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$25M Bounty Offered for Global Warming Fix

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the bring-me-the-head-of-global-warming dept.

The Almighty Buck 766

SaDan writes "Richard Branson is offering $25M as a bounty for a fix to global warming. The person or organization that can devise a method to remove at least a billion tons of carbon dioxide a year from the atmosphere will be able to claim the bounty. There are a few catches, of course. There can't be any negative impact on the environment, and the payment will come in chunks. A 5 million dollar payout will be paid when the system is put into place with the remainder of the bounty to be paid after 10 years of continuous use."

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766 comments

Plant Respiration (5, Insightful)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954574)

How much carbon dioxide does a single tree consume in a year of respiration and how many trees could be planted for $25 million?

Either that or find a way to build large scale air scrubbers that simulate plant respiration (stripping the carbon atom off a CO2 molecule and releasing O2), then compress the pure carbon into bricks for use in industry. If it could be done cheaply enough it might not just be eco-friendly, but profitable as well, with the $25 million payment as a bonus.

- Greg

Re:Plant Respiration (1, Interesting)

xtracto (837672) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954664)

Either that or find a way to build large scale air scrubbers that simulate plant respiration (stripping the carbon atom off a CO2 molecule and releasing O2), then compress the pure carbon into bricks for use in industry. If it could be done cheaply enough it might not just be eco-friendly, but profitable as well, with the $25 million payment as a bonus.

That is something I have always thought since I was a little kid. Humans do this kind of thing *every* day. Every "invention" we have is a revised,accelerated, optimized and controlled process that the nature already did. I have always wondered why isnt it possible to isolate the parts of the plants that do the C and O2 separation and do it artificially. That way we could *unpollute* the planet.

I'm sure we could (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954900)

But it would require energy. The whole reason hydrocarbons are a good source of energy is precisely because the C + O2 -> CO2 reaction gives off energy. So to make it go the other way, you need input energy. Plants get it from the sun, where would we get it from. Then, of course, assuming you have a source the question is why not just cut the middle man and use that source directly?

Re:I'm sure we could (0, Redundant)

arachnoprobe (945081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954958)

One word: Nuclear.

Ok but that brings me back to the 2nd question (2, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955066)

Why not just dispense with the whole "convert CO2 to carbon and oxygen" and just use nuclear as a direct power source? We already know how to do that, quite well in fact. So if nuclear is the answer, why not just use it?

My point isn't that there aren't energy alternatives, it's that there's not a real reason to do the CO2 -> C + O2 thing.

Re:Ok but that brings me back to the 2nd question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17955242)

The "not in my backyard" crowd is still mostly ignorant, and associate any mention of nuclear power with Chernobyl and Three-Mile Island.

Re:Ok but that brings me back to the 2nd question (1)

brain1 (699194) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955248)

Well, yes. Seems even the environmentalists are agreeing with that. I would say sequestering radioactive waste underground would be a lot better than releasing tons of carbon into the atmosphere. And the new reactor designs are meltdown resistant and far more safer than the old ones.

What ever happened to hydroelectric power? Geothermal?

Oh, yeah. It's cheaper to dig up the planet to burn coal than it is to fund some real research into bringing cheap energy to the masses. Maybe when some other country takes the initiative and produces something useful the U.S. will copy.

Re:Plant Respiration (1)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955030)

Either that or find a way to build large scale air scrubbers that simulate plant respiration (stripping the carbon atom off a CO2 molecule and releasing O2), then compress the pure carbon into bricks for use in industry. If it could be done cheaply enough it might not just be eco-friendly, but profitable as well, with the $25 million payment as a bonus. That is something I have always thought since I was a little kid. Humans do this kind of thing *every* day. Every "invention" we have is a revised,accelerated, optimized and controlled process that the nature already did. I have always wondered why isnt it possible to isolate the parts of the plants that do the C and O2 separation and do it artificially. That way we could *unpollute* the planet.
The problem is that carbon has to be stored and there is no way to store it without some likelihood that the form that it is stored in would be somehow volatile. For instance, if you stored it as graphite you would have to protect that graphite (which would be billions of tons eventually) from catching fire or corroding (by corroding I mean oxidizing by whatever means). If you had it as liquified CO2 then you would have to keep it under pressure forever. The fact is that nobody needs Richard Branson's pitiful 25 M to work on the problem. Work is underway and has been, although the basic facts are pointing to a lack of a "side effect free" solution.

