Prof: Carbon sequestration 'as bad as nuclear waste'
Sweeping CO2 under geological carpet won't work
A Danish climate scientist has published a paper criticising carbon sequestration - the idea of dealing with CO2 emissions by stuffing the greenhouse gas away into underground or deep-sea storage where it can't affect the atmosphere.
Professor Gary Shaffer of the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen was already mildly well-known for his suggestion that the world's fossil fuel resources should be saved up in order to fight the next ice age in 100,000 years' time using targeted global warming.
Now the prof has done some long-term analysis into the consequences of massive carbon sequestration, and he doesn't seem happy with what he's found. According to a statement issued by the Niels Bohr Institute, sequestration amounts to creating "a burden for future society... in line with that of long term management of nuclear waste".
“The dangers of carbon sequestration are real," insists Shaffer. "We should greatly limit CO2 emissions in our time to reduce the need for massive carbon sequestration and thus reduce unwanted consequences and burdens over many future generations from the leakage of sequestered CO2.”
The prof says that deep-ocean sequestration is a definite no-no, as it means "grave problems for deep sea life" right off and the carbon gets back into the atmosphere quite fast, too.
The more commonly advocated plan of pumping CO2 into disused oil or gas fields doesn't meet with Shaffer's approval either. He points out that these subterranean/subsea reservoirs are scarcely leak-proof.
"One should not underestimate potential short and long-term problems with leakage from underground reservoirs. Carbon in light form will seek its way out of the ground or seabed. The present situation in the Gulf of Mexico is a poignant reminder of that," he argues.
According to Shaffer's analysis, geological sequestration is only worthwhile if a leakage rate of less than one per cent over a thousand years can be obtained. Otherwise the various issues of acidification, re-sequestration, sea level rises etc outweigh the benefits.
The professor's research can be read here by subscribers to the journal Nature Geoscience. ®
How about a real CO2 solution
Population control, returning land to nature, and planting on a large scale will lower CO2 levels fast and doesn't require half assed schemes that are just putting a problem off. Population control will also solve a great deal of other problems as a nice little side.
I can do something with all that nuclear waste. I can build an buntload of radioelectric generators. Though thier output will diminish as the radioactivity of the material decreases, they will still produce some useful power. If there is so much nuclear waste as to be such an unbelievably TERRIBLE burden on humanity for MILLIONS of years, then there is MILLIONS Of years worth of electricity to reap.
Now, the kind of waste that sits around for millions of years doesn't exactly pump out huge amounts of power, but at the same time, it degrades the REGs at a slower pace too.
There is ALL SORTS of useful stuff you can do with nuclear waste, but people are jsut so damned terrified of it that burying it is less politically damaging.
Anyone who knows a damned thing about the science behind radioactive materials doesn’t fear any that has a half life of more than a year. RESPECT those materials, of course. Treat them as what they are: deadly power sources that need proper handling. Still, we use terribly chemicals every single day in other industrial processes that are hundreds of thousands of times more deadly than any radioactive waste.
My roommate is an Environmental technologist. If there’s an oil spill, chemical spill, or pretty much anything else that requires samples of soil, air, water or what-have-you to be tested, he’s the guy to call. They store at any of their facilities enough chemicals to wipe out a good sized city if you know what you were doing. In fact, the hardest part of their job is disposing of the chemicals after they are done using them for testing samples, because if you don’t watch what you are doing, you end up creating things like nerve gas.
(In fact, a noob at my buddy’s work accidentally created a nerve gas used in WWI at the office one day, and caused the evacuation of a multi-block radius.) These aren’t facilities on the edge of town or out in the bush. This is in the middle of a metro of a million people, and no one blinks an eye or cares.
Mention for a single second that the University five blocks away has a small reactor, and a reasonable amount of radioactive material on hand, and people go apeshit bananas. I really wish that people who are terrified of the radioactive boogyman would shut up and learn some bloody science.
Maybe then we could stop doing dumb things like burning coal for fuel. Coal which incidentally pumps more radioactive material into the atmosphere in a year than a nuclear reactor will process in its lifetime.
CO2 might be great for plants…to a point. Do remember they do breathe oxygen when it’s dark. I should also point out that even if you are a carbon denier who can’t wrap their mind around the fact that increased CO2 will absolutely ruin the planet…us poor pathetic humans can only tolerate so much of it in our atmosphere before we start showing direct ill effects.
More CO2 does not mean more photosynthesis. CO2 isn’t the limiting factor behind photosynthesis. Available nutrients are. Well, that, and sunlight.
So, nuke plants/ HELL YES. Get ‘em online. We can reprocess the waste, or build an enormous array of REGs to use the waste until it is no more. Were science allowed to make the policy on this, not fear mongers and the fossil fuel industry, we wouldn’t have energy concerns at all.
So, the first step is world-wide domination, so we can enforce our rules on who lives and who dies. Then, we just to decide on the criteria for our systematic depopulation procedures, whether based on age, race, geography, money, etc. The hardest part will be determining what method to use for the depopulation procedures.