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A Modest Proposal For Sequestration of CO2 In the Antarctic

timothy posted about a year ago | from the no-salt-domes-in-sight dept.

Earth 243

First time accepted submitter Alienwise writes "Judith Curry reports a scientific concept of an atmospheric CO2 sequestration plant. It would be based in the Antartic to profit from the cold weather, which would facilitate the creation of CO2 snow — which would then be buried. The plant could be powered by windmills." The lead author has agreed to let Curry link to a copy of the final manuscript, if you'd like to read more.

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243 comments

Also known as (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41125833)

the sweep-it-under-the-carpet method of trash removal
works great for the inlaws, the planet? not so much

Re:Also known as (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#41125929)

the sweep-it-under-the-carpet method of trash removal
works great for the inlaws, the planet? not so much

Well, given that most of the newly minted CO2 that we are concerned about is produced by digging up carbon that was swept under the carpet and setting it on fire(with a side of deforestation), I'd say that under-the-carpet storage is a time-proven part of the carbon cycle.

Now, techniques for sweeping it under the carpet without titanic amounts of energy and in less than geologic time... that's still in progress.

Re:Also known as coons (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41126385)

I will tell you what I like. I like it a lot.

I think it is great when I have lots of hot farts. You know. The farts that feel warm and hot when they come out your asshole. The farts that stink so bad but to you they smell so good. The farts that can clear a room. The farts that can end a marriage, to use Carlin's words. But no test fart. Oh no, this is the full monty and lots of it!

I work with the general public. I love to let silent farts like this! It makes people leave me alone. When it comes to old people, smellin' to high hell is the ONLY way to get them to leave you alone! Their vision might be dim and their hearing impaired, but by God they can smell. They can smell my farts and leave me the fuck alone, like God intended.

I just wish I could figure out what to eat to have those more often.

Re:Also known as (0, Troll)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126581)

Be careful. If you overdo it, you'll kill billions by inducing an ice age. There's evidence these can come on in as few as a couple of years.

Global warming is moving in from the seas over 100-300 years. Nobody dies.

Re:Also known as (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41126607)

Nobody dies.

EVERYBODY dies. It's just a question of when. This entire realm is transient and temporary, just like our existence in it. We are but a passing breeze in the face of eternity.

The real question is how you have lived.

Re:Also known as (2)

1u3hr (530656) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126837)

Global warming is moving in from the seas over 100-300 years. Nobody dies.

More hurricanes, droughts, floods.

Re:Also known as (4, Insightful)

sabri (584428) | about a year and a half ago | (#41125967)

Not quite. The CO2 maybe sweeped under the carpet, but if you would actually read the paper, page 21 shows that there may be a significant amount of excess heat produced by the process, which needs to be release to the environment. The CO2 is not the problem. The heat is?

So, in order to combat global warming, we install 400+ heaters on Antarctica? I'm sure the science behind it will work, but my initial response is: uuh... what?

Re:Also known as (2, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126105)

uuh... what?

It's Judith Curry [scientificamerican.com]

dumbass americans (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41126217)

dont you know the antarctic is the nazi secret home base

Re:Also known as (3, Interesting)

sabri (584428) | about a year and a half ago | (#41127047)

It's Judith Curry

Now I'm confused. Are you suspecting me of being a skeptic?

Either way, I simply just don't understand the logic. Antarctica is being threatened by melting ice, and now a scientist (who I'm sure is very intelligent) comes up with an idea to install huge heaters in that area. I'm sure they will remove co2, but won't the side-effects be worse than the medicine?

(honestly, not trying to troll here).

Re:Also known as (5, Informative)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126137)

The amount of heat produced directly by all human activity combined is tiny compared to the heat applied by the sunlight the earth receives. The contribution of all human direct heat production is so small that no large-scale analysis of global heat retention even bothers to include it. Global warming is effectively entirely the result of increasing CO2, which increases the amount of incoming solar heat the Earth retains. Removing significant amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere would relieve global warming regardless of how much direct heat the process generated.

