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Carbon dioxide capture from the air is a hot topic at the
The two current technologies (amine-based or carbonate
based) use either expensive synthetic chemicals to
promote solvation, or energy-intensive chemicals to react
Cost of CO2 direct-air-capture looks to be around
tonne. To be a feasible climate change mitigation tool, this
needs to come down to around £100 per tonne.
CO2s solubility in water is strongly temperature
dependent- much more so than nitrogen or oxygen. So it
should be possible to extract CO2 from air using
The problem is that CO2 solubility is related to partial
pressure, and the concentration in the atmosphere is low
Rather than a single cycle with expensive chemicals, a
multi-stage thermal process with just water will enable
separation of CO2 from air.
The first stage starts with chilled (say 10C) pure water.
Sprayed in air, it will dissolve CO2, nitrogen and oxygen
(and trace gasses) proportional to their partial pressure
and solubility at that temperature. CO2, despite its low
partial pressure, will dissolve preferentially over the other
The water/gas solution flows through a heater, where the
gassed are released from solution. The water flows on to
be chilled and re-circulated. The gas mixture, somewhat
enriched in CO2, flows to the second stage.
The second stage repeats the process, again enriching the
CO2 fraction of the resulting gas. The water is again
My calculations suggest that for 60 degree thermal cycles,
CO2 is 99% after 4 cycles.
To increase efficiency, heat is recovered across
heating/cooling cycles (using standard heat exchangers)
This would still require high flow-rates and heating rates in
the first stage. Siting a plant next to a hydroelectric dam
might make sense.
Diesel made from CO2
Greenwashing and environmental spin. Yes, if you extract CO2 from the atmosphere you can make hydrocarbon fuels from it. Thats not new. [Frankx, Oct 02 2019]
Differential solubility vacuum pump
my me. An idea that was on my list for a couple of years; I was reminded to post it by this idea, which is related. [notexactly, Oct 03 2019]
xkcd - Earth temperature timeline
If you can't trust xkcd, who can you trust? [Loris, Oct 03 2019]
Independent analysis [Frankx, Oct 04 2019]
Temperature - CO2 correlation
Berkeley Earth Temp/CO2 correlation, with 95% confidence intervals [Frankx, Oct 04 2019]
||//Cost of CO2 direct-air-capture looks to be around £600 per
tonne.// I am prepared to sell you acorns at considerably less
than £600 each.
||How about Juglans & Castanea sativa instead, edible too.
||I know you 'can' eat acorns but not needing to bleach the nut
first is a definite advantage.
||How does the energy cost per tonne look compared to the current processes? You should be able to do at least a rough calculation.
Even if you're using 'green' energy, the process needs to be as efficient as possible to function at scale.
||To understand why CO2 dissolves in the chilled water preferentially, I looked into it - here is some data for those interested:
||gas, solubility at 10 degC, solubility at 60 degC
CO2, 2.5, 0.6
O2, 0.055, 0.023
N2, 0.028, 0.011
||These are estimates read from graphs, the units are grams gas per kilogram water.
Also, these are for pure gasses at 1 atmosphere. One needs to consider only the fraction of the gas in a mixture.
||The solubility graphs are steeper in the range 0..20 degrees C, particularly for CO2. It might make sense to chill the water (and
incoming air) a bit further and heat less (for CO2, 0 degrees is 3.4 g/kg, and 40 degrees is 1.0 g/kg).
Given that electricity can be transported over some distance with only limited losses, it might make more sense to site the plant next to a source of diffuse CO2 - like a
cowshed, or even combine it with ventilation for large buildings of people.
