1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

But What Are the Risks of CO2 Removal Technologies?

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Nous, Oct 29, 2018.

  1. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2015
    Messages:
    8,734
    Ratings:
    +2,213
    According to two different studies published in Nature in the past couple of years, none of the developed nations that signed the Paris Agreement is on course to accomplish its goals to reduce GHG emissions to predicted levels, but even if all parties to the Agreement were to achieve their targets, it still wouldn't result in limiting global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

    No major advanced industrialized country is on track to meet its pledges to control the greenhouse-gas emissions that cause climate change.​

    Prove Paris was more than paper promises

    The INDCs [Intended Nationally Determined Contributions] collectively lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to where current policies stand, but still imply a median warming of 2.6–3.1 degrees Celsius by 2100.​

    Paris Agreement climate proposals need a boost to keep warming well below 2 °C

    It's difficult and expensive to quickly convert the world's grand fossil-fuel-based infrastructure of power production. And one of the major obstacles, rarely mentioned in popular media, is the fact technology does not currently exist for adequate battery storage in order to supply continual power from wind and solar sources. Adding to this problem is the fact that hydropower is often considered a "green" and "renewable" source of power, despite that damns are often extraordinarily ruinous to the environment, and many times emit more GHGs in CO2e than the same amount of energy produced by fossil fuels. A further obstacle is the current irrational fear of safe, clean nuclear power, despite the fact that designs of travelling wave reactors are now available that render the plants meltdown-proof and the fuel proliferation-proof. See this highly popular thread:

    The Real Obstacle to Responsibly Meeting the World's Energy Needs Is Not Unbelief in AGW

    Against this backdrop glimmers various other related issues such as the fact that we could rapidly improve numerous environmental problems, besides climate, by changing our diet. In a recent article spotlighting two newly developed products, Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger, the UN Environment Programme cited a few facts illustrating the article's title, that "the world's most urgent problem" is meat, noting inter alia that GHG emissions resulting from animal agriculture is at least equal to that of all forms of transportation combined, that roughly "80 per cent of agricultural land is used to make livestock feed or for grazing," and that while all the buildings, roads, parking lots and other paved surfaces take up less than 1% of the earth's land surface, more than 45% of the planet's land surface is used for grazing or growing feed for livestock. In stark contrast:

    According to a research study conducted by the University of Michigan, a quarter-pound Beyond Burger requires 99 per cent less water, 93 per cent less land and generates 90 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions, using 46 per cent less energy to produce in the U.S. than its beef equivalent.​

    Tackling the world’s most urgent problem: meat

    The Impossible Burger, developed by Dr. Patrick Brown, founder of PLoS, requires "approximately 75 per cent less water and 95 per cent less land, generating about 87 per cent lower greenhouse gas emissions than beef burgers."

    The article, published before the recent IPCC Report, utilizes the product developers to express the fact that "there is no pathway to achieve the Paris climate objectives without a massive decrease in the scale of animal agriculture". It seems that, unless a lot of scientists are really wrong about the AGW hypothesis, limiting global warming to a non-catastrophic level will not happen without a massive decrease in animal agriculture.

    Yet in its recent report, the IPCC clearly remains focused on CO2 emissions, particularly those produced by fossil-fuel burning for energy production and transportation, and gives only secondary consideration to "non-CO2 forcers"--its category for other GHGs. This is despite such facts as that a molecule of methane packs a whopping 84 times the global warming potential of a CO2 molecule (using a 20-year time frame), and livestock alone contribute about 40℅ of anthropogenic methane emissions. Methane's short half-life means that global temperature could be rapidly affected by a reduction in its emissions.

    IPCC's models limiting warming to 1.5°C (which isn't going to happen) entail net zero CO2 emissions by 2030 with only various unspecified reductions of non-CO2 emissions.

    But perhaps the most confounding aspect of IPCC's analyses is the denigration of carbon removal techniques. Apparently none of its analyses includes consideration of carbon removal technologies or reforestation until there has been an "overshoot" of target warming, and even then, the Report repeatedly warns that there are "uncertainties and clear risks" of carbon removal techniques. Technical Summary, p. 7
    IPCC - SR15

    Yes, there are undoubtedly big uncertainties in these techniques, but none greater than the near-certainty that the world will fail to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel burning in the next few decades.

    But what are the risks of atmospheric CO2 removal or capture technologies? As best as I can decipher the IPCC's soporific Report, the risks are simply that these technologies may be ineffective. One could easily get the impression that IPCC is more interested in countries following a script about curtailing use of fossil fuels than doing what's doable and less painful in limiting global warming.