Re:Also known as (4, Funny)

fm6 (162816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126399)

...heat produced directly by all human activity combined is tiny..

Even in election years?

Re:Also known as (1)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126547)

...heat produced directly by all human activity combined is tiny..

Even in election years?

Every time a politician blows hot "air", he only releases heat once. But, it's the CO2/legislation that has the long-term, magnifying effect.

PS - I know you're joking, of course. I just think what you say could be made into a good analogy a lot of right-wing anti-government types could be made to understand. But, then, I don't really get the impression a lot of those people actually stop to think about the situation, anyways, since I'm pretty sure they're just reciting dogma. That's not to say the left (or center or whatever direction you choose) doesn't have its own dogma. But, then, most if it seems a lot less ignorant and a lot less harmful. But, then, as we know, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Re:Also known as (1)

issicus (2031176) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126471)

i think some people get confused because it's called the green house effect , "don't vegetables come from greenhouses?"

Re:Also known as (1, Interesting)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126509)

That's odd. I seem to remember rather heated...oh discussions not all that long ago about this. And people keep saying that the sun has a negligible impact on the earths temperature? Especially in relation to Co2 levels. Especially with past relations to sunspot activity. And yet, this study came out the other day.

http://www.agu.org/news/press/pr_archives/2012/2012-39.shtml [agu.org]

Re:Also known as (1)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126613)

You remember in correctly, your statement is direct and factually false, sunspot cycles and minima are well known to cause large variations in temperature.

Last I checked the moderation system here, there was not choice for "bald faced lie." It is posts like yours that argue persuasively for the need for such a classification.

Re:Also known as (2)

riverat1 (1048260) | about a year and a half ago | (#41127033)

We are saying that the observed variations in the Sun's output in the last 50+ years have had a negligible impact on the Earth's temperature. But we still know that the Sun is essentially the only* source of energy driving the Earth's temperatures and any significant change in the Sun's output would be reflected on Earth.

* The other sources of energy are so small relative to the Sun that they can be ignored in first order calculations.

Re:Also known as (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41126901)

On a global scale, maybe, but many cities have become what is known as "heat islands."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_heat_island

Re:Also known as (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126113)

Um, you do realize that no human activity *creates* carbon, right? It just moves it around; in the case of global warming, we're moving it from in the ground (where it's not a problem) to in the atmosphere (where it is a problem). This moves the carbon back into the ground. How does that not work?

Re:Also known as (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41126251)

Maybe not yet. Once we start performing nuclear fusion on a large scale, we actually will have human activity that creates carbon.

dom

Re:Also known as (1)

mbone (558574) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126415)

What fusion reaction where you planning on using ? I don't think you are going to get much out of triple alpha.

Re:Also known as (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126255)

the sweep-it-under-the-carpet method of trash removal works great for the inlaws, the planet? not so much

Where did you think all the carbon from man made CO2 came from? We're just putting it back in the Earth.

Re:Also known as (1)

mbone (558574) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126435)

It got rid of the carbon from the carboniferous era for a hundred million years or so.

Let me guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41125845)

It will only cost $10 trillion a year to operate.

This is a joke right? (-1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#41125849)

It takes energy to make CO2. That energy will probably come from burning fossil fuels because somehow I doubt that a solar plant will do quite well at the south pole, and as far as I know there are not many hydro or nuclear plants there. So yeah, let's burn fossil fuel and make CO2, so that we can remove CO2 and turn it into "snow". Derp. Not to mention what happens on the one freakishly warm summer when all that CO2 "snow" sublimes and ends up back in the atmosphere...

Re:This is a joke right? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41125875)

Your reading ability will one day be the stuff of legends.

Re:This is a joke right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41125995)

You should read his other digital regurgitations he heaves upon us.

Re:This is a joke right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41125889)

it really wouldn't hurt you to read the first paragraph, would it? Geez way to start the thread "Dunbal".

