Wednesday, June 13, 2007

An easy way of getting rid of CO2 (If we are stupid enough to waste the building blocks of all life on earth)

Greenies won't like the method of course -- as it does not make us suffer

MOST solutions to the problem of global warming are tediously, almost oppressively, quotidian. Switch the lights off. Stop using fossil fuels to make electricity. Run an efficient car. Don't fly. A few grandiose projects have also been suggested, such as giant parasols in space or adding iron to the ocean to encourage planktonic algae to grow and soak up carbon dioxide. On the whole, though, those big ideas are either mad or could have dangerously unpredictable consequences.

That does not mean that lateral thinking about the problem has no place. And the idea proposed by Alfred Wong of the University of California, Los Angeles, at last week's meeting of the American Geophysical Union, in Acapulco, is about as lateral as they come. Dr Wong reckons the problem is not so much that CO2 is being thrown away, but that it is not being thrown far enough. According to his calculations, a little helping hand would turn the Earth's magnetic field into a conveyor belt that would vent the gas into outer space, whence it would never return.

The site of the conveyor Dr Wong is proposing to build is the Arctic. More specifically, he is suggesting it be over one of his workplaces, the High Power Auroral Stimulation facility near Fairbanks in Alaska that he set up 20 years ago to stimulate and study artificial auroras.

The Arctic sky is special because it is one of the two places (the other being the Antarctic) where the magnetic shield of the Earth opens up to outer space. Auroras, such as the one pictured above, pleasingly testify to a stream of particles from the sun that gets through and hits the atmosphere. These particles bring with them many gigawatts of power that Dr Wong wants to harness to reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

His idea starts with the fact that CO2 molecules like to team up with loose electrons, to form CO2 ions. A few percent of the CO2 molecules in the air manage to find such electrons. As a result they become negatively charged.

The second piece of luck is that all over the Earth there is a constant vertical electrical field. The surface and the atmosphere form a giant battery, as the lightning discharges of thunderstorms demonstrate. This field tends to make negatively charged ions, such as those of CO2, drift upward. At first this happens slowly, because collisions with other molecules keep throwing the drifting ions off course. But after a few days they arrive at an altitude, about 125km up, which is so rarefied that an ion can move freely about. This is when the last stage of their one-way trip into space begins: sailing along the magnetic field of the Earth.

High in the polar regions, the lines of magnetic force point almost straight upwards. When a charged particle is in a magnetic field, it tends to travel along that field's lines of force, spiralling as it goes. In the case of a CO2 ion at an altitude of 125km, it spirals round 17 times a second.

However, as it travels upwards, it experiences a weakening field. It must then make fewer turns per second, in obedience to a law of physics called the conservation of magnetic moment (this is similar to the law of conservation of angular momentum that slows a spinning ice dancer down as he spreads his arms). And because it cannot just shed its energy of movement, it is forced to travel faster and faster in the direction of the field. The eventual result is that it is ejected into space.

That, at least, is the theory. And although CO2 is too rare even in today's atmosphere for the phenomenon to be detected by existing satellites, an equivalent ejection of oxygen, a far more abundant gas, can be detected from space. So it seems more than likely that Dr Wong's analysis of what is going on in nature is right. The question is, can CO2 molecules be given an artificial leg-up into space, so that they leave the atmosphere in sufficient numbers to make a difference to climate change? Dr Wong thinks they can.

The leg-up he proposes comes in two stages. First, he has to ionise more CO2. There are many ways this might be done, but for a first experiment Dr Wong proposes zapping dust in the atmosphere with powerful lasers, to release electrons that can then combine with CO2. Having created the ions, he will then nudge those that have drifted upwards to the appropriate height with radio waves of exactly 17 cycles a second, which will give them a nice stock of energy at the beginning of their spiralling phase.

Once they are there, Dr Wong expects the incoming stream of charged particles that cause auroras to deliver the bonus that will make the whole thing work, by dumping some of their energy into the spiralling as well. This should happen through a process called stochastic resonance: the spiralling molecules get preferential treatment, so to speak, because they stand out in what is otherwise an environment of random movements.