    Ponder the following device, for which the inventors

    . . . calculate that given an area less than 10 percent of the size of the Sahara Desert, the method could remove enough carbon dioxide to make global atmospheric levels return to preindustrial levels within 10 years, even if we keep emitting the greenhouse gas at a high rate during that period.​

    New Method Removes Carbon from the Air, Churns Out Valuable Carbon Products

    Switzerland has had a carbon removal contraption since last year:. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/switzerland-giant-new-machine-sucking-carbon-directly-air
    (which doesn't look at all like what I thought these devices would look like--I always imagined something that looks like a flying bagpipe).

    So, several questions:

    Why shouldn't the world be encouraged to develop and implement such carbon removal technologies?

    In your opinion, what is the reason the IPCC is so dismissive of CO2 removal technologies?

    And given two choices, where neither is more or less convenient or costly to do, but one is much more environmentally harmful than the other, should not one do the one that is less environmentally harmful?
     
    #1 Nous, Oct 29, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
    • Informative Informative x 2
  2. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2011
    Messages:
    19,654
    Ratings:
    +12,614
    Religion:
    Druidry
    I couldn't tell you why the scientists behind the IPCC are dismissive of carbon dioxide removal technologies. I can only tell you why I don't believe it's a solution.

    First and foremost is the fact that the stresses humans are exerting on this planet and the resulting environmental problems are not limited to energy use issues and climate change. The core of the problem was expressed well by a philosopher as the "I = P x A x T" equation. For those who don't know about that proposition, take a breeze through (I = PAT - Wikipedia). In simple terms, resolving emissions issues alone will not solve the problems associated with human impacts on the environment, especially if that solution is yet another technologically-intensive one.

    I'm still waiting for there to be more discourse about the elephants in the room. Wait, no... that's a lie. I'm not waiting for it because at this point I'm confident those discussions won't happen. The house of cards is already falling. :shrug:
     
  3. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Greased up & ready for action!
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    151,442
    Ratings:
    +42,950
    Religion:
    Bokononism
    Active carbon sequestration could be useful.
    But technical solutions distract from the bigger picture.
    Ultimately we must face the problems of a growing global population.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  4. exchemist

    exchemist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2018
    Messages:
    4,063
    Ratings:
    +2,926
    Religion:
    RC (culturally at least)
    It seems to me the IPCC is far from dismissive of carbon removal technologies. This short article, dated only a few days ago, suggests the IPCC believes their use will be required, but is anxious that many of them are still too speculative or unproven at scale to be ready soon enough to help. Why we can’t reverse climate change with negative emissions technologies - EnergyPost.eu

    It seems clear we need to be pushing on all fronts, rather than focusing only on either reducing production of CO2 or on removing it.

    I suspect one of the issues with the slow development of carbon capture may be the difficulty of creating an economic incentive to drive commercial and social behaviour. We have found ways to subsidise the early phases of green energy, to that they can now compete with fossil fuel in many sectors. Witness the success of hybrid and electric cars, made possible by strides in battery technology which are fully commercially driven, similarly PV cells and wind turbines. But carbon capture is essentially a new process with no economic benefit for those who invest in it. The company I used to work for is very keen to trial CCS on a commercial scale and spent a lot of money preparing a trial at a coal power station in the UK - but then the UK government pulled out.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. BSM1

    BSM1 Who's a good boy?

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2012
    Messages:
    16,880
    Ratings:
    +7,716
    Religion:
    Buddhistic Panenthetic Jesusonian
    A couple of things jump out about this post. First, the Paris Agreement was non-workable to begin with and non-binding to the most offensive countries so we were right in running away from the agreement as quickly as possible. Also, if you read the IPCC's dire predictions you'll see that they make the statement (buried way down in the rhetoric) that there is no provable evidence that any of their observations are valid. Secondly, the world in general hasn't the technology to meet the outlandish recommendations proposed by the UN agency. And, thirdly, this whole GW/CC brouhaha is based on a hoax to begin with. Go, live your lives and find something real to obsess about.
     
  6. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2011
    Messages:
    12,922
    Ratings:
    +4,919
    Religion:
    Atheist Libertarian

    Other technologies that require great scrutiny are Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) projects that threaten indigenous lands, food security, and water availability. Such large-scale technological schemes must be assessed diligently before setting up proper regulations, to ensure that climate-change solutions do not adversely affect sustainable development or human rights. Any intentional large-scale deployment of transboundary nature (and with potential transboundary risks and harms) needs to be assessed by an agreed UN multilateral mechanism, taking into account the rights and interests of all potentially impacted communities and future generations. Most CDR schemes currently proposed would very likely fail such a rigorous assessment.
    Governance for a ban on geoengineering


    Seems the concern is over how it would affect sustainable energy development and human rights.

    The IPCC has a vested interest in sustainable energy? Human Rights?

    Maybe I can understand the issue with sustainability but human rights? Not sure I understand the connection.