Re:Plant Respiration (0)

camcorder (759720) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954670)

Plant also produce carbondioxide at night. So cultivating plant is not a solution. Only solution would be a big pipes passing athmosphere and pump out the carbon dioxide outside the athmosphere. or a magic bacteria which consumes carbondioxide and produce diamond from it maybe.

Re:Plant Respiration (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954778)

I once knew a chick who was so tightly wound she would probably excrete diamonds if you fed her carbon. Perhaps we could get a group of that type of people together and solve the problem that way.

Re:Plant Respiration (5, Funny)

Randolpho (628485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954928)

That might solve the "I want diamonds" problem, but there are two fatal flaws:

1) Eating carbon won't reduce carbon dioxide

2) The folks at DeBeers will come for you in the dead of night.

Re:Plant Respiration (2, Insightful)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954916)

Plant also produce carbondioxide at night.

Plants produce carbon dioxide during the day and at night. However, they produce far more oxygen during the day than CO2 produced during a 24-hour period.

That's why we have oxygen in our atmosphere at all. Plants produced it.

Re:Plant Respiration (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954712)

Trees alone won't solve the problem for the same reason they aren't solving the problem now: people keep cutting them down.

We cannot possible reserve all of the arable land necessary to plant enough trees to scrub the carbon dioxide we are throwing into the atmosphere, because we need that land for other purposes. As the human population continues to grow, the need for developed land increases. This trend is not likely to reverse itself.

A carbon scrubbing solution that would actually be workable would have to take up much less space than trees would to produce the same result.

Re:Plant Respiration (1)

andreamer (937648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954930)

This page:

http://www.coloradotrees.org/benefits.htm [coloradotrees.org]

suggests that every family in America would have to plant a tree to reduce carbon dioxide in the air by one billion pounds. If there are 2000 pounds in a ton, that would mean each family in America would have to plant 2000 trees. And not cut any down. Every year for ten years.

Re:Plant Respiration (3, Funny)

olyar (591892) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954882)

The technology is there to do the scrubbing, the issue is more how do you do that process without using a whole lot of energy to do it? And of course, that energy has to come from a plant somewhere that is putting CO2 back into the atmosphere...

Ideally, you'd run the process on solar energy I suppose. Hmm... an air scrubber that runs on solar energy.

Sounds suspiciously like a tree!

Re:Plant Respiration (1)

courseB (837633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954964)

If it could be done cheaply enough it might not just be eco-friendly, but profitable as well, with the $25 million payment as a bonus.
so is the 25mil cash bonus a worthy incentive to get the ball rolling?

Re:Plant Respiration (2, Insightful)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955086)

How much carbon dioxide does a single tree consume in a year of respiration and how many trees could be planted for $25 million?
- Depends on the trees. I'm no expert but I'll bet $25 million worth of any plant is going to consume far far less than a billion metric tonnes of CO2. Plus you don't plant wholly grown trees so you've got to wait however many years for them to mature before getting the real benefit - time we don't have. Also, planting $25 million worth of trees would most likely be considered eco-unfriendly since you'd need to find a pretty huge amount of space that isn't already developed - meaning that presumably you'd be destroying a non-forested habitat by sticking trees all over it. More importantly though, it would be missing the point. The technology we use that is creating the pollution is going to become more and more abundant as more and more countries become part of the "developed world". We can't keep planting x thousand trees for every person on Earth and keep everything else as-is, it's just not feasible in the short-term and not sustainable in the long-term.

