RE: The End Is Nigh, Again?? (was: Life after the oil crash)

From: Tjalle T Vandergraaf <>
Date: Fri Oct 28 2005 - 11:11:42 EDT

There's too much in Janice Matchett's entry to cover in the limited amount
of time that I have this morning, but let me pick just a few of her
statements pertaining to energy use:


"Assuming that man-made global warming is a real problem, there are plenty
of ways to handle it.

One is to deploy technologies we already have to mitigate its effects on
humanity: heating, air conditioning, seawalls, irrigation of farmland, crop
switching, and so forth. We could also choose to sequester extra carbon
dioxide by pumping it back into the ground whence it came, fertilizing the
tropic ocean deserts so that they bloom with phytoplankton that absorbs it
from the air, or planting more trees. "


Huh? It seems to me that, to mitigate the effect on global warming on
humanity by A/C will require additional energy. Building seawalls
(presumably to protect coastal areas from rising ocean levels) will require
additional energy. That energy has to come from somewhere and we only have
fossil fuels, uranium and thorium, and solar power (wind, hydro, sun).
There is some work being done in the Saskatchewan oil fields to enhance oil
recovery by pumping in carbon dioxide from coal-fired power stations in
North Dakota but, other than that, sequestering carbon dioxide by pumping it
into the ground may or may not work (who knows when it gets out again).
Planting more trees may work but we have to plant a lot of trees to break
even with the destruction of the rain forests in the Amazon (now
experiencing drought!)

In any case, Ausubel doesnt think that carbon dioxide is a long-term
problem because the worlds energy system has been inexorably decarbonizing
for the past two centuries.


Yes, but that's only because hydrogen-containing fossil fuels have been
found and there's no guarantee that this will continue.

His research traces humanitys steady
<> progress
from wood to coal to oil to natural gas and, eventually, to hydrogen.


Huh? How do you get from wood (not 100% carbon) to coal (100% carbon) to
oil and gas (all biomass or fossil fuel) to hydrogen, an energy carrier?
You cannot equate hydrogen with oil, unless you postulate hydrogen wells or
hydrogen mines.

At each stage, consumers, without being commanded to do so by regulators,
have chosen fuels containing more hydrogen over fuels containing more


That's simply because of availability, ease of transportation, cost, and
cleanliness. We used to burn sawdust in Vancouver to heat our house because
it was readily available, cheap to transport. Now it's made into furniture!
In Manitoba, we used to use oil to heat our house, but switched to
electricity because Manitoba has abundant hydroelectric sites 9and oil went
up in price). I doubt if most people even know anything about the hydrogen
content of fuels. It all comes down to economics.

Ausubel sees that trend continuing until carbon-based fuels are eliminated
by the end of the century.

He expects that carbon dioxide concentrations, now about 360 parts per
million (ppm), will peak at 450 ppm. That is 100 ppm less than the U.N.s
sometimes stated goal of "stabilizing" carbon dioxide at 550 ppm, and it
would happen without draconian increases in energy prices or the creation of
global bureaucracies aimed at regulating the atmosphere.


I'd like to see what he suggests will replace fossil fuels!


Chuck Vandergraaf

Received on Fri Oct 28 11:14:35 2005

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