plant operating near his own house, maybe even IN his own house! Ack! Invaded by enemy operations!

  6. “Leading this project convinced me that scientists and engineers are poised to provide many creative strategies to reduce the risks of dangerous climate change.”
    What about the risks of dangerous CO2 starvation for plants? Doesn’t look like they took that into consideration.

  7. Despite multiple requests for comment, calls to flora remained unreturned at time of publication.

  8. Wouldn’t curtailing deforestation in Amazonia or home fire burning in Africa create a net carbon sink without all the chemicals and technology? Instead of storing containers of CO2 in the ground, why not store it in leaves and wood? Seems like a less expensive way to go. A dense rain forest looks like a feasible DAC to me.

  9. These guys suffer from a serious lack of imagination.
    Indeed, heavier-than-air machines would never fly. Admittedly, birds can do it, but they are kept afloat by a special bird-spirit, don’t they?
    Airborne carbon dioxide would never be turned into construction material by self-replicating molecular machines using sunlight. Admittedly, trees can do it, but they are animated by a special tree-spirit, don’t they?
    Molecular nanotechnology is surely crap.

  10. We need to do away with the DOE that Jimmy Carter started. I understand there are now several thousands of people working there. The whole purpose of the DOE was to ween us from Mideastern oil. That really worked. Notice the people in this article that now work for the DOE. I won’t go on.

  11. The group looked at technologies known as “Direct Air Capture,” or DAC, which would involve using chemicals to absorb carbon dioxide from the open air, concentrating the carbon dioxide, and then storing it safely underground.
    We’re currently doing that using the chemical chlorophyll to absorb carbon dioxide from the air, concentrate it, and store it in grain elevators. The whole process is powered by renewable sunlight, except for the storage part. It’s also sustainable, because we convert the stored CO2 to alcohol, which we then burn in our cars and return to the atmosphere, completing the carbon cycle.

  12. If only there were a natural or biological process that could draw CO2 from the atmosphere and complex it into a solid form. If only that natural process, could be come more efficient as the CO2 concentrations increased, we could have a negative feedback.
    If only…

  13. Psst – PLANT CORN…
    I love this stuff… the level of naive innocence demonstrated by alleged intellectuals is staggering…

  14. What a pile of horse manure. Utter bollocks and a waste of time. Hello, the biosphere has been greening.

  15. This is not a shock. Removing 400 parts per million of anything from anything is going to be difficult! Fortunately, Nature (the mother, not the magazine) has got us covered. “As usual”, I might add…
    Best,
    Frank

  16. We’re doomed I tell ye!!
    DOOMED!!!!!
    Woe unto ye, all mankind – the doom is upon us!!!
    Pray for a miracle ye human polluters, ye feeders of plant life, ye sceptics and warmists alike!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    DOOOOOOOOOOOOMED! – I tell’ee!

  17. My pepper plants are sprouting. I expect my honorary PhD from Princeton in the mail any day now…

  18. I know of a neat little device to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Who knows, maybe plants will be a viable option. I require endless grants and a cushy corner office to research this idea further.

  19. “In its report, the group noted that, “No demonstration or pilot-scale DAC system has yet been deployed anywhere on earth, and it is entirely possible that no DAC concept under discussion today or yet to be invented will actually succeed in practice. Nonetheless, DAC has entered policy discussions and deserves close analysis.”
    I wonder if they have seen these photo’s and other info below?
    http://globalthermostat.com/
    http://www.marcgunther.com/2010/12/21/a-global-thermostat/
    http://www.chichilnisky.com/pdfs/Global%20Thermostat_pilot%20unveiling%20photos.pdf

  20. Cut down a tree. Turn it into paper. When you are done with the paper, convert it into a slurry and pump it into an old coal mine and press it with the same tech you would used for “rammed earth” construction. Collect the squeezed out water for re-use on the next batch. Easy.
    When you are done, all the carbon you extracted from the mine is back in the mine.