Re:Plant Respiration (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17955160)

One Acre of Pine can sequester One Metric Ton of Carbon per year for 90 years.
So, you just need to plan 1.5 million square miles of Pine Trees.
(numbers from http://www.epa.gov/sequestration/faq.html [epa.gov] and google calculator)

That's more than the land mass of India. Good luck!

Parent not insightful trees won't work (1)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955196)

How much carbon dioxide does a single tree consume in a year of respiration and how many trees could be planted for $25 million?

Not going to work. Discover Magazine had an article about the fallacy of trees being the solution to global working. You would barely be making a dent. Not to mention the fact that the trees need time to mature. Fires would completely screw up your solution.
http://www.discover.com/issues/aug-05/features/cou nting-carbons/?page=3 [discover.com]

R We Allowed to use Scientific Method? (1)

oldwarrior (463580) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955220)

Such as - first we attempt to disprove our hypothesis -Doh!! now you are a heretic.

Good News, Everyone! (5, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954584)

All we need to do is drop a large ice cube in the ocean every now and then. Thereby solving the problem.

Re:Good News, Everyone! (1)

Aptgetupdate (1051164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954632)

ONCE AND FOR ALL!

While I'd like to thank our handsomest politicians for coming up
with that solution, I just discovered that Nixon's not bringing the smokes.

Re:Good News, Everyone! (1, Informative)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954948)

And since water is most dense at 4deg C, the sea level will rise!

Grump, Environmental Scientist.
Yes, I really have a real degree in this field.

Get rid of people. (-1, Troll)

Suzumushi (907838) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954596)

The easiest way to remove billions of tons of CO2 would be to have a billion people or so stop breathing. Perhaps these global warming fear mongers can lead the way.

Re:Get rid of people. (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954738)

The easiest way to remove billions of tons of CO2 would be to have a billion people or so stop breathing. Perhaps these global warming fear mongers can lead the way.

Great idea! All those dead human corpses will just rot and all the carbon of their bodies will be released as CO2! Wait a second...

The CO2 that humans breathe out is not part of the problem. That CO2 comes from carbon you ingested in the form of food, which came from animals/plants, which ultimately came from the air. So when you breathe out CO2, you are just putting back the CO2 that was there only a few months ago. So there is no net impact. The same goes for ANY carbon dioxide that is bio-derived. Only the CO2 released from burning petroleum fuel matters. Period.

Re:Get rid of people. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17954918)

Only the CO2 released from burning petroleum fuel matters. Period.


what, do you expect petrol to burn itself?

It's already been solved (3, Funny)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954612)

It's called an air-conditioner. Duh.


Yes, Martha, I'm fully aware that the Carnot cycle shows that air conditioners cause a net heating of the environment when the heat dump and the cold reservoir are summed. That is to say the above is a joke.

only a billion tons/year? (5, Insightful)

dotmax (642602) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954636)

Why, that's just ~32 tons of CO2 per second. Piece of cake.

Re:only a billion tons/year? (1)

acidrain (35064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955056)

Why, that's just ~32 tons of CO2 per second. Piece of cake.

And that 5 million is 0.05c per ton if you are using it to meet the requirements for the first 10 years. 5 or even 25 million is pocket change for large industrial projects, this story is a joke. I might take the 25 million to build an apartment block, but not save the world.

Negative impact on the environment? (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954638)

Please define.

Re:Negative impact on the environment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17955146)

Does the extermination of 90% of humanity count as a Negative Impact(TM) ?

That would solve the problem.

"Global warming fix" doesn't imply "removing CO2" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17954646)

Why exclude solutions where you would counteracting Global Cooling Gas?

Dust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17954662)

Why bother getting rid of the CO2, Just pump a bunch of dust into the stratosphere. We have a bunch of airliners up there anyway, get them to do double duty by using a sooty fuel.