This could increase the starting concentration a thousand-fold.
||//site the plant next to a source of diffuse CO2// It might be
logistically simpler to just bring coal or oil near to the plant
and burn it there.
||// To increase efficiency, heat is recovered across heating/cooling cycles
(using standard heat exchangers) //
||Not only can you use heat exchangers to preheat/prechill and thereby reduce
the requirements on the thing pushing heat in/pulling heat out, I believe you
can also recycle that heat, by pumping it from a place you want to chill to a
place you want to heat, and then letting the process gas transfer that same
heat the other way, like a dehumidifier does.
||[MB] I agree that our number one priority in not
f**ing up our lovely planet is to stop extracting
geological carbon, burning it, and releasing CO2 to
atmosphere. And that photosynthesis is a beautiful
and brilliant way of capturing CO2 from the
atmosphere- astonishingly good, given the low
(400ppm) concentration - so I have ideas to post
about biomass and sequestration.
||This idea is partly in response to the recent magic
solution press [link] touting a new method to
extract CO2 from the atmosphere and convert it
into fuel. Good marketing/greenwashing by the oil
||It has now been boosted by $68m in new
investment from Chevron, Occidental and coal
||But climate campaigners are worried that the
technology will be used to extract even more oil
||However. We face dramatic social change in
response to our duty to look after our planet.
||Our transport systems are heavily dependent on
liquid hydrocarbon fuels. We can synthesise fuels
from CO2 from the air (wasteful and frankly
ridiculous that is, in energy terms), or we can try
to convert our transport infrastructure to zero-
emission energy very quickly.
||Apparently Tesla's electric semi trucks are out and in use
||//We face dramatic social change in response to our duty to
look after our planet.//
||That is undoubtedly true. For one thing, at some point when
the bubble bursts all the climate "scientists" will be lynched.
Greta Bloody Thunberg will have to watch out too.
||//at some point when the bubble bursts all the climate
"scientists" will be lynched. Greta Bloody Thunberg will have
to watch out too.//
||Max, your views are often interesting and I hope you will
expand on that.
||[MB] - yes, what Loris said.
||//I hope you will expand // I have already expanded, and
am taking metabolic uncouplers to try to reduce again.
||More generally, we still don't have the first clue about how
our climate works. I'm not saying that CO2 isn't warming
the climate - it might be. But equally it might not be.
Certainly the raw physics of it suggest not - you have to
assume lots of synergistic and positive-feedback effects.
Every single predictive model has failed by factors larger
than the predicted effect. New models are based entirely
on recent data - i.e., they are not models, they are just
analyses. If this were done in any non-religious field of
science, it would be howled out.
||One question I've never seen answered satisfactorily is this.
We are told that the recent warming is "unprecedented" in
its speed. But all of the historical climate data (back
beyond a few centuries) gives us temperatures which are
averaged over hundreds or thousands of years.
||In other words, what looks to us like a rise of (say) 3°C over
a period of 1000 years back in the neolithic, could
equally well have been a 3°C rise over 50 years - the data
isn't fine-grained enough to say. So, we just don't know
whether fluctuations like the one we're seeing today have
happened once, twice or a hundred times in the past. And
if temperatures had risen and then fallen within a single
century, we probably wouldn't even know there'd been a
||I am no longer completely convinced that anthropogenic
global warming _isn't_ real. In case it is (and for other
reasons) it probably makes sense to reduce CO2 emissions.
But there is absolutely no genuine science to argue one way
or the other.
||[MB], thank you, thats a beautifully
straightforward and cogent argument. I have so far
found the anthropogenic warming argument
convincing, but I certainly agree with some of your
points. Ill have to go away and do some more
||//More generally, we still don't have the first clue about how our climate works. I'm not saying that CO2 isn't warming the climate - it
might be. But equally it might not be. Certainly the raw physics of it suggest not - you have to assume lots of synergistic and positive-
feedback effects. Every single predictive model has failed by factors larger than the predicted effect. New models are based entirely
on recent data - i.e., they are not models, they are just analyses. If this were done in any non-religious field of science, it would be
||As I understood it, the physics of 'direct' CO2 influence on the climate are pretty settled, and accepted by essentially everyone. I
haven't looked into the models at all, but I am supposing that the assumed positive-feedback effects you mention would be things
which might happen in future, i.e. concerns about catastrophic rises (e.g. methane release from under-sea clathrates, bogs etc),
rather than to fit historical data. Is that reasonable?