    Climate justice requires that climate action is consistent with existing human rights agreements, obligations, standards and principles. Those who have contributed the least to climate change unjustly and disproportionately suffer its harms. They must be meaningful participants in and primary beneficiaries of climate action, and they must have access to effective remedies.
    Governance for a ban on geoengineering


    So Co2 polluters are the bad guys? Justice or human rights demand the the bad guys are punished for polluting. So if we can fix the problem there's no justice?

    Energy companies are the bad guys making billions of the exploitation of natural resources. If we fix the problem they can continue making billions continuing/increasing the economic inequity in the world. Corporations will take over and dominate everything.

    Maybe I'm wrong but it seems to be the gist of the resistance.
     
  7. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    25,638
    Ratings:
    +8,095
    Religion:
    Liberal Christian
    The governments could step in. I have heard of many battery storage technologies that are nearly ready to deal with this problem: molten Aluminum (or aluminium), Fibers with graphite, fuel cells and a few others. There are scads of researchers focused on this including an uncountable number of materials science graduate students. It seems more like a land problem than a technology problem.

    I suspect that there is plenty of real estate held between the federal government, the state governments and public institutions such as state universities. State Universities in particular are fat with land. State governments are sitting on lots, too. If we could convert the unused and poorly used space to power storage it would equal a great deal of power storage.

    I think its unfortunate that every problem appears to be a Federal problem, but this one is. Its federal, because it has to do with trade agreements. The federal government can make this happen quickly. State governments can help by setting power limits.

    That is a great point.

    Its again a matter of cost, who will pay and where the power will be placed. Sometimes nuclear facilities just cost soo much money. This matters, because they don't last forever. Then once they close they still require upkeep. In the end they may not be financially competitive with a hydro dam or coke burner. Also, sometimes they require repairs, and so the question is can they be repaired safely. Suppose a fault develops in the pipe near a nuclear reactor core. Of course someone will be under pressure to suck up the rads and weld it, even if its against rules; because we are talking about a multi billion dollar facility. Its not Ok for there to be such a situation in a power plant. Rules do not equal safety. Rules equal the appearance of safety.

    You did not mention wind power.

    'The World' waits until it sees someone else doing it. To get the world to do something you first must have some success cases. Leaders do not want to support anything that could embarrass themselves. They will move when there is no need for caution and there is a clear advantage. Researchers all over the world are already working on this.

    Do not read the following:
    The only problem with global warming is that it will likely kill lots of fish in the sea and algae, thus causing the air to become unbreathable. This actually could be a good thing. Those of us who know how can use breathing equipment and scrubbers to survive indoors temporarily, perhaps for only about twenty years. Yes if the glaciers melt the ocean currents might stop, but if the glaciers melt we can paint the poles white with permanent titanium dioxide thus reflecting an equivalent amount of light back into space and getting the ocean currents moving as before. Then they will once again begin producing oxygen. Animals can be preserved in DNA form and recreated in laboratories. Once the air is back our greatly reduced human population will be willing to make use of newer energy technologies and will not be so hung up on fossil fuels. Earth 2.0.
     
    #7 Brickjectivity, Oct 29, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  8. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    Messages:
    23,657
    Ratings:
    +8,849
    Religion:
    Zen Buddhism
    And where is all the electricity coming from to power all those contraptions?
     
  9. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2015
    Messages:
    8,734
    Ratings:
    +2,213
    One thing that we can all do, and can do immediately and individually, in order to contribute in the least worst way toward harming the environment and climate is make sure that we eat a diet that contributes in the least worst way to (further) damaging the environment and climate. That is undoubtedly why the recent UNEP article cited in the OP highlighted and explained the enormously more favorable environmental impact of the 2 recently developed plant-based food products, the Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger.

    Limiting one's time in a jet also has a huge effect on one's GHG footprint.
     
  10. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Greased up & ready for action!
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    151,442
    Ratings:
    +42,950
    Religion:
    Bokononism
    I'm all for avoiding jet travel.
    My idea of eco-tourism is visiting exotic places by internet & TV.
    I really had fun at the Galapagos Islands.
    But my tour of Japanese ramen noodle shops was tops!
    I did both from my green leather chair at home.
    For actual eating of noodles, we have local shops which are pretty darn diverse & good.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2015
    Messages:
    8,734
    Ratings:
    +2,213
    If this is what the IPCC is referring to as the "clear risks" of CDR, I guess there are similar clear risks in manufacturing automobiles, as someone might build one that is too large to fit on the streets.
     
  12. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2015
    Messages:
    8,734
    Ratings:
    +2,213
    You've posted a great deal here that I won't be able to respond to right now. I just want to note that one of the major costs in nuclear power are the enormous costs and fees in order to store and provide insurance for accidents pertaining to spent fuel. The traveling wave reactor solves that problem entirely, not only by not producing such spent fuel but by using spent fuel. See the thread linked to in the OP for further.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  13. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2015
    Messages:
    8,734
    Ratings:
    +2,213
    The article in the OP touts a non-CO2 source of power for that device. AFAIK, all such machines can be powered thus.
     