Re:Dust (1)

Canthros (5769) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954942)

Air quality won't be so great, and the acid rain would be a problem, but the sunsets will be fantastic.

Re:Dust (1)

BluedemonX (198949) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955012)

Or we could go back to driving cool cars. 1969 Dodge Charger, 1970s era Gran Torino, etc. Particulate matter.

We find a cure for cancer and have everyone smoke again.

Return to cool AND drop planetary temperatures. Oh right, wait. Global warming is a myth.

Dust melts snow/ice (1)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955018)

Particulates in the atmosphere actually have a "warming" effect with respect to melting snow packs and ice. They become part of the snowflake, but they absorb rather than reflect solar radiation, snow/ice melts too quickly.

Re:Dust (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955046)

Why bother getting rid of the CO2, Just pump a bunch of dust into the stratosphere. We have a bunch of airliners up there anyway, get them to do double duty by using a sooty fuel.

Then there would be a $25M bounty on an asthma cure....

Mother Nature (1)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954694)

After all, I'm sure that a human can take care of the earth better than Mother Nature can.

Re:Mother Nature (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17954822)

It is our mission to defeat Mother Nature in her attempt to wipe us out.

Re:Mother Nature (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17954836)

After all, I'm sure that a human can take care of the earth better than Mother Nature can.

"Mother Nature" my ass. (Or, when a beaver builds a dam, it's "nature", but when a human builds one...)

Re:Mother Nature (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954896)

After all, I'm sure that a human can take care of the earth better than Mother Nature can.

Mother nature's solution to global warming operates on a geologic timescale and will not help us. In fact since if we leave the situation unchecked things will get worse before they get better, the earth will probably demonstrate its lack of use for us in the meantime.

Re:Mother Nature (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17955050)

I know the rest of the planet would like to vocalize its lack of use for a moron like you. Right now. By shooting you in the face.

processsing rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17954700)

1 billion tonnes/year = 30tonnes/second
quite a rate to sustain ...

plants (1)

UnixSphere (820423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954708)

Plants absorb c02 as they grow, and they can definitely absorb more than what's needed to mature, resulting in bigger/higher yields of product. The only thing is you'd need to plant thousands and thousands of acres. So the question is, which plant is best for this ordeal?

No negative impact on the Environment? (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954722)

I call bullshit. I don't think there is ANY technology which, when implemented on a massive scale, will not have SOME negative environmental impact, at least as defined by the various environmental interest groups.

Deep sea carbon sequestration? Think of the oceans.

Nuclear anything? You're joking, right.

The list could go on. Here's the global warming elephant in the room: lower CO2 levels mean massive changes in human behavior. Period. He should be offering $25M for a device to change human behavior.

Awesome (-1, Troll)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954732)

I love how all these plans are about reducing global warming yet don't take global cooling into question.

We don't have a clue what's going on and everyones planning some huge stupid scheme around best guesses. Maybe we should work out exactly what is going on first.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17954952)

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) summary released last Friday inflates the language of doom even as it deflates its predictions of temperature and sea level increases from previous reports.

The IPCC Climate Change 2007 report predicts world temperatures will possibly rise 1.8C to 4C (3.25 to 7.2F) from 1990 levels to the year 2100 and that sea levels might rise 28 to 43 cm (11 to 17 inches).

Just six years ago, however, the picture looked much bleaker.

The 2001 IPCC report predicted that from 1990 to 2100 temperatures would rise 1.4C to 5.8C causing sea levels to rise by .09 to .88 metres (3.5 to 34.6 inches or 9 to 88 cm).

In 2001, the UN body said the global net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming with radiative forcing of 2.43 watts per square metre.

Oops. Now they're saying it's 1.6 watts per square metre.

What's most troubling about all of this is the 21-page, much-hyped summary is not referenced at all.

This is problematic on many fronts, but as past IPCC reports have shown, the summary is not written by the scientists whose names appear on the cover, it's written by politicians and bureaucrats.