If so, I guess it's always going to be the case, just like vulcanologists don't know for definite that t'volcano is going to brew up.
||//One question I've never seen answered satisfactorily is this. We are told that the recent warming is "unprecedented" in its speed. But
all of the historical climate data (back beyond a few centuries) gives us temperatures which are averaged over hundreds or thousands
||I've linked to an xkcd comic, which shows a plot he generated for the last few thousand years.
You can see the line wang gradually up and down from about -4.5 to +0.5 (compared to an arbitrary point late 20th century). There's a
comment a couple of pages down indicating how much error he thinks there is in the data, and it's not more than a degree for a short
period, or about a quarter of a degree for longer. You could of course argue that the source data he used was totally wrong. But you'd
have to claim that it had been misinterpreted, or become corrupted through processing somehow, you can't say there is no data.
And since the events he's written on are basically the extent of ice coverage, I think there's likely pretty good geographical evidence
for them, and I'm certainly imagining that they match up.
But I don't think you're saying that - you're talking about not having data for time before that.
||So never mind ancient history. Looking at the last hundred years, which we have good records for. Anthropomogenic CO2 emissions
have ramped up massively during that period, and this is just the point where suddenly the temperature line swings up faster than it
had at any point previously (in the period covered).
All of that is I think consistent with what you said. It's just that you don't think the correlation implies causation?
(And also, you're nit-picking that "unprecedented" means since humans evolved, rather than during the mere duration of recorded
human history, but whatevs.)
||//the physics of 'direct' CO2 influence on the climate are
pretty settled, and accepted by essentially everyone.// It's
not quite that simple. The amount of re-radiated heat
absorbed by an extra 300ppm (that's an extra 0.03% of the
atmosphere) is minuscule, and a simple physics model (ie,
change in energy budget) doesn't really predict a
perceptible effect. Bear in mind that other gases (oxygen,
nitrogen) also have a "greenhouse effect" - much less than
that of CO2, but then they are present at 1000 times higher
||To get an effect for CO2 in the range we're talking about,
you really need to pick a very special set of circumstances,
and to ignore many other factors that could be orders of
magnitude more important, but about which we know very
||If you can find a physicist who hasn't been following the
climate story, and ask them to work out the effect of an
extra 0.03% CO2, they'll come back with zero.
||Now, it might be that that "very special set of
circumstances" does in fact apply, and that the other
factors can indeed be ignored. But we simply do not know.
What actually happened was that global temperatures
started to rise (undeniable); we don't know if this is
"normal" or not for Earth; and people started to look for
reasons; and the CO2 story was qualitatively plausible and
could be quantitatively _made_ plausible, after a lot of
selective post-hoc reasoning.
||//I've linked to an xkcd comic, which shows a plot he
generated for the last few thousand years.// Yes, I've seen
it - in fact that's the cartoon that prompted my argument.
Yes, if there had been similarly large fluctuations in the
very recent past we would know. But, going back over a
_significant_ timespan, the very data that the cartoon relies
on has an inherent smoothing in it - that's the limit of its
resolution. What's drawn as a smooth curve with one
sudden upturn could (up to a few centuries ago) have had
multiple spikes that we would simply not be able to see.
The year-by-year or decade-by-decade data can only be
recovered for a short way back in time.
||//So never mind ancient history.// But you _have_ to mind
ancient history. There's no question that temperatures
have gone up in the very recent past. What we desperately
need to know is whether they've done so (and then dropped
again) in the longer past. OK, imagine that we really did
year-by-year temperatures for the last 5000 years.
Possibility 1: there has never been as rapid and large a rise
as we're seeing now. We should be really worried, and
there's a good chance that we are causing the current rise.
Possibility 2: there were two similar rises and a couple of
dips, both happening and then resolving over a couple of
centuries. These happened 2200, 3300 and 3900 years ago.