So far, Dr Wong has only rough calculations of the energy needs of his scheme, but these suggest that his lasers and radio transmitters, even if powered by fossil-fuel generated electricity, should cause far less CO2 to be put into the atmosphere than they ship out of it. The key to this efficiency is the free energy arriving by stochastic resonance. If the particles do their bit, he thinks that a few dozen megawatts of additional electrical power is all that will be needed to make a dent in the amount of CO2. Exactly how big that dent would be, he is not yet sure. But he is pretty sure it would be big enough to help.


Kyoto exits (stage Left)

Kyoto is dead. You didn't read about it in the paper, but like the famous Dead Parrot sketch in Monty Python, it's a goner. The G-8 leaders of the biggest economies in the world just proclaimed a "compromise": George W. Bush would accept that climate change is a possible problem, and all the Europeans would change the Kyoto target from 2012 to 2050! The National Post of Canada writes:

"The Kyoto accord will survive as a rallying point for environmentalists. But as a relevant policy instrument, it effectively died this week at a seaside German resort.

If nothing else, the G8 agreement on climate change put an end to the aggressive push by one-note environmentalists --- such as Al Gore and Stephane Dion --- to impoverish Western economies by insisting they meet arbitrary emission targets by 2012. From now on, international leaders will be looking for bigger cuts than those mandated under Kyoto, but within more workable deadlines -- 50% by 2050 being one benchmark under discussion."

Well, a lot is bound to change between now and 2050. For one thing, we'll have much better science. And a lot better technology. And China and India will be major economic powers. Europe's "screw America" attitude will certainly change, because Europe changes all its attitudes every couple of decades.

So Kyoto is a goner. Aussgepufft, you might call it. And good riddance, because it was a terrible idea, based on insecure science and speculative models, leading to a vast and self-destructive allocation of enormous economic resources to a ghostly globalist fantasies of doom. It was a terrible idea that would have wreaked permanent damage, just to empower the transnational elites.

In fact, the whole dialogue is beginning to sound like Monty Python.

Reality: "Look, matey, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now."

Green elites: "No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, idn'it, ay? Beautiful plumage!"

Reality: "The plumage don't enter into it. It's stone dead."

Greens: "Nononono, no, no! 'E's resting!"

Reality: "All right then, if he's restin', I'll wake him up! (shouting at the cage) 'Ello, Mister Polly Parrot! I've got a lovely fresh cuttle fish for you if you show..."


The mainstream media will be late with the real news, as usual. But give them a couple of months to change their story line, and they'll have to talk up the G-8 "compromise" as real progress for the world. And then they'll have to find another eco-scare. What'll it be? Bird flu? Flesh-eating bacteria? Attack of the Killer Tomatoes? Nope, those have been done. Check your local theaters for the next eco attack


Greens want to keep the poor as they are

"People here have no jobs," Mark Fenn admitted, after taking documentary producers on a tour of his $35,000 catamaran and the site of his new coastal home. "But if you could count how many times they smile in a day, if you could measure stress" and compare that with "well-off people" in London or New York, "then tell me, who is rich and who is poor?" Fenn is coordinator of the World Wildlife Fund's campaign against a proposed mining project near Fort Dauphin, Madagascar. The locals strongly support the project and want the jobs, development, improved living standards and environmental quality the state-of-the-art operation will bring.

People there live in abject poverty, along dirt roads, in dirt-floor shacks, and are hardly able to afford food on their $1,000-a-year average incomes. There is little power, no indoor plumbing. The local rain forest has been destroyed for firewood and slash-and-burn farming. People barely eke out a living.

But Fenn claims the mine will change the "quaint" village and harm the environment. He says he feels "like a resident," his children "were born and raised" there, and the locals "don't consider education to be important" and would just spend their money on parties, jeans and stereos. Actually, Fenn lives 300 miles away and sends his children to school in South Africa. And the locals hardly conform to his insulting stereotypes. "If I had money, I would open a grocery store," said one. "Send my children to school," start a business, become a midwife, build a new house, said others.

You have to see the film, "Mine Your Own Business," to fully grasp the callous disdain these radicals have for the world's poor. Don Imus' intemperate remarks were insensitive. But Fenn's demeaning, even racist, statements perpetuate misery.