Are you serious? (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | about a year and a half ago | (#41125915)

I know it's already been said, but the summary itself mentions the proposed power source (not to mention the article!). Is it really too much to ask that you read the few sentences you are replying to before you hit reply? Really?! How fucking lazy can you be? At least it seems like you read the whole entire headline so there's that.

Re:Are you serious? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#41125973)

It is because he has heard this counter argument before..

The problem, of course, is that he believes in his hate for whatever so he didnt bother to learn anything about things that confirm that hate. Such as in this case, where he is blindly trying to use a confirmation from another scenario in this obviously wrong way. The lack of knowledge he has is overshadowed by his lack of understanding. His beliefs are empty of any critical thought on his part.

Re:This is a joke right? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41126061)

You've heard the explanation from a few other people, so I'm here to tell you the really important thing that most people won't tell you:

Please kill yourself.

Re:This is a joke right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41126637)

+1 Insightful for you.

Re:This is a joke right? (4, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126063)

Firstly, read the article as others have suggested. Secondly, even if you didn't read the article, did you really, really think that the real scientists (I make the distinction in case you think you're one) who came up with this idea hadn't thought of those things? Or were you hoping they'd drop by Slashdot, see the holes you've ingeniously managed to poke in their scheme in 30 seconds when they've spent months coming up with it, bow before your mighty intellect and pop a Nobel prize in the post?

Scoffing at something you don't understand is not an intelligent response. Asking questions (or in this case, simply reading TFA) is.

Re:This is a joke right? (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126093)

Oh yeah, and...

It takes energy to make CO2.

Err, actually no, the reason we're in this mess is because CO2 is a by-product of our favourite way of liberating energy.

That energy will probably come from burning fossil fuels

If the process was (possibly magically) efficient enough, you could run it on fossil fuels as long as you put away more than you create. You may also be fascinated to know that the back of your fridge is hot.

Am I the only one ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41125941)

to think that this is a really terrible idea.
It sounds like a great way to enable massive CO2 release just by any heating accident or lack of maintenance... I don't know but ... that sounds kind of very unsafe.
On top of that it looks astronomically expensive.

Re:Am I the only one ... (1)

Cyberax (705495) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126133)

Solid CO2 has a very high specific sublimation heat capacity. It'll take a looooong time for a significant amount of CO2 to sublimate given even minimal thermal insulation.

Re:Am I the only one ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41126495)

Good Lord! Doesn't anybody else see this as a pure-and-simple tax-scam?

This is just something marketed as "green technology" sold to institutions with taxing authority. I see no thermodynamic sense in it whatsoever. Earth is much warmer than Mars. This works in a Martian environment - it won't work here.

These folks are just taking advantage of the fact that Congressmen can allocate huge sums of money. They are quite informed as to how to finance operations, and allocate taxation to pay for it. They are also quite ignorant in thermodynamics.

This whole thing is bad science - a pig in a poke sold to the general public via handshakes with a politician. They say presentation is everything... watch our politicians and make sure they do not buy this artfully-presented crock of bullshit.

Our resources would be much better invested in public infrastructure.

I am not saying kill off the jobs - rather if we are going to finance public jobs - at least do something useful.

Wait a minute... (5, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#41125943)

This doesn't involve eating babies, does it?

Re:Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41126179)

It must. If it didn't, it would be called something else.

Re:Wait a minute... (1)

evanbd (210358) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126617)

Actually, it just involves putting them in landfills where they don't decompose. Eating them means digesting them, which returns their carbon content to the atmosphere. This proposal replaces eating them with sequestering them.

Re:Wait a minute... (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126907)

You almost suggested what I always wonder, which is if we couldn't just bury our high-carbon waste (such as agricultural and food waste, such as cowpies) or for that matter just bury trees, maybe in coal mines. Perhaps not trees but whatever grows fastest.

Brilliant idea. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41125953)

Right up there with making roadways through the mountains with atomic bombs, or putting solar panels in orbit.