In that case, we should probably still be worried (climate
change is disruptive), but it's much less likely that we're
causing the current rise, and quite possible that we can't do
much about it except to move people and animals around to
help them ride it out.
||My point is that we have no evidence to decide between the
||//you don't think the correlation implies causation?// The
problem is that we looked for a correlation, and we did it at
the first time when we have had reliable temperature
measurements of the planet. I am pretty sure I could
produce very plausible correlations _over_the_
same_timescale_ based on, for instance:
||(a) Total foliage-free land area. We've tarmacked or
ploughed a lot more than 0.03% of the Earth's surface,
greatly reducing its albedo. Give me a little feedback and
following wind and I can make that one work.
||(b) The ozone hole (very real, indisputably anthropogenic).
We worried about UV, but the real impact was on algae and
plankton in the top layers of the arctic oceans. I could
make that work too, at a pinch.
||(c) Direct heat generation by humans. Aside from CO2, we
pump hundreds of terawatts of heat straight into the
atmosphere. Not enough to change temperatures directly,
but the concentrated heat around densely-populated areas
leads to large scale convection which moves water vapour
higher into the atmosphere, which in turn... you get the
||//Anthropomogenic CO2 emissions have ramped up
massively during that period, and this is just the point
where suddenly the temperature line swings up// Not
quite. I don't want to nitpick, but the fastest temperature
rise (taking a 2-decade moving average) happened in about
1910-1930, when CO2 rose by a minuscule 10ppm (as against
a total rise, up to now, of 300ppm). Temperatures then
plateaued in the 1940s-60s, just as CO2 levels started to
take off. Then they started rising again, about as quickly as
(not faster than) they had in 1910-1930.
||So, overall, both CO2 and temperature have risen a lot in
the last 100 years; but if you break that down into decades,
they don't correlate - even if you try to assume a lag
between the former and the latter. It's just not a nice
||[***BONUS CALCULATION***] Total human energy usage is
about 5x10^20 Joules per year, all of which ends up as heat
in the atmosphere. Given the mass of the atmosphere
(5x10^21g) and the heat capacity of nitrogen (about 1J/g/
°K), it follows that if all that heat were added to the
atmosphere, it would increase its temperature by 0.1°C per
year. Now, of course, that's a very naive calculation for lots
of reasons, but you can see that with a few "selected"
conditions, we could hang global warming on direct heat
production just as we do on CO2 emissions.
||I want to start out by saying that if I don't mention a part of your post it's probably because I agree, or at least don't disagree.
But to mention one part in particular:
[as a potential confounder]
//...Total foliage-free land area. We've tarmacked or ploughed a lot more than 0.03% of the Earth's surface, greatly reducing its
I understood this to be a concern for measurements, which was why I said that the measurement data might be misinterpreted
or corrupted. My memory of this was that the climate scientists were worried about the 'heat island effect', where measuring
devices are in areas which became urbanised and hence warmer. One would hope that this sort of thing was accounted for. But I
fully concede that this sort of issue will potentially give the calculation an undesirable number of degrees of freedom.
||I can't really comment on the physics of the insulating effect of CO2. I /thought/ it was clear, but will have to look into it later.
One thing which is typical in the more in-depth articles is that CO2 is not the only 'greenhouse' gas. Methane is more potent, for
example, and SF6 is apparently 23,500 times worse! Fortunately that isn't released in large amounts.
At least part of anthropogenic methane release is due to fossil fuel extraction, so I don't have much inclination to make a big
distinction for it as an alternate hypothesis. I know essentially nothing about SF6 use, and apparently it's not much, but if that
were the real cause and we could just stop doing it, then ... well, we win.
re: the xkcd cartoon:
//But, going back over a _significant_ timespan, the very data that the cartoon relies on has an inherent smoothing in it - that's
the limit of its resolution. What's drawn as a smooth curve with one sudden upturn could (up to a few centuries ago) have had
multiple spikes that we would simply not be able to see.//
As I said, there is an indication of the expected error within the diagram. He may have this wrong, but it does seem to have
||////Anthropomogenic CO2 emissions have ramped up massively during that period, and this is just the point where suddenly the
temperature line swings up// Not quite. I don't want to nitpick, but the fastest temperature rise (taking a 2-decade moving
average) happened in about 1910-1930, when CO2 rose by a minuscule 10ppm (as against a total rise, up to now, of 300ppm).
