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Archive for Tuesday, July 24, 2007

No clean coal

July 24, 2007

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To the editor:

In the congressional energy bill, coal is promoted as an "alternative" fuel, but it doubles carbon dioxide emissions when compared with other fossil fuels. Not only are massive amounts of carbon dioxide emitted while using coal-based fuel, the process of making liquid fuel from coal creates almost a ton of carbon dioxide for each barrel of fuel produced.

The coal lobby is asking for billions of taxpayer dollars to pay for coal gasification. Thirty years ago we squandered billions of taxpayer dollars on energy companies to pursue "coal gasification." Believing in the commercially propagated myth of "clean coal" can be our undoing.

The world's foremost petroleum geologists agree that once worldwide oil reserve levels reach a "peak of availability," as early as 2010, oil and gas prices will skyrocket. Our country is extremely dependent upon cheap and dirty fossil fuels in virtually all sectors of our economy, including corporate agriculture. The serious consequences for all of us include major threats to food security, to timely development of renewables, plus much more.

Local governments all across the country are beginning to develop major resource conservation programs of all kinds, while reducing their expenditures in the process. This is a vital component of the future of humankind, along with relocalized food production and population reduction.

We need major energy conservation measures as the centerpiece in this legislation - without the use of greenhouse coal.

Rich Wenzel,

Lawrence

Comments

Ragingbear 7 years, 3 months ago

We need to figure out how to make machines run on idiots. A never-ending supply to be sure.

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KS 7 years, 3 months ago

Rich - nice letter. You told us everything that is wrong with coal. Except for some type of conservation program (using coal), you are typical of those on that side. You failed to show us a good alternative. Until then, I guess we should just stop the world?

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imastinker 7 years, 3 months ago

I do get a kick out of coal being treated as an alternative fuel. I especially like it when someone tals about an electric car being zero emissions. Oh, well. I guess it can't bother you if you can't see it.

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kansas778 7 years, 3 months ago

Coal is much much cleaner than it used to be fifty years ago. And I'm sorry, but carbon dioxide is NOT pollution. You are breathing it out right this second. The most important thing here, then, is that coal is extremely cheap and widely available. By using coal we can cut down on real pollution and save money at the same time. Electric cars don't have zero emissions, but they have significantly reduced total emissions, which are all caught and cleaned at the plant, and cost less to run.

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SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 3 months ago

"...along with relocalized food production and population reduction."

Sheesh! This guy is scary. This sounds like a line from a Marxist newsletter if there ever was one.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

"And I'm sorry, but carbon dioxide is NOT pollution."

As long as you ignore the inconvenient realities caused by increased CO2 concentrations, you are right. But your point is ideological, not scientific.

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Mkh 7 years, 3 months ago

Excellent LTE Rich!

The main point and the thing that needs to be discussed in public forums is this:

"The world's foremost petroleum geologists agree that once worldwide oil reserve levels reach a "peak of availability," as early as 2010, oil and gas prices will skyrocket. Our country is extremely dependent upon cheap and dirty fossil fuels in virtually all sectors of our economy, including corporate agriculture. The serious consequences for all of us include major threats to food security, to timely development of renewables, plus much more."

Peak Oil is likely a much more serious matter than Global Warming or even Terrorism. The Media and Politicians will not adress Peak Oil to the public, so it's up to the public to inform each other.

p>www.peakoil.com www.hubbertpeak.com/summary.htm www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/ www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubbert_pea... www.theoildrum.com/ www.blogspot.com/ www.oildecline.com www.survivingpeakoil.com
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average 7 years, 3 months ago

blue73 -

Funny. I'd prefer the nuclear plant over the coal. You get far more Curies of radiation from the coal plants emissions, let alone befouled air.

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imastinker 7 years, 3 months ago

Hybrid vehicles use power from the engine to charge the battery to run in zero emission mode. While operating in battery only mode, it's zero emission, but it makes extra emissions to charge the battery when the engine is running. So technically your statement is correct, but it's not quite the truth. There is an amount recaptured from braking, but this is likely not that much energy compared to what is required to run the car.