Just dump increasingly large blocks of ice... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41125969)

... in the water. I got this from Futurama. Now mod me 5, Funny, you Futurama-addicted Slashdotters.

Seems feasible (5, Interesting)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year and a half ago | (#41125977)

This actually seems like a feasible plan.

It plans not just for the extraction of atmospheric CO2, but the long-term storage of it. The power source is wind, so it doesn't fall into the trap of generating more CO2 than it generates.The choice of location makes sense for both the temperature and for the political neutrality. They don't list an actual cost, but it would likely be only in the tens of billions, hundreds of billions in the worst case. Which is a lot of money, yes, but not the trillions or quadrillions some plans have required. And it calls for a demonstration plant first, which would be just a few dozen million.

The only thing I see stopping it is politics. In particular, America and China. Europe seems to at least recognize the need for action, and they're willing to work together to try things. China is generally too selfish and shortsighted to worry about the environment, but you could probably convince them if you could make it somewhat-profitable for them (just have the wind turbines and such made in China, that should satisfy them).

But then it falls on to America. And you're going to need America at least not fighting this plan, because if the US decides to actively fight it, it's not happening. Period. You'd also need them to at least chip in a good chunk of the funding if you're going to do the full plan, make a serious dent in CO2. Problem is, denying the very existence global warming is a political *requirement* for half the country. They'll fight it just on principle, and I can't see the rest of the country fighting back for a project that doesn't have any immediate gains for the US specifically. While some sort of "compromise" could probably pull it off, or with luck it could be swept under the rug and never become a political issue, that's not guaranteed.

Still, it's the best plan I've seen so far.

Re:Seems feasible (0)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126045)

There is no reason Europe couldn't just do this themselves. I don't see why the US or China need to be involved at all.

Re:Seems feasible (1)

bug1 (96678) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126367)

There is no reason Europe couldn't just do this themselves. I don't see why the US or China need to be involved at all.

You suggest the EU should try and solve a global problem by themselves, rather than the global comunity solving a global problem.

You seriously cant see the issue with that, or are you fail troll ?

Re:Seems feasible (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126513)

Yes I can't see an issue with that. Sometimes its easier to do something yourself than ask others to participate. CO2 is one of those issues. Europe should just take control and do it.

Re:Seems feasible (2)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126241)

The worst this could be called is a pork barrel project by those that are skeptical of the AGW claims. I would be one of those that is skeptical, given the amount of money to be made on both sides, and the politics involved with that. That being said, if CO2 is causing AGW, this sounds like a sensible plan. If it isn't causing AGW, then certainly sequestering as much as has been released in the last 200 years isn't going to do any harm. If it turns out that CO2 is causing AGW and we sequester too much and overshoot into too cold of temperatures, then the effects could be reversed by simply melting the solid CO2.

Re:Seems feasible (2, Insightful)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126345)

Carbons Credits. Biggest legal scam going. And you just reminded me that I need to get my carbon bank up asap.

Re:Seems feasible (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126329)

Still, it's the best plan I've seen so far.

THIS WILL WORK!!!

Whenever man dips his whick in the FUD things always work out for the best! My hope for the future level is at PEAK!

Re:Seems feasible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41126365)

Still, it's the best plan I've seen so far.

I have a far better plan, easier, cheaper, more effective: growing plankton gardens in all the oceans on a massive scale.

Re:Seems feasible (1)

dasunt (249686) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126423)

This actually seems like a feasible plan.

If it is feasible (and he has a rather odd title for a feasible plan), I wonder how it compares to fertilizing parts of the ocean with iron to encourage carbon sequestration through plankton growth. (Short explanation - in parts of the ocean, plankton growth is limited due to low iron levels, this plan adds iron to the ocean, the plankton take up CO2, die, then some of that CO2 ends up in the ocean abyss, where it tends not to escape (hopefully).)