Temperatures then plateaued in the 1940s-60s, just as CO2 levels started to take off. Then they started rising again, about as
quickly as (not faster than) they had in 1910-1930.//
||I don't think it's nitpicking; if the correlation is important, we should look at the correlation!
This was interesting enough that I had a look at some data from ourworldindata.org, and I... don't see that.
I took a 2-decade average for every year's global average temperature (in degrees C), and calculated each point's difference
from that of the prior (non-overlapping) range, then sorted by value. The highest pre-1950 value was 1926-1945 vs 1906-1925
diff=0.25825 - in 19th place. The 1920-40s seem to have been about on par with the early 1980-2000s in terms of rise from 20
||The first 10 values are:
1997-2016 vs 1977-1996 diff=0.3731
1998-2017 vs 1978-1997 diff=0.3703
1994-2013 vs 1974-1993 diff=0.36795
1995-2014 vs 1975-1994 diff=0.3654
1996-2015 vs 1976-1995 diff=0.3636
1990-2009 vs 1970-1989 diff=0.3606
1991-2010 vs 1971-1990 diff=0.35765
1993-2012 vs 1973-1992 diff=0.35395
1988-2007 vs 1968-1987 diff=0.3512
1987-2006 vs 1967-1986 diff=0.34955
||These are predominantly the most recent ranges, and this backs up a recent global temperature increase.
||This is very much a discrepancy and I think we should try to get to the bottom of it. It may be that you're using a different
dataset. But they shouldn't be that different. It's possible that the data I'm using hasn't been as aggressively massaged (to
remove the heat-island effect, etc.) as yours.
I must also concede that I may have made a mistake in the spreadsheet somewhere, although I have checked it.
||I find Berkeley Earth give a very balanced argument - they
acknowledge many of the problems with the "scientific
establishment" argument and set out to be independent,
avoid the hidden assumptions, and assess the data
objectively. And they use a number of methods to check and
qualify their own assumptions.
||//there is an indication of the expected error within the
diagram// I may be going mad or something, but I can't see
it. He/she has a dashed line for temperature, and at the
very bottom there are three diverging lines for predictions,
but I can't see any indication of either (a) the error in the
temperature shown or (b) the methods used to measure
past temperatures (and hence the period over which they're
||//This is very much a discrepancy// I just Googled image-
searched "temperature versus CO2 graph", and found several
plots that show both things plotted together. It's noticeable
that no two plots are quite the same, which is indeed
worrying. But I didn't come across any where the bumps
and dips in CO2 matched the rate of temperature increase,
either directly or shifted in time (which you'd expect to be
the case). If you do the same search, you'll get the same
sort of variety. (Note: a lot of the graphs extend back for
millennia or more, and involve huge swings in both CO2 and
temperature; there _is_ a clear correlation there but I'm
talking about man-made CO2 changes.)
||Bottom line is that (a) all the current models are post-hoc;
as soon as a model has been around long enough, it fails to
the new data (since it wasn't based on the new data), and
gets replaced by a new up-to-date post-hoc model (b)
climate change has become a religion, and the quality of
the science is really poor (c) other anthropogenesis models
not based on CO2 (as well as many non-anthropogenesis
models) could be made to work just as well as the CO2
||It's _important_ to get the science right. Suppose, for
example, that direct heating really is more important than
people think*, and CO2 is much less important. In that
case, our current policy of using low-emission technologies
to reduce CO2, whilst not impacting total energy usage, are
||*There are some papers pointing a finger at direct heating.