  21. Not considering flora as a candidate CO2 remover is an idea so stupid that only an intellectual could believe it.
    I’ve designed and built personal breathing apparatus that have CO2 scrubbers, deep diving undersea equipment with CO2 scrubbers, helped engineer the Space Station CO2 scrubber-stripper as a NASA contractor, and I developed a mechanical (non chemical) CO2 scrubber for running an auto engine at 100% EGR. But if you ask me how to remove CO2 from atmospheric air, the answer is obvious: plant trees, or grow crops, and make charcoal to bury (possibly in an old coal mine 🙂 ). That is, if the assumption is correct that removing atmospheric CO2 is desirable.

  22. The “deserves close analysis” is fair comment; I believe he meant that because it has entered policy analysis it has to be squelched ASAP. The rest of the pro-cAGW bumpf is possibly just there to get him past the censors.

  23. crosspatch says:
    May 9, 2011 at 4:42 pm
    I can do you one better.
    Go shopping.
    Make as many small purchases as possible. Buy as many small items as possible and insist on a paper bag. (In my state, the “State Stores” conveniently place their 750 mL products in paper bags.) Then…throw out the bag in the trash Hopefully, you live in a modern community that buries its trash in an efficient modern landfill.
    Presto…Sequestration! (Even has benefits with plastic bags, since this would at least make you “carbon neutral”).

  24. After considerable Deep Thought, I’ve decided that we don’t need to worry about starving the flora, or even worry that our (much-appreciated) contributions will abate. The Real World, aka China and India, will ensure that CO2 continues to rise just fine, thankyewverrahmuch.
    But considerable self-injury by interference with energy production and use in the West is not just likely, it’s already wired-in. The UK will be the 800-lb canary in the mine with its hyper-inane wind-turbinization. If turbanization doesn’t get it first.

  25. That $80/ton cost estimate for removing CO2 from flue gas is interesting. I wonder what it would balloon to if the opportunity cost of withholding that gas from productive agricultural recycling were included. Plus the opportunity cost of not having the millions or billions of $80s available to actually do something useful.
    Bastiat’s “unseen” has a fierce butt-bite.

  26. What’s the big deal about CO2 anyways?
    Either geologic forces will lock it all up permanently in rock, or a big asteroid will come along and vaporize the CO2 out of the crust.
    In the meantime, the biosphere will do with the extra CO2 what the biosphere will do.
    Scrooges out there just want all the fuels for themselves, and Grinches don’t want anyone to have any.

  27. Naturally, their goofy plan will never work (this time). I guess I’m in a dark mood after this story, trying to find some humor (below) in it. If they keep messing with the planet, they might find a way to really screw things up.
    Nevertheless, let’s try a wild Sci-Fi story:
    They wanted to fix global warming, so they built a machine that worked twice as well as predicted. CO2 fell to 150 ppmv and all of our crops died. The oceans survived because of alkalinity. Nothing left on land but crabgrass. Yikes!
    People knew they were going to starve. The elites tried to jam into old bomb shelters with all the MREs they could find. Ordinary people in the major cities started shooting each other, fighting over the remainnig food, and eventually eating each other. Many ventured out of the cities, but couldn’t get far since the gas stations stopped working when electricity failed.
    After the cities burned, CO2 levels were partially restored. Farmers in areas farther away from the major cities were able to plant new crops. In the end the red states retained the majority of their population.
    Epilogue: The global warming problem never returned.
    What title would you like?
    A) We’re Room Temperature Now
    B) Just Deserts
    C) Gone with the Wind (oops, that’s taken)
    D) Please don’t eat the zombie daisies
    E) 28 States Later

  28. I can think of two methods off the top of my head. No idea how viable they are though.
    1. Run the exhaust air from a power station through green houses. What is usable by plants will be used, and you get a good return on your investment to boot.
    2. Bubble the exhaust through water. This could be a sewerage effluent plant, fresh water with algae, or salt water with algae. I believe the salt water algae version is used in animal food pellets and fertiliser.