Now, I never said anything about hybrid vehicles. I said ELECTRIC vehicles, like the kind you plug in. I am tired of people talking about electric vehicles and saying they are emission free. They ARE NOT!

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topekan7 7 years, 3 months ago

And any hybrid or electric vehicle has a battery that will have to be "emitted" into the environment at the end of its lifecycle. Disposal of these batteries can be an environmental hazard as well.

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Jamesaust 7 years, 3 months ago

"We need major energy conservation measures as the centerpiece in this legislation - without the use of greenhouse coal."

"We" - or more accurately YOU - need to stop living in fantasy-land. Nothing short of a 'Pol Pot-like' return to 'the simple life' is going to undermine our need for coal (at least in our lifetimes).

"The world's foremost petroleum geologists agree that once worldwide oil reserve levels reach a "peak of availability," as early as 2010...."

Uh....there are no "foremost petroleum geologists" predicting a 2010 "peak of availability." Period. There are modern day pseudo-scientists the equivalent of 20th century phrenologists. Criticism from geologists, economists, and petroleum engineers has been deafening.

The reference to 2010 and a "peak" is a reference to a measurement of existing and exploited oil reserves; it makes simple but obviously incorrect assumptions and ignores vast tracts of unexplored territory as well as known oil reserves that are are not economic to exploit (because the current price is both too low and not guaranteed to payback development costs). In fact, "peak" oil probably exists around 2500 (no that's not a typo).

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Ragingbear 7 years, 3 months ago

While I am not for killing people, I do think that half the world should be sterilized. Population control must happen because humans breed like rabbits. Our world is grossly overpopulated, yet most humans won't stop having litters of kids. China has realized the importance of population control, although their methods are rather extreme.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not everyone's job to have a bajillion kids.

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nell 7 years, 3 months ago

"In fact, "peak" oil probably exists around 2500 (no that's not a typo)."

James, it sounds like you are saying that 2010 is based on knowledge we have and 2500 is based on ifs such as if we find a way to get to known not-currently-feasible sources and if vast unknown reserves exist. Can you cite some sources?

Ragingbear, I agree that human supersaturation of the planet can't be ignored. At the current rates it looks like overpopulation will get us long before jamesausts optimistic peak oil date. http://www.peopleandplanet.net http://www.overpopulation.org/

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kansas778 7 years, 3 months ago

Just another bozo, it's not ideological, CO2 is simply not pollution. Pollution is something that contaminates the environment, CO2 is a naturally occuring gas, and humans only produce a small percentage of it. Even if humans ceased to exist, that would only put a small dent in the amount of CO2 made.

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kansas778 7 years, 3 months ago

RagingBear, why is it when some crazy right-wing nobody says something it manages to get on the news, but we can't get loony people like you on the air to show everyone what you people really think.

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Ragingbear 7 years, 3 months ago

I don't see why I am considered "Crazy" for my beliefs that if we do not start working on population control now, then we will leave nothing but a stripped and over crowded planet for future generations.

People demand certain luxuries, humans tend to consume more resources than needed, and many will produce large families, ensuring significant growth of the human population every generation.

I am not saying to go around sterilizing everyone. Nor am I advocating any sort of eugenic filtration. What I am saying is that gigantic families need to end. Having only one or two children (as law states in China) will help greatly.

I also would like to indicate that there is one exception to the eugenic rule. When somebody, or a couple have a key genetic flaw almost guaranteeing that their child will be born into this world with an incurable disorder that will make their lifespan incredibly short or almost entirely non-functional. I am not even advocating this for people that have several children that are born addicted to crack or other extreme drugs, although personally I do not think that is a bad idea.

Call me crazy if you will, but it is foolhardy to think that our planet can indefinitely support such a growing population indefinitely.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

Ozone is a naturally occurring form of oxygen-- but it is classified as a pollutant.