Indeed, some of those scientists after the fact have complained their work has been grossly misrepresented.

In 2001, two scientists complained publicly their work was misrepresented by those who wrote the summary, including MIT physicist Richard Lindzen.

In June 1996, Dr. Frederick Seitz, past-president of the National Academy of Sciences and president emeritus of Rockefeller University, wrote with regard to the 1995 IPCC report: "I have never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer-review process than the events that led to this IPCC report."

He continued: "This report is not what it appears to be -- it is not the version approved by the contributing scientists listed on the title page."


link [canoe.ca]

Regardless of whether you believe in Global Warming or not, there is an effort by certin groups (environmental groups and the media in particular) to make the science sound more solid than it is ...

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17954990)

this is crazy... flat out crazy... but how about rather than whining about the problem we use the technology ALREADY IN PLACE???

I live in Idaho the supposed nuclear energy research capitol of the U.S. (The INL). Yet the lab here hasn't built a reactor for 20 years.
and they are getting less and less money each year for research.

Our state is now building five some odd coal plants... (not the gen 3 plants we should be).

When was the last time a nuke plant was built in the US?

You want to see the essence of hypocrisy? Look at the half finished nuke plant in Washington, its construction was blocked by the same
people whining about dirty power and global warming..... stop waiting for the magic technology bullet and use the technology we ALREADY HAVE!
basically, PUT UP OR SHUT UP!

The solution is nuclear power. . . (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954740)

My paypal is welcometothefifties@timetobuildthem.com.

Re:The solution is nuclear power. . . (1)

pashdown (124942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954998)

How are you going to mine, refine, clean-up then store/recycle your fuel without emitting CO2? Fission proponents seem to believe that uranium magically appears on your doorstep then disappears when you're done.

Re:The solution is nuclear power. . . (1)

Blappo (976408) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955156)

Why does it have to be done "without emitting" CO2? The earth has the ability to deal with CO2 already, we just have to develop solutions that don't overwhelm the system.

Easy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17954776)

Could do it ourselves in the US, It would take just a few easy changes:
1. 2$ a gallon gas tax in the US
2. Train/Metro in every major US city
3. Large installation of windmills
4. A miracle and revolution in the US to a systemm where our representatives do not get campaign money from industries that benefit from pumping pollution into the sky.

The problem isn't coming up with a way to do it... (1)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954784)

The problem isn't coming up with a way to do it, it's getting people to buy into it. There are lots of ways to cut down on our use of fossil fuels (nuclear, space-based solar, etc.) and there are lots of ways to pull carbon out of the atmosphere (though most if not all of the best ones involve plants and sunlight). But we have a huge culture/industry built around the notion of burning fossil fuels and that isn't going away any time soon. Given that they are willing to kill hundreds of thousands of people and spend hundreds of millions of dollars to finesse access to a small fraction of the worlds fossil fuels, a $25 million dollar prize (heck even if they made it $25 billion) isn't going to matter squat. --MarkusQ P.S. And if you want to argue that the war isn't about oil, you need to start by coming up with a non-discredited alternative explanation and at least sketch out why it doesn't apply to any of the more obvious targets who aren't sitting on a bunch of oil.

Re:The problem isn't coming up with a way to do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17955180)

There's multiple reasons: Political: We had to take Saddam out, because we were the ones that put him in power in the first place. Basically fixing your past mistakes without actually owning up to them. The oil? Eh... there would be cheaper ways than this war to get it. Financial: defense contractors are pretty high up on the campaign contribution list. Religious: hopes of starting Armageddon because you have faith that you are going to be raptured up.

Plant a forest(s), among other things... (2, Interesting)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954790)

Trees....lots of trees.
Solar powered. Self-sustaining, self-propagating...pretty much self-everything.

It's pretty obvious to do any carbon dioxide scrubbing on a large scale, it's going to require a process that requires as little artificially-induced energy input as possible.