These enemies of the poor say they are "stakeholders" wishing to "preserve" indigenous people and villages. They never consider what's wanted by the real stakeholders - those who live in these communities and must endure the consequences of harmful campaigns waged all over the world.

The WWF, Greenpeace, Oxfam, Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network and other multinational activist groups battle mines in Romania, Peru, Chile, Ghana and Indonesia; electricity projects in Uganda, India and Nepal; biotechnology that could improve farm incomes and reduce malnutrition in Kenya, India, Brazil and the Philippines; and DDT that could slash malaria rates in Africa, where the disease kills 3,000 children a day.

They harp on technology's speculative hazards and ignore real, life-or-death dangers that modern mining, development and technology would reduce or prevent. They never mention the jobs, clinics, schools, roads, improved housing and small business opportunities - or the electricity, refrigeration, safe water, better nutrition, reduced disease and fewer dead children. They pervert "sustainable development" to mean no development, and ignore how mines will lay the foundation that will sustain prosperity and better living standards for generations.

Agitators use global warming and "corporate social responsibility" to force companies to acquiesce to their agendas - and ignore human rights to energy and technology, and people's desperate cries for a chance to take their rightful places among the Earth's healthy and prosperous people.

They extol the virtues of microcredit, to support minimal family enterprises, and demand debt forgiveness and more foreign aid for corrupt dictators - but oppose economic development that would eliminate the need for international welfare. They blame Newmont Mining for accidents that killed five people over a two-year period in Ghana, but refuse to admit that their pressure campaigns cause millions of deaths every year. One could justifiably call it eco-manslaughter - or a racist experiment on powerless, impoverished Third World families.

Yes, there are environmental impacts from mines, dams and other development. There are health and other risks. But the Industrial Revolution also brought those changes. Are we worse off for it? Do we want to return to the jobs, lifestyles and living standards of pre-industrial, pre-electric America, when 95% of Americans were farmers, cholera and malaria were ever-present, and the average life expectancy was 45?

Would any of the greens, politicians and celebrities who clamor to keep the world's poor "indigenous" (and thus impoverished, energy-deprived and diseased) care to live that lifestyle for even one month? Would they exchange their 10,000-square-foot mansions for a hovel, give up electricity and stop globe-trotting in private jets?

Why hasn't the United Nations criticized the institutional racism being perpetrated in the name of "saving the planet"? Where are U.S. civil rights groups, media, churches and these poor countries' leaders? This intolerable situation cannot continue. People of conscience must no longer remain silent.


Church concerns

In the past, Tom Mullen, President of Catholic Cleveland Charities, testified on his concern about the rising costs of energy that would be caused by the imposition of a carbon cap and trade scheme. Specifically, he said that the one-fourth of children in his city living in poverty:

"will suffer further loss of basic needs as their moms are forced to make choices of whether to pay the rent or live in a shelter; pay the heating bill or see their child freeze; buy food or risk the availability of a hunger center."

Recently, the Congressional Budget Office found that an allowance allocation scheme would increase costs to the poor - who already spend up to five times as much of their monthly outlays for energy. The report found that it would transfer wealth from the poor to the rich. A reverse Robin Hood, if you will.

These thoughts were echoed in a letter sent to me yesterday by Barrett Duke, Vice President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention - which I request be entered into the record along with a resolution passed last June by the Southern Baptist Convention on Environment and Evangelicals. Duke wrote in his letter that that the science was unsettled and if global warming policies:

"make the delivery of electricity to [undeveloped countries] more difficult, millions of people will be condemned to more hardship, more disease, shorter lives and more poverty."

What makes this all the more tragic is the science to buttress global warming hysteria is so shaky. That has led to increasing numbers of political leaders coming forth to publicly say so. The latest is former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt just this week said the topic of global warming is "hysterical, overheated, and that is especially because of the media. We've had warm- and ice-ages for hundreds of thousands of years." He added that believing we can alter global warming by any plans made at the G-8 is "idiotic." Schmidt's comments follow similarly strong statements by Czech President Vaclav Klaus and former French Socialist Party Leader Claude Allegre.