  14. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2015
    Messages:
    8,734
    Ratings:
    +2,213
    I'm afraid to ask but I can't stop myself: what hoax are you referring to?
     
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 2
  15. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    25,638
    Ratings:
    +8,095
    Religion:
    Liberal Christian
    I just wanted to mention this article I ran across today. It claims supercapacitors with a specific energy ten times greater than what is commercially available are possible. Imagine a battery the size of a 12 volt car battery that holds ten times the capacity of a current Gravity battery: Amazon.com: Customer reviews: Gravity 1000 Amp Car Battery Capacitor Gr-1000Bc

    You could start a helicopter engine with it and store enough power over night to run several appliances. With a closet full of these iron and carbon based batteries you could be grid independent -- that is if they live up to the hype.
     
  16. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2015
    Messages:
    8,734
    Ratings:
    +2,213
    Thank you for that. I'll take your word on the details.

    I couldn't help but notice that that particular product didn't very good reviews from the 2 people who reviewed it.

    Frankly, I think there is about zero possibility of wind and solar power ever being able to meet the world's electricity requirements (at least until there is a nuclear war or other catastrophe that wipes out 99.99% of the human population). Do you think otherwise?
     
  17. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    25,638
    Ratings:
    +8,095
    Religion:
    Liberal Christian
    Yeah I notice that, too. At the moment its safer to make your own. You buy the individual canisters and wire up your own battery. The complaints about the gravity batteries have had to do with the wiring and electronics plus poor performance, but they do function. One of the reviewers modified theirs and got it working better. The main issue with them is they do not hold the same number of amp-hours as a lead battery of the same size.

    I didn't used to think so, but there have been developments in solar that were previously unthinkable. The first solar panels could only convert about 4% of the light and cost a lot, being made from selenium. For the last twenty years we have been stuck at a certain ridiculous low percentage (15% - 20% efficiency and very expensive, brittle silicon materials) requiring a twenty year investment to get a working solar home or business at a cost of 11cents per kilowatt hour. Even so many people have participated due to some subsidies from governments. Infrequently driving across country in the US you might see a field of solar panels, houses and industrial parks with solar panels. Most people have not been sure they would be in their homes long enough for such an investment to prove worthwhile, and of course there has been a power storage problem requiring rooms full of batteries if they wanted to be off grid.

    According to this BBC article there are now printable solar cells of around 25% efficiency, flexible, available printed on plastic rolls. They can curve around surfaces. Its a huge advantage over previous requirements, and the cost per kilowatt hour is down to 7 cents. That means they can sell with fewer subsidies or no subsidies, be used in more situations and can be installed with a shorter term investment. This discovery is not the result of a happy accident but is due to the hundreds of researchers working around the world trying all sorts of ways to make energy cheaper and more environmentally viable. These researchers will continue to pursue those goals, and its likely the cost of solar could become much less.

    Pair that with advances in energy storage, and you have a viable competitor though not one as inexpensive as coal.
     
  18. Altfish

    Altfish Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2014
    Messages:
    8,262
    Ratings:
    +6,424
    Religion:
    Humanist
    The biggest risk to any CO2 reduction strategy is that the Big Oil companies that fund the GOP sees their profits slump and stop funding.
     
  19. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2015
    Messages:
    8,734
    Ratings:
    +2,213
    I haven't seen where anyone who has crunched any numbers has concluded that it is theoretically possible to meet the world's energy requirements with solar and wind power. To my mind, one doesn't even need to crunch numbers to conclude that it is an implausible proposition that solar and/or wind power could supply even today's energy needs for the eastern seaboard of the US, much less the significantly greater energy needs projected for the next few decades.

    I own some property that includes a number of mountain- or hilltops that seem to me to be perpetually windy, and early in this century I got the idea that it would be profitable to put a bunch of wind turbines there, since the land wasn't (and isn't) being used for anything else, and sell the electricity to the nearest power plant, which was not terribly far away. So I got a couple of people to crunch the numbers on that. Oh my God, it wasn't even close to being profitable--even by assuming 100% efficiency of the turbines. But, of course, windmills do not operate with anything in the neighborhood of 100% efficiency. Windmills are big, clunky constantly moving parts, continually exposed to the elements, and require a great deal of maintenance.

    Anyway, as the NOVA program points out, we have available now an affordable, safe, non-GHG-emitting method of generating electricity. It seems the only problem is for people to get over their irrational fears about nuclear power.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    25,638
    Ratings:
    +8,095
    Religion:
    Liberal Christian
    Theoretically there is plenty of sunlight. That's not the problem. Its the technology, and I think you're right that currently it doesn't pay. Currently it requires a long term investment and some real estate, and individuals only live for so long. The problem is storage.
     
Loading...