They suggest it's accounting for 5-10% of the recent
warming. But given the uncertainties in the whole business,
it could be 1% or 90%.
||////there is an indication of the expected error within
I may be going mad or something,
but I can't see it. He/she has a dashed line for
temperature, and at the very bottom there are three
lines for predictions, but I can't see any indication of
either (a) the error in the temperature shown or (b) the
methods used to measure past temperatures (and hence
the period over which they're effectively
||a) is embedded in the body, on the right between 16000
BC and 15500 BC.
b) Sources of the data are given at the top, in small
writing down the on the right hand side of the image.
||Temperature - CO2 correlation [link]
||It's not quite as unequivocal as the classic hockey-stick
graph, but does show the 95% confidence limits.
||[Loris] Ah yes, I see it now. He/she is saying brief spikes (a
decade or so) would be smoothed out but longer ones (a
century) would not. And, indeed, our current warming is
longer than a decade or so. But, to be frank, I don't believe
him/her. I haven't followed up his/her references for
temperature data (and I can't, for journal articles he/she
cites), but I would be very surprised if any/all of them have
sub-century resolution going back more than a millennium
||[Frankx] I'm not sure what you're arguing from that graph.
It doesn't show [CO2] and T over time; it's another post-hoc
model showing "retrospectively predicted" versus actual
temperatures. But, if you like that graph, you'll note that it
shows violent _actual_ (?) temperature oscillations between
1775 and 1825. We're looking at oscillations on the order of
1-2 degrees per decade, back and forth - steeper than the
more recent changes (although swinging back and forth on a
||If you want to argue that the oscillations from 1775 to 1825
are "man made" - good luck. If you want to argue that they
are "just noise", it's very difficult to argue that a less-steep
change for 2-4 times as long isn't also noise. Assuming it's a
chaotic system, you would *expect* exactly that sort of
||I'm not quibbling for quibblement's sake, and arguments
from either side based on one graph or one short period are
spurious. But my point is that the whole thing is really,
really messy and complicated. And that's _after_ it has all
been strained through the filter of peer review, which I am
pretty sure is not impartial. So, yes, I am saying I don't
trust the sources.
||If there's one thing I think we can all agree on, it's that it's really messy and
||There is one thing I would like to know*, and it is this: what
data can the climate scientists imagine that would disprove
the effect of anthropogenic CO2 on global temperatures? In
other words, is it a falsifiable hypothesis? So far, it has
been adapted to new data as new data becomes available;
what data would actually break the hypothesis?
||(*This is clearly preposterous. For instance, I would like to
know what tomorrow's lottery numbers will be, what
happened to MH370, and exactly why the silver plating on
teaspoons wears off long before that on forks.)
||I think theres two useful things from the graph.
||If you just take 1950 to present (and this is
measured data, not modelled) atmospheric CO2
and temperature have been measured with high
accuracy, and have both risen significantly. They
are correlated, but I agree correlation is not
causation. But we know for certain that human
activity has released GTs of CO2 over that period,
so its not unreasonable to link release of CO2 to
atmospheric concentration, rather than look for
the opposite causation (temp causes CO2)
||Secondly, there is much more uncertainty in the
older data (and more dependence on post-hoc
modelling) which is reflected in the confidence
bounds plotted - but it still supports a correlation
between CO2 concentration and temperature.
||Falsifiability: unfortunately difficult to implement.
We could stop releasing CO2 for a decade, and look
for a corresponding change in temperature. Or we
could do the opposite. Or, if we found well
validated temperature and CO2 proxies where a
multi-decade CO2 increase coincided with a global
temperature decrease (or vice-versa), that would
be good counter-evidence. But I dont see that in
||And I think finally: the precautionary principle.
There is a hazard which could cause massive
human social disruption, famine and death, and
extinction of many other species. We cant
quantify the risk precisely, but we know its pretty
high. So as a precaution, we should stop doing the
things that might bring it about.
||// Falsifiability: unfortunately difficult to implement.//
No, I'm not talking about an artificial experiment (like
stopping CO2 emissions and seeing the result). I'm talking
about a natural experiment - in other words, what climatic
phenomena would disprove the hypothesis? Way back at the
start, people were saying things like "an increase of X°C
over the next Y years would support the hypothesis", but
when the X°C rise didn't happen, the hypothesis was kept.