  29. Note to Princeton: Plants
    Note to Parents: Send your kids to a better school.
    Note to Socolow: Why would we want to limit or reduce emissions? No sick fantasies now but, please list one negative thing associated with any reasonably believable carbon dioxide increase that is likely to occur? Embarassingly stupid.

  30. So, now we know that there is not any real science expertise at Princeton. Where next?
    I discount the IQ of anyone who thinks that a trace gas can drive climate or that the IPCC is a scientific body by 20 points. Another 20 points, if they smoke.

  31. doctordrewl says:
    May 9, 2011 at 3:03 pm
    “……. My guess is that if the folks at BP wanted to make this technology viable… they would…….”
    Yeah the folks at BP can do anything.

  32. Did they ever stop to think that trees remove CO2 from the air? Once you go to Princeton you stop knowing that? I mean really.

  33. My Dad’s getting ready to plant 28 Acres’ of DAC providing Corn, just as soon as all this CAGW produced Cold and Rain let up. /sarc

  34. How about allowing the dead to sell their vaults for carbon storage? I’m just a little elf so will have plenty of room in my coffin. So I’m selling coffin space at a premium price. I’ll even allow advertising on my gravestone. This is just too easy. Stupid people will buy just about anything.

  35. “Technologies for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are unlikely to offer an economically feasible way to slow human-driven climate change for several decades, according to a report issued by the American Physical Society and led by Princeton engineer Robert Socolow.”
    What model forcings came up with that prediction? I know it says that Bob SoCO2low “said” it, but was he envious of Dr. Hansen??

  36. News report: Ongoing expenditures of tens of billions of dollars yearly worldwide to capture carbon dioxide emissions at fossil fuels plants with subsequent storage considered more viable than growing and storing biomass, since growing plants is not viable.
    Additional grant money urgently needed to further substantiate the globally-necessary initial conclusion of non-viability.
    Film at 11.

  37. They finally figured out that carbon capture is a stupid idea?
    WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE???????????????
    nobody has to answer I was just venting

  38. Scottish Sceptic says:
    May 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Anthony, I’ve just discovered something dramatic: global warming is dead – or at least the MSM have dropped it dead like Osama been lying.
    I’ve posted the relevant graphs on my blog: http://scottishsceptic.wordpress.com/

    You may wish to play around a bit as well with the trends via this graph:
    http://www.google.com/trends?q=peak+oil%2C+global+warming%2C+climate+change&ctab=0&geo=all&date=2010&sort=1
    By displaying data for a given month (only the most recent are available), you can even get an indication of the number of searches. Mind you, the scale is relative to the average for the interval being one. However, Google also has the data values in absolute (I guess that is what they mean by “fixed”) values, but for that you would have to have a Google-Trends account.

  39. So, now we know that there is not any real science expertise at Princeton. Where next?
    I discount the IQ of anyone who thinks that a trace gas can drive climate or that the IPCC is a scientific body by 20 points. Another 20 points, if they smoke.
    Hey, dont penalise us smokers! We’re the only ones keeping the whole economy going. You can buy us a drink to say thanks. Just don’t blame us.

  40. cagw_skeptic99 wrote:

    I suppose chlorophyll based methods were not considered for a reason that I must have overlooked while reading the post.

    Three associated topics are beyond the scope of this report. First, biological and other alternative methods of CO2 removal from the air are not discussed in any depth. Rather, the report, focusing on only the DAC alternative, is intended to encourage emulation in reports that explore other alternatives.
    Second, little space given to CO2 storage, the other half of “carbon dioxide capture and storage” (CCS), on the grounds that CO2 storage options would not be significantly different if CO2 were captured from a power plant or from air. The omission of CO2 storage from this report should in no way suggest to the reader that the technologies, infrastructure and regulations required for permanent CO2 storage are in hand. On the contrary, CO2 storage is not yet known to be commercially feasible at the scale required to enable DAC — or for that matter, CO2 capture from power plants — to contribute significantly to the mitigation of climate change. At least a decade of large-scale field demonstrations of CO2 storage will be required before the long-term costs of geological disposal of CO2 can be well estimated. Third, the report does not investigate roles for synthetic fuels derived from CO2 captured from air in a world where substitutes for petroleum-derived fuels are strongly desired; the report nearly exclusively focuses on a world where the primary reason for considering CO2 capture from air is to address climate change.”
    (excerpt from the report, page 11)
    Unfortunately, I’d say. 😉