The global warming alarmists are becoming increasingly desperate as more and more scientists convert from belief in a man-made catastrophe to skeptics as new science becomes available. We will be issuing a report soon detailing the hundreds of scientists who have spoken out recently with differing views from Al Gore, the United Nations, Hollywood elitists, and the media's version of climate science.

Even putting the issue of science aside, religious leaders who have bought into the global warming hype need to consider the big picture of unintended consequences of legislative `solutions.' One example of unintended consequences by climate crusaders was the recent proclamation by a UK supermarket company announcing it would usher in `carbon friendly' policies and stop importing food from faraway nations. As a February 21, 2007 BBC report found:

"Kenyan farmers, whose lifelong carbon emissions are negligible compared with their counterparts in the West, are fast becoming the victims of a green campaign that could threaten their livelihoods."

We need to consider what Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg discovered: diverting precious resources to solve a so called "climate crisis" is not in the best interests of the developing worlds poor. `Solutions' to global warming may be much worse than the feared problem."

Next, let me discuss someone who the media frequently cites in an attempt to show evangelicals are moving toward the side of global warming activism - Rev. Richard Cizik, a global warming alarmist. A 2006 Vanity Fair Magazine article had Cizik posing for a picture where he was walking on water dressed like Jesus. Cizik shares the beliefs of liberals on the issue of population control. In a May 2006 speech to the World Bank, he told the audience, "I'd like to take on the population issue. We need to confront population control and we can-we're not Roman Catholics after all-but it's too hot to handle now." In short, Cizik does not represent the views of most evangelicals.

My final thoughts are about biblical perspectives. While I read the Bible, I do not pretend to be a scholar. But I have read what has been written by some scholars on the topic of man's relation to creation and what stewardship means from a biblical perspective. I would like at this time to introduce for the record the Cornwall Declaration, which I think provides a biblically based interpretation of God's calling to us to be stewards.

We should respect creation and be wise stewards, but we must be careful not to fall into the trap of secular environmentalists who believe that man is an afterthought on this Earth who is principally a polluter. Rather, we are made in God's image and should use the resources God has given us. I'll leave you with a final thought from Romans 1:25 "They gave up the truth about God for a lie, and they worshiped God's creation instead of God who will be praised forever. Amen."


China gets real about biofuel nonsense

China’s communist rulers announced a moratorium on the production of ethanol from corn and other food crops yesterday at the very time that Western leaders are rushing to embrace alternative food-based fuel technology. Beijing’s move underlines concerns that ethanol production is driving up rapidly the costs of corn and grain. It appears to reflect a growing reality about food-based alternative fuel: it is far more expensive both economically and environmentally, than Western politicians are likely to admit.

Calls for biofuels are politically attractive for European and US politicians, amid rising petrol prices and concerns about global warming and an overreliance on Middle Eastern oil.

Communist officials in Beijing, however, who do not have the political concerns of democratically elected leaders in the West, have reacted to a rapid rise in food prices and an intense demand on farm land that threatens to make ethanol production unsustainable.

President Bush, who with Britain wants to see a huge increase in corn-based ethanol, called in January for the annual production of 35 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol in the US. Although that is a hugely popular rhetoric in the Mid-west wheat belt states — the heart of America’s political battleground — environmentalists soon pointed out that such a goal would require an additional 129,000 square miles of farmland, an area the size of Kansas and Iowa combined.

The rush to corn-based ethanol is causing food-price inflation in the US, as it increases the cost of corn grain feedstock and the availability of the crop for such staples as cereal and corn syrup. The ethanol boom has created mass planting of corn at the expense of other crops, which helps to drive up prices, too. Futures prices for corn in the US have nearly doubled in eight months.

In China grain security has for decades been at the top of the party’s political priority list, and a 43 per cent increase in the price of China’s staple meat — pork — over last year to recent record highs as a result of rapidly rising feed prices is certain to have triggered concern at the highest level of the party. Xu Dingming, an official of the National Energy Leading Group, told a recent seminar: “Food-based ethanol fuel will not be the direction for China.”



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


1 comment:

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