When there was a brief pause in the warming, that was
incorporated into the new post-hoc models, and therefore
didn't disprove the hypothesis.
||So, I'm asking the climatologists to put a flag in the sand
and say "If _this_ happened, it would invalidate the
hypothesis." And then stick to their word.
||//its not unreasonable to link release of CO2 to
atmospheric concentration// I agree, CO2 is rising rapidly
and this is _almost_ certainly due to anthropogenic
emissions. The question, of course, is whether that in turn
is causing the current temperature increase.
||I'd be very interested to know what the climatologists think
caused the very violent (though only decade-long)
oscillations around the end of the 18th century. (It's
interesting, by the way, that as soon as have decent direct
day-by-day temperature measurements back in the late
1700s, the first thing we find are rapid oscillations in
||I think this is all connected to economics in the broadest sense, with energy budgets and human budgets and financial budgets all interacting in a very complex long-term way.
||At the end of the day the laws of thermodynamics win anyway.
||Why don't you let trees and grass capture the CO2.
Focus on energy storage and generation.
||And read about stock charts and correlations. In a field
that, believe me, has been studied MUCH, MUCH, MUCH
more carefully than climate science.
||Turns out, most people making money on stock charts are
people that are selling tools to analyze stock charts.
People using stock charts can't beat the market.
||Up on the hills, we call it weather.
||Thanks all for the valuable views. Ill have to do
some more research and go back to original data.
||//I think this is all connected to economics// I think it's all
connected to asking climatologists what they think is going to
end the world. If you'd asked a bunch of mycologists instead,
we'd all be spending billions on fighting mushrooms.
||Ultimately we are an organism adapting to changing conditions, whether self imposed or environmental. Trying to seer the best bang for the buck is not really nature's way but rather work on all methods, that test to help should be the goal and see what settles out as the best.
||Of course, a cheap, out of this well, organism pressure release would be my option for humanities widest survival.
||There is x amount of potential energy stored as geological hydrocarbons. By the time of the heat death of the universe, that energy will have been liberated through burning or some analogous chemical process. There are also humans with needs, desires, and abilities. By the time of the heat death of the universe they will all be dead.
||I always thought oil was Earth's fat store and was destined for microbial inheritance or human's slavery of GM microbes for a cut of the generated resources.
||// the precautionary principle //
||Seemingly wise, but in fact extremely dangerous as it involves making decisions on the basis of limited facts and without proof - something politicians love, and therefore to be scrupulously avoided.
||Agreed - there are costs and risks in the present policy of
reducing CO2 emissions. First, it has a financial cost, and
money=lives; money spent on wind turbines has to come from
somewhere, whether it's policing, the NHS or whatever.
Second, switching to renewable energy means that people can
and will continue their current energy-intensive lifestyles; so,
if CO2 isn't the culprit, eyes will be taken off other possibly
more important balls.
||Why aren't these climatologists incredibly wealthy ?
||They are claiming, in effect, to ba able to predict the outcome of a football game from two or three adjacent frames, taken part-way through, with no a priori knowledge of the score, and having never previously seen a football match from beginning to end.
||Your planet is 3.5 billion of your years old. 10kyears ago it was glaciated. Your direct climate records only go back 200 years, and are patchy at best for half that time. You have had planet-sensing satellites for about fifty years.
||Everything else has to be inferred from tree rings and ice cores. Those don't reach back very far and there are wide error bands.
||The underlying geologic processes - deep ocean gas diffusion, volcanism, phytoplankton blooms - are not understood, and therefore cannot be quantfied.
||The Drake equation seems to involve fewer - and more quantifiable - assumptions ...
||//Why aren't these climatologists incredibly wealthy ? //
A few of them are. And, as a profession, the amount of
money washing around has increased about 10-fold from 1990
to 2010 (as US government funding).
||Which begs the question "Cui bono ?" ...