  41. “Leading this project convinced me that scientists and engineers are poised to provide many creative strategies to reduce the risks of dangerous climate change.”
    ————-
    I’ll bet there are …..plenty

  42. It frightens me that Socolow, Desmond and the other so-called “scientists” are given any credence at all. As mentioned numerous times in postings above, CO2 is naturally removed from the atmosphere by green plants, something they require to produce sugars for their food and the O2 we require for life. And also as mentioned in postings above, the CO2 produced by man is almost inconsequential to that produced by natural phenomena, such as volcanic activity. Where do these idiots come from? Are PHD’s given away by the universities?

  43. “We ought to be developing plans to bring to an end the carbon dioxide emissions at every coal and natural gas power plant on the planet,” Socolow said.
    I’m sure he said this from the comfort of his well-lit, heated/air conditioned office (thanks to the local power plant and natural gas lines), while eating a bagel delivered by a gasoline powered truck, and using a computer made partially from petroleum products…
    Well-funded climate elites find it remarkably easy to tell other people that they must live in poverty and hardship in order to satisfy their own CAGW fantasies…

  44. I have just developed a model.
    A scientific computer model.
    It shows all the benefits of reducing the CO2 level in the atmosphere.
    In a spirit of generosity, I hereby bequive it to the WORLD.
    Her goes.
    Ready now.
    (It’s all in primative BASIC for all to read).
    10 A$
    GOTO 10
    20 END
    That’s all folks.

  45. I’ll try again.
    I may be a genius scientist, but this computer thing is very difficult, ain’t it?
    10 A$ = ” ”
    20 PRINT A$
    30 GOTO 20
    40 END

  46. tHE LAST LINE IS excess to requirements.
    Bu we were always told to end a program with an END statement.
    Somthing about avoiding an endless loop or something.
    I really can’t remember, but it was important, really.

  47. Maybe instead of ethanol subsidies we should just sequester our corn crop in deep mine shafts.
    Sarcasm/ off

  48. I guess this post says that AusiDan is as old as I am. 10 home – goto 10. lol

  49. “Make as many small purchases as possible. Buy as many small items as possible and insist on a paper bag”
    In my town you pay 15 cents tax per paper bag and plastic bags are against the law.

  50. The sciency part goes like this: “After careful study, we do not believe that it will be economically feasible to remove carbon from the atmosphere to any significant degree for the next few decades.”
    Everything else is political babble.
    Of course, the actual reason for having conducted the research in the first place was also political babble.

  51. Who are these clowns at Princeton?
    Have they not heard of the Carbon Cycle?
    Do they not realize that plants desperately need CO2 to survive?
    Do they not realize that plants do every day for nothing what they say cannot be done?
    Do they not realize that all life on earth is carbon based?
    Do they not realize that without CO2 this planet would be just a chunk of sandy rock?

  52. “Leading this project convinced me that scientists and engineers are poised to provide many creative strategies to reduce the risks of dangerous climate change.”
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$?