How about large saltwater algae beds in arid regions adjacent to the ocean? Harvest the algae, press out the plant oil, and make biodiesel. Algae is probably the most efficient crop for something like this.

How bout if we just stop using normal gasoline (1)

theseth (1062148) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954800)

We need to change over to Bio-diesel, That way we are reusing the waste we accumulate at all those horrible fast food joints!

Re:How bout if we just stop using normal gasoline (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955178)

The pharmaceutical companies would love this idea. Then they could start making Lipitor, Crestor, and Zocor for cars!


P1: "Dude, what happened to your car?"
P2: "Man, it had a heart attack on the freeway the other day!"
P1: "See, I told you that you needed to get that jalopy on some cholesterol meds."
P2: "Yeah, the fuel line angioplasty is gonna' cost me a fortune!"

Chump Change (1)

bostons1337 (1025584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954802)

$25 million is chump change for something like that, especially when you receive it in payments like that over the course of 10 years. Then you got to figure the government is going to tax the hell out of you for it. I say Branson should raise the stakes, its not like he can't afford it.

Easy but hard. (3, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954808)

Carbon sequestration is relatively easy. Plant more trees, create artificial algae blooms...Anything green and growing will take in a lot of carbon. There have been studies recently dealing with certain types of pine trees that even suggest that the trees are growing faster in the higher CO2 environment we're making for them, which suggests that natural processes will step up to take advantage of the carbon rich environment.

The problem is, all these solutions are geologically short term, and they're not as space-efficient as say, coal. Forests catch fire, algae blooms sink to the bottom (which is good) but are bad bad bad for the water ecosystem in which they're created, and everything else gets used and processed.

Basically, we're screwed on a quick fix until someone bio-engineers us some quick growing trees that sequester so much carbon that they're shiny. The best solution is to reduce our output of carbon, and allow the carbon cycle to re-balance itself.

In the meantime, if you're wondering whether to take up snow skiing or water skiing, might want to go water.

Human Photosynthesis (1)

stormeru (1027946) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954826)

Reverse some genes in the human DNA so that the humans breath CO2 and expire O2. It is as easy as writing !true in a programming language.

I for one welcome our Photosynthetic Human Overlords.

Thats simple, Plant marijuana (5, Interesting)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954852)

It is in the top 10 for CO2 fixation! It has over 25,000 uses of which smoking it is just 1!

We can make cloths, shoes, rope, cardboard, paper, and other goods from the fibers.
We can make bread, cooking oil, ethanol, bio diesel, and bird food from the seeds.
We can smoke the buds to relax.

Problem solved! We just plant it everywhere! Along the roads, in the unused fields, around the government buildings, just everywhere. No more global warming!

Interesting how the CO2 levels started to rise just after the government banned growing it!

We can also reduce the "War on Drugs" budget and redirect it to research on global warming. There is an instant $6,000,000,000 per year to find alternate energy sources. :)

Problem solved, now take that $25,000,000 prize and give it to the Marc Emery defiance fund. [cannabisculture.com]

Re:Thats simple, Plant marijuana (2, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955020)

The "war on drugs" budget is small, the DEA is almost entirely funded by "civil forfeiture", the completely fair idea that if you are caught selling a bag of pot, then everything you own (car, house, photo album handed down from grandma) must have been the proceeds of your drug dealing, and deserve to be taken away and auctioned. Even if falsely accused, and acquitted, getting it back is nearly impossible.

But, people watched "Scarface" in the 80s, and said "WOW thats how drug dealers live? ferrari's and mansions? fuck that!", so here we are.

There's too much money involved there. You could tax marijuana to high hell, and still not generate the same amount of income. This is what the "war on drugs" is.

Irony of it all (2, Insightful)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954876)

Richard Branson owns an airline, if he wants he could reduce co2 by a large amount by changing his business.

Of course if he pulls out of the market then others take his place.