Re:Seems feasible (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126505)

The problem with that plan is that it's not completely under our control. It could bloom out of control, causing even worse climate change in the opposite direction, and we'd have no way to stop it. And it would cause damage to the regular oceanic ecosystem even if it did work perfectly - plankton blooms already cause mass killings of fish.

And I've also heard that it may not actually sequester the CO2 all that well (much of it returning to the atmosphere), but I can't be assed to check up on that.

Re:Seems feasible (2)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126521)

It isn't a feasible plan. It isn't meant to be, hence the "Modest Proposal" title. For those who don't get the reference, read here http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html [art-bin.com] .

Let me ask you a question. If your options were 1) Use a power source that doesn't require emission of CO2 to clean up CO2 or 2) Replace CO2 emitting power plants with power sources that don't require emission of CO2, which do you think would be more efficient? If you said #1, you missed a law of physics or two.

The point of the article was to point out the absurdity of the "clean up CO2" vs "don't emit CO2" idea in the first place.

Re:Seems feasible (1)

FishTankX (1539069) | about a year and a half ago | (#41127103)

China could probably be convinced to do this on their own. A carbon credit right now is about $10 if I remember correctly. It's equal to 1 ton of carbon dioxide. If this plant cluster sequesters 1 billion tons per year, then that's China banking 10 billion per year. That would surely be a very short payback time for China, and if the program were expanded significantly enough, then China could eventually keep reinvesting the money from carbon credits into the wind farms, to eventually balance out the entire carbon output of humanity.

Re:Seems feasible (1, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | about a year and a half ago | (#41127117)

So I am assuming that this proposal is meant to be tongue in cheek. While completely workable, it kind of throws the baby out with bath water, so to speak

To break it down, the climate change has to do with the production of energy, either to run our machinery or run our bodies. It is basically a result of a system that has not scaled well to out current level of consumption. For an end user solution we might help fix this problem by using less energy. This can be done by eating lower on the food chain, using more efficient appliance, such as LED for light, or releasing fewer pollutants form power generation facilites. This paper does not of these, so is not really a solution.

For a productions solution, we can change the kind of inputs we use to deliver energy to the end user. Cattle can be a source of pollutants, so maybe fish and vegetables instead. Coal can be very polluting, so maybe natural gas or nuclear or solar or wind. This paper suggests using a less polluting input, but this energy is not delivered to the end user, so is not a solution either.

So the tongue in cheek part is that we have an idea that can and will remediate the problem without solving any of the problems. It might lead to a solution, in that if we build lots of windmills for this, presumable we will have mass produced windmills we can use elsewhere. It might give us time to solve the problem, in that the "greenhouse gasses" will accumulate more slowly. One thing I must disagree with is that this plan would be favored by those who agree with human caused climate change. Quite the opposite is true. This plan is for those who climate change is a natural process. If climate change were man made, then the sensible solution would be for us to change our habits to stop it. If it is not man made, then something like this, technology to fix the problem at the atmospheric end, is the only justifiable solution.

That said I am not sure that machines like this are inevitable. There was a time when humans could just hunt and gather. At worst they could do limited agriculture. Now look at the amount of machinery the complexity of the supply chain just to get an ear of corn out of the ground. And look at flowers. We can't just keep bees around to pollinate them, they have to brought in special. And if cross pollination between orchards occur, and entire crop can be ruined. Is it inconceivable that as our population grows, as we cut down wild forest for crops of ranch land or managed timber, that the ability of the troposphere to support human life will begin to degrade. I can see atmospheric machine to insure oxygen content, CO2 content, even heat and humidity to be developed and deployed in the next few generations. Is this bad? I don't know, but it is something to think about.

huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41125991)

Can someone please explain to me the process which renders Co2 the target of so much attention and resources?

Last I looked Co2 is an essential element for life? No? worng?

Re:huh? (1)

darkonc (47285) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126231)

Yes, but -- like anything else useful (water, oxygen), too much of it (also too fast an increase) can kill you (or, in this case, cause catastrophic climate effects).
CO2 isn't the worst of the greenhouse gasses, we're just generating lots and lots and lots of it all of a sudden, and the ecosystem doesn't have the ability to effectively deal with it that fast.