  53. E.M.Smith says:
    May 9, 2011 at 10:25 pm…
    My thoughts exactly similar.
    Or, howzabout getting those wind turbines put to good use (instead of knocking merry he11 out out whichever national grid they’re attached to) by using them to ‘fix nitrogen’.
    In its simplest form, use the windmill to drive a spark plug to produce NOx and dissolve the stuff in water.
    Possibly further convert it to ammonia and or nitrate then sprinkle gently over any nearby rainforest.
    Or, maybe even sell/give the nitrogen to any farmer and let him grow food with it – it’ll save all the CO2 that nitrate production currently emits and in (back of envelope) fact, the present UK fleet of windmills presently make as much energy as UK farmers use in the form of (nitrate) fertiliser.
    Its win win win – the CO2 is not emitted, the grid isn’t crashed/blacked out, the windmills do something useful (feed people) and the Natural Gas saved could keep a fair few cars on the road while releasing half the CO2 their petrol (gasoline) equivalents do……

  54. “Circular Logic 101” — Now, (SarcOn) turn around slowly. As this method is just tooooo expensive, and is bound to fail anyway, you’ll see that, as always, “THE ANSWER”, The Only Answer, Our Only Hope, is to change the way everything is done. The answer is a bigger, badder, meaner UN (and IPCC), a General Assembly with “Real” Power, a Security Council where all members rotate (no more “superdupper” veto-member stuff), and a Secretary General like, oh… yes, yes, “BIG BROTHER”!!!! That way everything is possible. We can save the World! Because –don’t tell or you’ll spoil the surprise for all the ‘people’ we’re NOT inviting to the party– the ONLY way to save everything is to destroy everything AND reduce the surplus population. How to regulate and deminish CO2? Close factories! Outlaw cars and airlpanes and chemical plants and fast food outlets, the list is endless. AND population? No Kids! Nada! Kids are to be regulated in every way — color, smell, size, IQ. etc. etc. So when these “little” plans like removing CO2 out of the air fall apart –as they no-doubt always will– there are still the Prime Directives to keep us focused and heading in the “right” direction: 1.) global govenment and 2.) population control. Welcome to The Brave New World –wipe your feet– take a seat; what’s your age, IQ, Mother’s maiden name…..?(SarcOff)

  55. I remembered this: http://tinyurl.com/6b38ncr
    A bunch of images of artificial trees to capture CO2. I think the images with the “trees” plastered in a desert like landscape says everything about these types of carbon dioxide hubris projects.

  56. John Marshall says:
    May 10, 2011 at 2:50 am
    Who are these clowns at Princeton?

    Who are these clowns on WUWT who don’t read the report?

  57. Catcracking says:
    May 9, 2011 at 4:24 pm
    “In its report, the group noted that, “No demonstration or pilot-scale DAC system has yet been deployed anywhere on earth, and it is entirely possible that no DAC concept under discussion today or yet to be invented will actually succeed in practice. Nonetheless, DAC has entered policy discussions and deserves close analysis.”
    I wonder if they have seen these photo’s and other info below?

    I’m sure they have, however that was not what the report was about, try reading it.

  58. Greg Cavanagh says:
    May 9, 2011 at 5:17 pm
    I can think of two methods off the top of my head. No idea how viable they are though.
    1. Run the exhaust air from a power station through green houses. What is usable by plants will be used, and you get a good return on your investment to boot.
    2. Bubble the exhaust through water. This could be a sewerage effluent plant, fresh water with algae, or salt water with algae. I believe the salt water algae version is used in animal food pellets and fertiliser.

    Another one who can’t read, that is the option that was priced at $80/ton, it however wasn’t the process that was being considered!

  59. Nuclear the only one that works and its cheap.
    Roll on China and Thorium reactors, the western civilisation is coming to an end, your time has arrived. Whatever happens do NOT embrace Democracy, it will kill you, expensively.

  60. David Keith is heading up an CO2 air capture program at the University of Calgary.
    See Air Capture publications
    They observe:

    . . . neither we nor others working in this area would be commercializing these approaches if we were not able to convince investors that we could develop technologies to capture CO2 from air at many times less than $1000/ton.