Also, the seemingly small amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is irrelevant. It only takes a small percentage increase to have serious consequences.

3.2 beer is considered "weak" beer, for good reason.

The difference between that and, say 5%, beer, may not seem like a lot. But drinking three of them will get you legally drunk, whereas drinking three 3.2 beers will not.

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Flap Doodle 7 years, 3 months ago

Can we be like the French & build lots of nuclear power plants?

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jlw53 7 years, 3 months ago

"The sky is falling" said Henny Penny to Turkey Lurkey.

Blah, Blah, Blah Rich. You never did get it and the comment about linking you with Marxism was right on the money. Some of us have read your diatribes in other local outlets. And those who have worked with you really know your intellect.

Go ahead and live in your own little Utopia fantasyland.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

jlw53-- If this is a display of your intellect, then clearly, your reaction to Rich's is pure envy, and perhaps even intimidation.

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Mkh 7 years, 3 months ago

"In fact, "peak" oil probably exists around 2500 (no that's not a typo)."

James you are extremely incorrect concerning your prediction for Peak Oil. Obviously you are confused as to what Peak Oil means. This has nothing to do with when oil will run out, this is about crossing the halfway mark of production combined with a demand that surpasses readily available supply. Study the information provided with the links I referenced earlier for a more detailed explanation. You are correct though that there are other "alternatives" that will come on line due to surging prices (which are themselves the result of Peak Oil). But these "alternatives" such as shale oil fields are not to be depended on to sustain us through Peak Oil. Mainly this is because of the large amount of energy it takes to extract and refine these "alternative" sources of Oil. Yes it is possible that with high prices and advances in technology that we could be using a significant amount of shale oil in the future. But the Catch 22 is that Peak Oil must already be taking effect for it to even start on a large scale. The other catch is the insane amount of environmental damage that will occur as a result.

I'm not claiming that they won't evoke these options, they will. However they are mistakes (much like ethonal) which will not lead us out of the crisis of Peak Oil.

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jlw53 7 years, 3 months ago

Sorry, Bozo. You apparently don't know him.

And a little humor never hurt anyone except those that didn't get it.

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Mkh 7 years, 3 months ago

James: "Uh:.there are no "foremost petroleum geologists" predicting a 2010 "peak of availability." Period. There are modern day pseudo-scientists the equivalent of 20th century phrenologists. Criticism from geologists, economists, and petroleum engineers has been deafening."


Again James, I'm not sure where you are recieving your information, but I think you are very wrong concerning this issue. While there is not a set date or year for Peak Oil, there are many various opinions indeed, it is certainly true that the majority of credible geologists and energy analysts believe it is coming very soon. Some even argue that it already happened (in late 2005).

The prospective oil reserves of the world are mapped out in great detail. There are no more "elephant fields" or gaint unkown reserves like those found in the early '80's. In short, we've looked every place on Earth. Scientists have been researching this for over 75 years. Yes, it is possible that new technology could bring oil that is buried deep beneath the ocean floor and arctic surface. However, this oil is not nearly the same quality, is far harder to extract, far harder to refine, there are no available pipelines to transport it, and it will take over a decade at least to come on-line. Most experts agree that Peak Oil will occur sometime within the present day and the about 10 years, a small amount push it beyond 2020.

Over 60% of the remaining sweet crude oil is located in the Middle East, which is why this administration feels it imperative to control the region.

I've interviewed geologists and enviromentalists on this issue, it's not an argument of whether or not Peak Oil is coming soon... it's a matter of how soon.

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Mkh 7 years, 3 months ago

The World's largest oil fields are in decline. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/1/26/9229/79300

Massive North Sea Oil Field in Decline http://www.iags.org/n0524043.htm

Over 60% of remaining reserves in Middle East. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/04/world_the_world0s_oil/html/1.stm

"World's second largest oil field ever discovered, Kuwait's Burgan oil field, peaked last year."