For an example of the effect, try drinking 20 litres of pure water tomorrow (just make sure to do it at a medical facility where they have some hope of reviving you when you collapse).

Already? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41126035)

Is it April first already? Something wrong with my calender.

Some observations (3, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126037)

Hm... the abstract appears to convert 1 B tonnes (1 billion, I assume) into 1012 kg. It also omits a lot of words and is generally difficult to read because of it. They appear to use the coldest ever recorded temperature as their working temperature. They also don't talk about how they're going to keep all that CO2 frozen, or how much energy that's going to cost. Or what you do with the plant after five years when it's surrounded by CO2 dumps.

Re:Some observations (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41126363)

1 B tonnes (1 billion, I assume) into 1012 kg

The dumbfucks who wrote the article copypasted the 10^12kg without copying the font. In the original abstract, the 12 was a superscript, indicating exponentiation.

Skip the article and read the abstract directly:

http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JAMC-D-12-0110.1 [ametsoc.org]

Re:Some observations (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126525)

1 B tonnes (1 billion, I assume) into 1012 kg

The dumbfucks who wrote the article copypasted the 10^12kg without copying the font. In the original abstract, the 12 was a superscript, indicating exponentiation.

I don't know... Formatted copy and paste fail? Yeah, I'm going to put part of the blame the shit state of software in general -- That's something that could have been fixed a long time ago.

Re:Some observations (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about a year and a half ago | (#41127141)

At the same time sequestering 1 gigaton of CO2 a year as in the proposal is a drop in the bucket compared to the approximately 30 gigatons currently emitted by humans yearly. It's not that helpful unless we reduce emissions below 1 Gt and even then the reduction will be slow compared to the rate we've increased CO2. And you are right, those deposits of dry ice will have to be maintained essentially forever to keep the benefit. The plan just doesn't seem that practical to me.

Petroleum-funded proposal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41126075)

Sounds like a proposal funded by a petroleum company, because anybody else would just use the windmills for power directly and skip the whole burning fossil fuels part.

Re:Petroleum-funded proposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41126685)

It's powered by windmills, Einstein.

Sci-if terrorist scenario: (1)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126115)

Release Comrade X or we'll firebomb Antartica. You don't want all that carbon up in the air, do you? On the other hand, maybe it'll be cheaper just to burn more fossil fuels or start a fair-sized forest fire.

Re:Sci-if terrorist scenario: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41126713)

Please explain how your imaginary terrorists could firebomb Antarctica but couldn't do the same in a city. In theory, yeah they could detonate nukes in every city at the same time, but in practice that's very unlikely.

Well? Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41126145)

Can't we just put all that CO2 in beer?

Modest proposal (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126165)

When he calls it a modest proposal, does he realize he is copying another title, which essentially indicates he is being completely sarcastic, and not serious at all in what he proposes?

Shades of ERB... (1)

rgbatduke (1231380) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126177)

All we need is a John Carter now to lead a desperate mission to keep the atmosphere machine running... a half-trillion dollars or so later.

Interesting but... (1)

darkonc (47285) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126189)

An interesting idea in the short run, but...

Building and maintaining a large infrastructure (especially something particularly mechanical like a wind far) in the especially hostile environment of Antarctica is going to have some really interesting engineering problems associated.
Then there's the problem of making sure that the CO2 remains frozen -- especially once the infrastructure is abandoned/broken
finally, there's the time bomb effect -- The antarctic ice belt Isn't static. It moves (albeit slowly) towards the sea, which means you're actually creating a CO2 TIme Bomb for some future generation to deal with.

Perhaps a better solution would be to put the power generation stations on Antarctica and find a way to distribute that energy to the rest of the world (or at least South America, Africa and Australia)

Re:Interesting but... (1)

ocratato (2501012) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126455)

Agree completely.