  61. Frank K. says:
    May 9, 2011 at 7:45 pm
    “We ought to be developing plans to bring to an end the carbon dioxide emissions at every coal and natural gas power plant on the planet,” Socolow said.
    I’m sure he said this from the comfort of his well-lit, heated/air conditioned office (thanks to the local power plant and natural gas lines),

    Actually thanks to the extremely efficient co-generation scheme that he proposed to the university about 15 years ago.
    http://www.princeton.edu/pr/pwb/07/1022/fuel/

  62. greg holmes
    Whatever happens do NOT embrace Democracy, it will kill you, expensively.
    No, it isn’t Democracy (read freedom) that will kill you, it is lack of Democracy that will kill you. the problem is that we have bureaucrats trying to make these decisions for us.
    MikeEE

  63. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:
    Did they ever stop to think that trees remove CO2 from the air? Once you go to Princeton you stop knowing that? I mean really.
    Seems to be an issue with Universities in general. Has me quite concerned for my children.
    My father used to refer to the “Educated Fools” he worked for. They were so “educated”, they had no room for simple common sense left in their heads.
    I am quite convinced the root of the problem is academic isolation – students who leave college and immediately return to teach, without experiencing reality outside the academic setting. Everything is taught as a theoretical ideal, and pronouncements made based on that, rather than on how any of it works in the real world.

  64. crosspatch says:

    “Make as many small purchases as possible. Buy as many small items as possible and insist on a paper bag”
    In my town you pay 15 cents tax per paper bag and plastic bags are against the law.

    And I remember not that long ago when they were hollering about how we had to switch from paper to plastic to save the environment. (plastic didn’t hurt the trees)

  65. Take the met Office yearly maximum and minimum data for England 1910 to 2009 and find the difference for each year. Plot the result and look for a reducing difference as would be the case if the CO2 increase over that period had any heat retaining properties. Can’t find any increaseing pattern there. Try averaging over each decade. Here is the data.
    1909 to 1918 7.8°C
    1919 to 1928 7.8°C
    1929 to 1938 7.6°C
    1939 to 1948 7.9°C
    1949 to 1958 7.6°C
    1959 to 1968 7.3°C
    1969 to 1978 7.5°C
    1979 to 1988 7.4°C
    1989 to 1998 7.6°C
    1999 to 2009 7.6°C
    The worst year in the data was 1968 at 6.93°C. The best year was 1925 at 8.78°C.

  66. Well carbon sequestration is more accurately defined as Oxygen sequestration. Well that is unless, they are proposing to remove the oxygen fromt he carbon before sequestering the carbon.
    Come to think of it, why would you want to sequester all that good chemical fuel.
    Does anybody kknow of another abundant fuel for chemical energy production besides Hydrogen and Carbon. What esle could we burn to get chemical energy ion massive quantities.
    I thought that CO2 was highly soluble in H2O, in fact CO2 is the major contaminant if otherwise pure water. If you leave 18 megohm DI water out for any length of time, the pH won’t remain at 7.0 for any amount of time, due to Henry’s law, and CO2. So doesn’t rain wash out a lot of CO2. So the hotter it gets, and the more atmospheric water vapor we get to form noctilucent high clouds that warm the planet even more, the rain from those clouds should wash out a lot of CO2. Come to think of it, the rain comes mostly from lower clouds. Maybe you don’t even get hail from the Nocticlouds.
    I would guess that carbon recovery from the atmosphere is at least as silly as hydrogen recovery from the ocean.

  67. Of course, the extent of our troposphere, where most of our energetic weather occurs, appears to be determined by the properties and dynamics of *water vapor*. This region appears to end at an altitude where the atmosphere literally runs out of steam. It appears to me that radiation and reflection from water molecules (or molecular aggregates) should be the primary cooling agent for this region of the atmosphere.
    I understand that the atmospheric cooling effect of CO2 by thermal radiation is restricted to those layers in the atmosphere above the stratosphere.
    Water appears to have an unusual electrically self-attracting molecule that goes through its solid-liquid-gas phase transitions at much higher temperatures than CO2 does. I would think that evaporating and condensing water vapor would alter the thermal energy spectrum of the atmosphere from that predicted by simple thermodynamic theory.

