Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Weather, Water, Energy 7-31-07

The melting ice on the planet is seen by many as an opportunity to get rich on newly available minerals, and nations (like Russia) are starting to line up to dig in. There’s a treaty that would give structure to that race and possibly prevent some nasty misunderstandings. Guess which country hasn’t signed it, although its Coast Guard is begging it to? Okay, too easy. Guess which right-wing nutcase senator is going to block approval. No, not Coburn. He’s just the junior nutcase from OK. Yes, that’s right, our friend, Inhofe who is apparently claiming we already own all the minerals ourselves or something. If I find it hard to side with the optimists about the future, it’s because I understand the Inhofes and they don’t have a clue. . . . The promise and problems of carbon sequestration in just two paragraphs of this good article on the topic:

The amount of potential storage is vast. Three of the five US geologic storage possibilities under review – salt basins a mile or more deep, mature oil and natural-gas reservoirs, and deep unminable coal seams – could permanently hold at least two centuries' worth of US CO2 emissions – about 6 billion metric tons a year, researchers estimate.

But many steps lie ahead. These geologic formations must be tested for environmental safety and their ability to retain CO2. New power-generation technologies that can economically capture CO2 emissions must be developed. Finally, pipelines and infrastructure must be built to collect CO2 from emitters to move it to geologic storage. (Want more details? See also this article on sequestration in Britain.)

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