Once we have a means of sequestering CO2, then there is no longer much incentive to stop creating it. We will just build a lot more coal fired power stations, and probably a lot more of these plants to cope with the ever increasing demand.

Eventually all this CO2 goes back into the atmosphere, and probably very quickly.

Another option (0, Troll)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126259)

I had wondered about artificially creating methane hydrate crystals either for storage in deep water or to be used as a cleaner fuel source. They should burn as clean as natural gas. I'm not a hundred percent sure of the process but I believe cold and pressure would cause the crystals to form so it'd involve mostly pumping CO2 into the deep ocean. You'd probably want to keep it semi closed to avoid raising acidity of the ocean water. I never liked the idea of underground storage since some of the biggest disasters in known history have been caused by major releases of CO2. Hydrate crystals are really stable so long as the temperature is stable. Raising deep water temperatures one degree would involve such a massive increase in global temperatures we'd all be dead anyway.

Re:Another option (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41127049)

You don't appear to understand the difference between carbon dioxide and methane.

Arxiv, for Pete's sake (1)

mbone (558574) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126313)

Dr. Agee et al.. If you want people to read it, submit your paper to Arxiv [arxiv.org] . Publishing via Slashdot is just not the same.

Insane Shit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41126369)

From a insane asylum detainee.

Her Excellency needs a small boat ... and be on it ... from port of Savannah Georgia, USA, to ... Jump off ... and plumb the depths of the Gulf Stream in first person mode and with "concrete boots via the NY Mafia" to safely guide her down to Dr. Prof. Davy Jones locker and reside there for evermore.

 

Poplar Farms In Northern Canada (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41126389)

I like the plan of fast-growing trees like poplar being planted in Northern mainland Canada, then being cut and sent north to the Arctic ocean, and towed to places like Ellesmere Island for storage. Those high Arctic islands are so dry and cold, we simulate Mars missions there. The logs will sit there for centuries, holding carbon.

Modest Proposal (3, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126405)

I am amazed at how many people can't figure out that the dude is joking.

If you are saying that you need to create a power source to convert the CO2 from the atmosphere into a form that can be buried, then the logical choice is why you can't simply use this power source to eliminate CO2 producing power sources in the first place.

His 'modest proposal' should have tipped you off. Apparently, it was far too subtle for Slashdot.

Re:Modest Proposal (3, Informative)

mbone (558574) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126497)

The words "modest proposal" do not appear in the actual article.

Re:Modest Proposal (0)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126529)

Hmmmm... you are correct. My argument stands though. It would be much more efficient to use the non-CO2 power source to replace CO2 instead of using it to bury CO2.

Because this power source is in Antartica (4, Insightful)

robbak (775424) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126611)

A big point of this proposal is the strong, constant katabatic wind currents around Antarctica, which make the generation of large amounts of power feasible. But that power is in Antarctica, not New York, so you can't do much with it.

And, yes, you can extract much more CO2 from the air with a unit of power than is produced generating that power, even from Coal.

Re:Modest Proposal (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126623)

...why you can't simply use this power source to eliminate CO2 producing power sources in the first place.

WE might want to fund a project called: HOTH Cli GigA DRIL (Halt Overt Terran Heating of Climate via Gigntic Arctic Death Ray and Intercontinental Laser), but one has to be a bit more subtle when presenting plans to the general public.

Bon Appétit (1)

no-body (127863) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126425)

with that frozen stuff, Future Generations!

Too bad you can't complain to the original producers.

Easier solution.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41126437)

Plant trees, then bury them!

(fast growing trees like Eucalyptus trees, which also tend to have a low water requirement)

An Interesting Proposal (-1)

Ferretman (224859) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126477)

Leaving aside the utterly disproven notion of AGW, this proposal has some merit and I'd like to see it proceed.