  68. It seems to me to be a no-brainer to run agricultural crop waste through a wood gasifier, use the combustion heat for various farm-related energy needs, and put the resulting biochar into the soil to lock up 50% of the carbon (without oxygen) and slowly release beneficial nutrients for thousands of years to come.
    Do a web search on terra preta, biochar, wood gas, etc.

  69. What is more worrying than the headline is what the fools would do if there were a viable system available.
    Taking CO2 levels as 7000ppm 600,000,000 years ago and 280ppm yesterday (geological yesterday). I know 600,000,000 years is too short a time to form any firm conclusions but that could mean that the Carbon cycle is not much of a cycle at all.
    A quick back of the envelope calc might suggest that life as we know it will end in about 16 million years or so (100ppm CO2). Mankind may well have doubled that expectancy with his evil ways, but even so.. a blink of a geological eye.
    You can just see the big green button (marked -4C) and a finger belonging to one of the “carbon pollution” idiots poised to start the machine Planet saved. Champaign corks pop in the background.
    (as a reminder to the “carbon is pollution” choir) The very base of the global food chain…
    Carbon Dioxide + Water + energy from the sun —becomes–> sugar and oxygen

  70. Kelvin Vaughan

    1909 to 1918 7.8°C
    1919 to 1928 7.8°C
    1929 to 1938 7.6°C
    1939 to 1948 7.9°C
    1949 to 1958 7.6°C
    1959 to 1968 7.3°C
    1969 to 1978 7.5°C
    1979 to 1988 7.4°C
    1989 to 1998 7.6°C
    1999 to 2009 7.6°C

    Dear kind Sir,
    You have to understand that throwing observed reality into the mix will surely upset the collective fragile mindset that is the climate communist hippie population and can result in a flatulent reaction from involuntary releasing of the collectively consciously tensed ring formed escape valve also known as the frightened vegan’s bowl syndrome. All I’m saying is stand clear. :p

  71. TonyG says:
    May 10, 2011 at 7:53 am
    Amino Acids in Meteorites says:
    Did they ever stop to think that trees remove CO2 from the air? Once you go to Princeton you stop knowing that? I mean really.
    Seems to be an issue with Universities in general. Has me quite concerned for my children.

    It has me greatly concerned also, the total lack of reading comprehension (or even reading at all!)
    A committee of very smart people is assembled to study the feasibility of a chemical method of extracting CO2 from the air and further concentrating it for sequestration.
    They write a report giving their findings, entitled “Direct Air Capture of CO2 with Chemicals”. The first paragraph explicitly states what they are considering:
    “In systems achieving direct air capture (DAC) of carbon dioxide (CO2), ambient air flows over a chemical sorbent, either liquid or solid, that selectively removes the CO2. The CO2 is then released as a concentrated stream for disposal or reuse, while the sorbent is regenerated and the CO2-depleted air is returned to the atmosphere.”
    No one on here has discussed this instead they’ve gone of on irrelevant tangents about plants or using such a system to clean up flue gas (mentioned in the report but not what was being considered). The conclusion was that a DAC approach would not be practical and explicitly mention the much more economical approach of cleaning up flue gases and “terrestrial biological strategies: 1) afforestation, reforestation, and other measures that store additional carbon on the land, and 2) capture of CO2 from bioenergy facilities, such as biomass power plants”.
    Please learn to read!