Re:Irony of it all (5, Insightful)

Mr. Sketch (111112) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955176)

True, but he launched Virgin Fuels to research alternative fuels:

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=2862 259 [go.com]

FTA:

Branson, whose business interests include Virgin Atlantic airline and Virgin Trains, rejected charges that it was hypocritical for him to sponsor the prize. He reiterated a commitment made in September to invest $3 billion toward fighting global warming, saying he would commit all profits from his travel companies over the next 10 years.

As part of that pledge, he launched a new Virgin Fuels business, which is to invest up to $400 million in green energy projects over the next three years.

Re:Irony of it all (1)

mattpointblank (936343) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955182)

Good point; I guess this is millionaire's guilt. "Oh, but if I throw a bunch of money at it, it'll counteract the problems I've caused!".

Saturn! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954880)

Smash two asteroids into each other near the Earth to form a ring of debri around the planet. This can be done by gradual guidence whereby you move a small asteroid slightly to make it transfer motion to a incrementally larger asteroid by repeated passes, stealing motion from other bodies such as Jupiter. It is kind of a snowball-like effect. But it does take thousands of years and a hellova lotta math.

Easy (1, Redundant)

spyrral (162842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954890)

Stop burning fossil fuels.

Where's my 25 million?

Not redundant... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17955210)

... parent post is not redundant - the posts for the majority point towards methods *removing* CO2 from the air, because that is what the question is literally. The fundamental question is however: make the total amount of CO2 less than it is now, by a billion tons a year. And ofcourse that can be achieved by burning less fosil fuels. If you can make a device that *allows* people to burn less fosil fuels, and install it so it will be efficient up to 1 billion tons a year: you've won.

Nuclear bomb (2, Insightful)

ALimoges (870872) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954892)

Dropping a nuclear bomb every once in a while on a large cosmopolitan city would definitely do the job...

Find a way to block all volcanoes - problem solved (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17954924)

Humans only contribute < 3% to the world's greenhouse gases!

"Are humans causing the climate to change?

98% of total global greenhouse gas emissions are natural (mostly water vapor); only 2% are from man-made sources." - http://www.polymath-systems.com/pubpol/globwarm.ht ml [polymath-systems.com]


Many other sources have similar figures.

Pah! Trivial! (5, Funny)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954944)

Simply declare co2 to be the worlds currency and pretty soon it will all be safely locked away in swiss vaults.

Hats (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954954)

If everbody wore tin-foil hats, then it would reflect more sun out into space, cooling the planet. I've got mine on.

Algae-Biodiesel+Charcoal (1)

rohar (253766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954968)

One of the best ideas I have seen is algae for biodiesel [energytower.org] with charcoal production from the waste. The charcoal holds the carbon for a long period and is at worst case neutral spread on agricultural land and has some potential to be beneficial [bidstrup.com].

There were a lot of studies on the idea in the '80's by the DOE [energy.gov], but it was shelved due to low oil prices at the time.

Solve global Warming and more (5, Funny)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954986)

Eat the homeless, now we have enough housing. Eat criminals, no more over full jails, possible drop in crime rates. Eat everyone who live in a house with an odd number, halfing amount of cars on the road. And with all that eating we solve third world hunger too.

A forest (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17954992)

Duh, my invention is a bunch of trees and plants strategically placed together on a piece of land, in sufficient quantities to remove a billion tons of CO2 a year. Why make machines to do what mother nature can already do, provided we as humans are good stewards and take care of our natural and biological resources?

Now pay me my money, bitches. I don't have any confidence that any of you ignorant fools are going to stop pumping CO2 into the atmosphere and cutting down our forests. I want my money right now so I can at least live the rest of my life enjoying myself. Nobody *else* is admitting they are responsible for pooping in the fishbowl, and I'm not going to admit my own guilt either. The fish bowl we call the Earth is just pooping ITSELF up.

Guess that rules out my solution... (1)

etah52 (816549) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955016)

Nuclear winter! When things get too hot, pop the top, sit back and enjoy the snow.