Several purposes would be served with a project like this:

- The infrastructure necessary to build and sustain these bases would be useful path-finding for outer space exploration;
- The technological innovations this type of project would generate could prove impressively useful for other, more concrete purposes;
- The Warmites would at least feel like they're doing something rather than just whining, so perhaps they'd actually leave people alone to go about their lives in peace

The plan is a good one if only for the first two points. I propose it become the UN's sole responsibility, with funding coming from dues already being paid by member nations and a direct tithe from various green energy organizations.

Re:An Interesting Proposal (-1, Troll)

approachingZero (1365381) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126575)

I distrust the common consensus found with avant-garde scientific community. No national now nor ever should ever support this hair brained project. The last thing you want is the fucking UN getting involved. If the UN can stop the fighting in Syria then maybe I'll listen.

Alternate power source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41126491)

They had to settle for wind power when they couldn't find enough unicorns that eat CO2 and fart skittles.

What a dumb idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41126537)

The question is not whether CO2 causes the climate to warm. The question is how much.

The application of basic physics says the climate will warm about a degree for every doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere. The alarmists postulate some kind of positive feedback that causes the planet to warm much more. The evidence to support that hypothesis is quite weak.

The skeptics like to point out that CO2 is plant food. It enables the world to produce more nutrition for the huddled billions. In that regard, CO2 sequestration is a dumb idea.

We should soon know who is right. There is a famous bet between an alarmist and a Russian scientist. The bet is whether the climate will cool between now and 2017. http://notrickszone.com/2012/05/21/scientists-of-the-russian-academy-of-sciences-global-warming-is-coming-to-an-end-return-to-early-1980s-level/ [notrickszone.com]

Those who think solar activity controls the climate point out that we are in for a serious slump in sunspots similar to what we had in previous cool periods. In any event, we should see who is right within the next decade. Our problem could be global cooling. That, if we take a lesson from history, is a much more serious problem than warming. We may look back at the idea of sequestration as idiotic.

Profit? (3, Insightful)

guttentag (313541) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126545)

1. Build plant in really cold place
2. Profit from cold weather
3. Pull CO2 from atmosphere
4. Bury CO2 snow
5. Mankind benefits

You must be new here, because you've got this all out of order. Here's how it's supposed to go:
1. Build plant
2. Pull CO2 from atmosphere
3. Bury CO2 snow
4. ???
5. Profit!
If profit is not the end goal, then fail. If "mankind benefits" is the last item on the list, then fail. Go back and try it again. You don't have to be evil to get this right, but it helps.

Carbon can be sequestered on any good farmland (3, Insightful)

rycamor (194164) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126663)

With the appropriate farming techniques, which have pretty much been forgotten in the age of high-volume industrial farming, carbon sequestration can be greatly increased [perennialsolutions.org] .

It frustrates me beyond measure how our society tends to want to solve things with big, sweeping high-cost measures, and then when that becomes a problem, add yet another layer of over-engineering on top of that. Modern farming is one of the biggest problems in the carbon debacle. Cows are kept on bare concrete and fed a steady stream of grain, and the waste is just sloughed off to be turned to muck and eventually dried. Meanwhile, farms that grow produce tend to focus on only one crop (corn, wheat, whatever), thus progressively depleting the soil of resources for that crop, necessitating the high-volume production of fertilizer. Simple measures [homegrown.org] that can both increase the yield of farmland and create much healthier food, also happen to increase and thrive on carbon sequestration. If this were done on a major scale, I suspect our carbon problems would start to reverse.

But I know... promoting wholistic measures like this make one seem like an old hippy. Honestly, it's too bad. There are so many ways to save effort and improve things, but instead we focus on the dramatic high-effort, high-risk solutions.

An even more "modest" proposal: (2)

John Hasler (414242) | about a year and a half ago | (#41126717)

Use orbiting shades to shade much of Antarctica so that it is dark most of the summer. This should make it cold enough to form CO2 snow, removing CO2 from the atmosphere. It also would increase H2O snow accumulation, but that's ok as it would bury the CO2 and also tend to counteract sea level rise.

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