  72. Phil. says:
    May 10, 2011 at 4:47 am
    Catcracking says:
    May 9, 2011 at 4:24 pm
    “In its report, the group noted that, “No demonstration or pilot-scale DAC system has yet been deployed anywhere on earth, and it is entirely possible that no DAC concept under discussion today or yet to be invented will actually succeed in practice. Nonetheless, DAC has entered policy discussions and deserves close analysis.”
    I wonder if they have seen these photo’s and other info below?
    I’m sure they have, however that was not what the report was about, try reading
    Phil,
    Sorry Phil you are the one who is not reading the links I provided.
    There is a pilot plant that has been built and has operated. Just look at the links I provided.
    I agree that the concept may not be economic but that was not my point or the message of the quotes I provided for the article.
    As you said Phil, Please learn to read!!
    If you read the links you would have learned that this invention does exactly this:
    “In systems achieving direct air capture (DAC) of carbon dioxide (CO2), ambient air flows over a chemical sorbent, either liquid or solid, that selectively removes the CO2. The CO2 is then released as a concentrated stream for disposal or reuse, while the sorbent is regenerated and the CO2-depleted air is returned to the atmosphere.”

  73. Listen to this jamoke:
    “We ought to be developing plans to bring to an end the carbon dioxide emissions at every coal and natural gas power plant on the planet,” Socolow said.
    This guy wouldn’t know the scientific method if it bit him on the a… nkle.
    Capturing and sequestering CO2 would at least be arguable [but still never cost-effective] if there was any evidence showing that CO2 causes global damage. But there is no such evidence, and not for lack of trying to find it.
    CO2 at current and projected concentrations is a harmless trace gas. Further, its rise is largely responsible for the increase in agricultural productivity. Since CO2 is both harmless and beneficial, more is better. And to the extent that CO2 may contribute to a slightly warmer, more pleasant world, its rise is desirable.
    To the one-third of the planet’s population that exists at subsistence levels, the additional CO2 is all good. But the self-serving grant hogs with both front feet in the public trough don’t care about those living on the edge of starvation. Instead, they care about getting their cut of taxpayer loot from the constant demonization of “carbon,” and adding to their bragging rights for having another worthless study in their CVs. If they had private sector jobs in the real world, they would feel like the rest of us do when we see our tax money wasted on these “carbon studies.”

  74. Phil,
    Please look up “context”, and then understand that I was not commenting directly on the article but was, rather, making a general comment prompted by yet another comment.
    Yes, it veered off-topic a bit. That happens.

  75. Phil
    Ever heard of irony, commonly known in the antipodes as ‘taking the piss?
    Try various brands of humour if you don’t think irony fits. And I’d be the first to admit that some attempts at humour here fall a bit short, but your own utter lack of perspective is showing.
    Please tell us all, if you can, why all of these really clever and highly educated people are wasting taxpayers’ time and money on a non-problem, then let us guess what flavour Kool-aid you like best.
    And if you can’t spot sarcasm from your lofty perch, I can’t help you. 🙂

  76. RE: Phil (May 10, 2011 at 1:06 pm)
    No one on here has discussed this instead they’ve gone of on irrelevant tangents…
    I believe, for many here, spending national treasure to remove CO2 from the atmosphere is an irrelevant tangent as the need to do this appears to be based on an unfounded fear.
    If CO2 were as dangerous some think it is, the increase from 280 ppm to 390 ppm concentration should have increased ground temperatures from 287 deg K to 399 deg K, while in fact there has only been a global temperature increase of about 0.8 deg K since the period from about 1870 to 1900 according to data from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, UK.
    I think it more likely that some over-zealous, uncontrolled biological plan to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere might actually succeed in causing global CO2 plant starvation.

  77. 1DandyTroll says:
    May 10, 2011 at 1:06 pm
    You have to understand that throwing observed reality into the mix will surely upset the collective fragile mindset that is the climate communist hippie population and can result in a flatulent reaction from involuntary releasing of the collectively consciously tensed ring formed escape valve also known as the frightened vegan’s bowl syndrome. All I’m saying is stand clear.
    Oh dear that will be the begining of another bout of Tornados. (Chaos theory.)

  78. As a result, the group concluded, DAC is not likely to become worthwhile until nearly all the significant point sources of carbon dioxide are eliminated.
    In other words, become a Luddite and live off the grid.

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