"World's second largest oil field in terms of daily output - the Cantarell field of Mexico has peaked according to the Mexican National oil company Pemex. The field could experience steep declines in production up to 8-10% every year. According to this report, 2006 production is already 13% below the 2005 level."

"China has been transformed from being a net exporter of oil to an importer 10 years ago. China's major oil field, Daqing has probably peaked. The recent economic growth in that nation has added pressure to the demand side"

"World oil discovery peaked in mid 1960s. Since the oil production in the lower 48 of US peaked about 40 years after the peaking of discovery, there are reasons to believe the same thing could happen to World oil production" http://www.theviewfromthepeak.net/

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Mkh 7 years, 3 months ago

Although it is most likely that coal will become far and away the most used resource after Peak Oil and Natural gas, in reality we could take ourselves off of coal and still function, though on a smaller scale.

The possibility exists to power the homes of America on Wind, Solar, and Geothermal.

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Mkh 7 years, 3 months ago

One interestingly positive result from Peak Oil and Natural Gas is that this will effectively slow down the problem of Global Warming. The trouble with most scientists who study Global Warming is that they make their predictions on the incorrect assumption that the world will be using the same amount of fossil fuels (and more) in 40 years as we are now. However, those who have studied Peak Oil and Natural Gas argue that is not the case simply because Oil and Natural Gas will soon be too expensive to be massively consumed, therefore as it's used less, the environmental impacts will lesson as well.

Some people embrace Peak Oil because it will Force consumers everywhere to drastically change their lifestyle. It won't be a choice about whether or not you wanna be "green", politics will be taken out of the equation and living sustainably will just be become a requirement for survival.

In this unprecendented transition there will be a unique opprotunity to turn the tide against Global Warming. Coal will still be our primary fossil fuel, however if we replace our Oil and Gas with Wind, Solar, and Geothermal, as well as reducing coal usage...we can reverse the Earth's warming.

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Mkh 7 years, 3 months ago

Apparently this thread is not as thought provoking as "how do you eat Spam". God Bless America.

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Jamesaust 7 years, 3 months ago

Well, seeing that I am "obviously ... confused" I'll limit my reply to the book-length silliness displayed here. (There hasn't been anything more stupid said since Arminius quipped that it was amazing how many constitutional scholars there were in Lawrence - it never having occurred to him that he might indeed be addressing constitutional scholars, which aren't nearly as rare as he seemed to believe.)

The concept of "peak oil" is hardly unusual or even difficult to understand. The contention that we are presently at or near the summit is anything but (a) commonly accepted, (b) demonstrable, or (c) anything but a weird, minority view. (To be fair, that doesn't make the contention incorrect, just 99.9% unlikely.) While useful, the concept is also quite limited by its simplistic design as would any theory that depends on elementary relationships among people who stay carefully within their prescribed lines of behavior, never changing their approach or adapting to alterations in the model.

That said, I find little to anything claimed to be truthful, whether that be blatant falsehoods such as 'nowhere left to explore' or 'remaining supplies are too energy intensive to be worth the effort.' This is often a difficult ploy to explain to people when the information is presented at the level of pseudo-science. The scheme's set-up though is easily viewed. Step 1: find a subject that everyone talks about but that is more complicated than an average person cares to understand; Step 2: view that subject from an emotional, agenda-driven perspective; Step 3: appropriate a theory from an unusual, minority group (often funded directly by those with the same aforesaid agenda); Step 4: explain to the simpletons the questionable or pseudo- science of the theory (bonus point for linking to an Internet site!); Step 5: leave the average person hesitant to retain their traditional but basic understanding of the situation; Step 6: hope that no one knowledgeable enough of the situation comes along to dispute the quirky, agenda-driven theory.

(One might add a Step 7: continue to support an educational system that deprives graduates of a basic understanding of the sciences, whether physics, chemistry, biology, or mathematics, or economics. Instead, focus on teaching students "to think" - without any reflection as to what the uneducated would be "thinking" about.)

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