Not Reduce Output (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955032)

Most of the comments have been offering simple ways to dump less C02 in the air. The prize is expressly to remove CO2 we've already added, so solar/nuclear power, less driving gas, etc. wouldn't count.

Nor would the various other schemes.

But my nifty idea is to spin the entire atmosphere. The CO2, being heavier than most air, but heavier than ozone, would form a layer all it's own. Then all we need is planes with ram-scoops to collect the C02, and later pipe it up to space in large tubes.

Are hurricanes/tornados a "negative environmental impact"?

Pay me (1, Troll)

ProteusQ (665382) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955034)

Anyone who thinks global warming is strictly a man-made problem: stop driving cars, stop using airplanes, stop using air-conditioning, stop using electricity, stop eating beef, stop drinking milk, stop farting, and stop breathing. With a billion fewer people on the planet, this problem might just go away.

No impact on the environment? (3, Insightful)

Pollux (102520) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955088)

The person or organization that can devise a method to remove at least a billion tons of carbon dioxide a year from the atmosphere will be able to claim the bounty. There are a few catches, of course. There can't be any negative impact on the environment.

That's like asking a baker to take all that unhealthy fat out of a doughnut, but not have it have any impact on the taste. It would be foolish of Branson to think that you can make a dramatic change to the chemical makeup of our atmosphere, but not have any "negative" consequences. Plants need CO2, so removing it from the atmosphere might harm plant life. Temperatures will decrease (probably), and I'm sure that there's at least some species of wildlife that's now thriving with the warmer temperatures. Wind paterns will change. Climate patterns will change. To expect absolutely no "negative impact" on the environment is foolhardy.

WTF? Are they stupid? (1)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955090)

Just last week the leading scientific community said global warming is irreversable (at least for several centuries.)

Otherwise the best solution is to nuke China and India.

No no no (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955102)

How about we dont go looking for a short term bandaid fix? We all know what the solution is, and it is to reduce our CO2 footprint in the long run.

We have time, we have hudreds of years, we can phase changes in slowly as we develop them and become tenable.

I worry about some jackass firing off some goofy device of his, without examining possible side effects, and putting us in a worse situation.

How about just running out of oil? (4, Insightful)

viking80 (697716) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955132)

Running out of oil will do this quite effectively, and that will happen within not too many years.

I'm in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17955136)

25 million you say? That's not a very good bounty for an entire planet. Ok... ok.. let me think... right... I'm going to pulp the Amazon rain forest to produce leaflets telling people to switch off their lights when not in use. How's that? Jeezuz. What idiots. It's wrong-thinking tinkering like this that usually makes the solution have worse side effects than the problem. What is it about the last 10 years that makes people expect a dynamic system like the climate to be a static system in equilibrium with humans? You know, we probably evolved our over developed frontal lobes thanks to environmental change. We dominate the planet due to our ability to out adapt other species. Keep banging the rocks together guys. Forward not backwards.

lowball (1)

mo (2873) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955184)

This sort of reminds me when people pledge trivial amounts of money on feature bounties for open-source projects, or in bids on rent-a-coder [rentacoder.com].
While I appreciate Branson's gesture, I can't help by being annoyed. Extracting CO2 from the atmosphere is incredibly difficult.
I can't imagine that his plege would have any real effect on the parties who are striving to solve this problem.

ID10T (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17955190)

[Sigh!] A fool and his money...

1. Global warming isn't caused by carbon in the atmosphere -- it's cause by (drum roll please) THE SUN!! [GASP!!]
2. I'll wager Sir Branson his $25M that global warming "mysteriously" reverses itself in 20 years (coincidentally at the bottom of the sun's gamma cycle)
3. Anyone but me remember the "coming ice age" back in the early 70's?

I've seen the answer somewhere ... (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 7 years ago | (#17955204)

Get icecubes from a meteor and cool the oceans.

If that doesn't work transport all robots to an island and bomb it.
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