The Week That Was
May 18, 2002

2. SEPP CLIMATE WORKSHOP MAKES TWO IMPORTANT RECOMMENDATIONS:(1) Set up a TEAM-B group of scientists to produce new Summary of the IPCC report, using the same facts. (2) Develop a prioritized list of research issues to fill in the gaps in the IPCC report.


4. U.S. WIND POWER OUTLOOK HITS DANISH TURBINE MAKERS. Without a substantial tax credit, wind power won't fly.

5. FEW AMERICANS UNDERSTAND SCIENCE: National Science Foundation survey


7. This just in: CANADA MAY BE OUT (OF KYOTO)


2. President George Bush, in rejecting the Kyoto Protocol, cited uncertainties in the science. An International Climate Workshop (ICW of May 12, 2002) organized by SEPP makes two recommendations to advance the science:

(1) The government should set up an independent scientific panel ("Team-B") to produce a new "Summary for Policymakers" (SPM) based on the current IPCC report. SEPP-ICW considers the present SPM to be slanted; it summarizes the report selectively in order to claim definitive evidence for a human-caused climate warming.

(2) The IPCC report itself contains gaps in the relevant science and also leaves important scientific questions unresolved. For example: Why do some surface data indicate a current warming while most other data do not? Is the 20th century really the warmest in 1000 years? Or in 3000 years? Or since the end of the last ice age? Do clouds and water vapor amplify or offset the greenhouse effects of carbon dioxide?


3. Los Alamos thinks that sequestration of atmospheric CO2 is feasible.

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., April 9, 2002 -- Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory are studying a simple method for extracting carbon dioxide directly from the air -- which could allow sustained use of fossil fuels while avoiding potential global climate change. It is claimed to be cost effective.

The method would allow researchers to harvest carbon dioxide from the air, reducing buildup of the so-called "greenhouse gas" in the atmosphere and allowing it to be converted into fuel. A Los Alamos-led research team presented the topic at the 223rd annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Orlando, Fla.

"Fossil fuel supplies are plentiful, and what will limit the usage of fossil fuels is the potential climatic and ecosystem changes you may see as a result of rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere," said Los Alamos researcher Manvendra Dubey. "If you can capture atmospheric carbon dioxide, then you limit the environmental impact of fossil fuels and you can continue to use them. We have come up with a way to capture and sequester the carbon dioxide that we are putting in the atmosphere. Our approach is particularly well suited to capturing CO2 from numerous small sources such as automobiles that are largely being ignored."

While many scientists are working on capturing or sequestering carbon, Dubey and his colleagues' method differs because it works on a dilute stream of CO2 in the atmosphere as opposed to capturing more concentrated forms found in power plant exhausts. The method uses ordinary air with its average carbon dioxide concentration of about 370 parts per million.

It utilizes the wind and natural atmospheric mixing to transport CO2 to a removal site, and it is the only means available to capture CO2 generated from transportation sources and small, dispersed sources that account for nearly half of all carbon dioxide emissions.

The air is passed over an extraction agent, for example a solution of quicklime, the active agent in some cement. As the air passes over the extraction structure, the carbon dioxide in the air reacts with the quicklime and becomes converted to calcium carbonate (limestone), a solid that forms and falls to the bottom of the extractor.

The calcium carbonate is then heated to yield pure carbon dioxide and quicklime, which is recycled back into the extractor. The purified and liberated carbon dioxide can then be sequestered as a gas by direct injection into the ground or it could be reacted with minerals to form a solid. Carbon dioxide gas also can be sold commercially to the petrochemical industry, which uses large quantities of it to extract fossil fuels. Of course, because the process uses existing air, it does not need to be located near any particular elevated source of carbon dioxide. It captures carbon dioxide from all sources by harnessing wind as a no-cost transportation vector.

SEPP comment: Who pays for recycling the calcium carbonate?


4. American Wind Energy Association cuts its optimistic estimates

COPENHAGEN, May 2 (Reuters) - The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said on Thursday installed wind power capacity in the U.S. would total around 20,000 megawatts by 2010, significantly below most analysts' estimates.

The news deflated shares in Danish wind turbine manufacturers NEG Micon <NEG.CO> and Vestas <VEST.CO>, which have risen sharply in recent weeks on expectations of strong demand for wind power in the U.S.

"We have only a rough guess of 20,000 megawatt of installed wind capacity in the U.S. by 2010," AWEA Deputy Executive Director Tom Gray told Reuters.

Analysts had expected industry capacity to grow to between 40,000 and 80,000 installed megawatts by 2010. Wind turbines generating some 4,000 megawatts had been installed in the U.S. by the end of 2001.

PS. The two stocks had risen more than 10 percent since an energy "reform" passed in the U.S. Senate included a five-year extension of the wind energy production tax credit, an important factor in financing new wind power installations.


5. Americans believe in Global warming, astrology, UFOs…

Results from a nationwide survey conducted by the National Science Foundation show that few Americans understand the scientific process and many believe in pseudoscience and may be quick to accept phony science reports. As reported by the Associated Press, most Americans believe global warming is a real and serious problem, and are fairly evenly divided on issues such as cloning, and genetic engineering. However, 60 percent believed that some people possess psychic powers, 40 percent believe in astrology, and 30 percent believe in UFOs.


6. EXCERPTS FROM THE DIARY OF RA, just discovered by an Australian nuclear physicist. For previous adventures of the god RA see:

A random collision with Sir Ernest Rutherford's ghost this morning. He is so infinitesimal I couldn't say exactly where it happened. Uncertainty principle, you know. But I do know how fast he becomes a bohr when he starts going on about the transformation of matter.

So I told him what he did was elementary! Ha! I know how to make fact out of fiction! It's called IPCC - Inventing Preposterous Climate Catastrophes. You shove the facts into its rear end (the Report) where no one wants to look. The Technical Summary turns them into gobbledygook. Then the Summary for Policymakers says the gobbledygook is uncertain, but the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse might be saddling up right now. The final stage (called the What's On) orbits the globe saying we'll all burn if we don't subsidise his wind power.

I tell the Four Horsemen I've got a job for them. It's a long-running series called Bonanza. They'll ride roughshod over the truth for 15 years in search of MacArthur Genius grants. And they'll get them too, as long as they stay on the trail.

Was ist Mir los?

What is the matter with Me? What is the matter with the Earth? It's pulling my "What's On" out of orbit. He's losing his pressure and his sensors can't even find global warming any more. He's crashing towards somewhere in … India? I guess it's Tata…

Rescue mission

I immediately launch another IPCC satellite. Oh no! I see he's an engineer and an economist, and from a developing country. I only hope he has the integrity to keep propounding my Gospel. I remind him that burning dung and sticks for fuel is good for the earth, because they are endlessly renewable. And I should know: I have been using both for years, and I have never run out!

But instead of linking up with What's On, my new IPCC satellite flies right past him. What's next? What does he really believe in? I Shiva to think…


7. CANADA'S CLIMATE CHANGE " DISCUSSION PAPER" released on May 14 includes the following statement:

"Following consultations based on this document, a preferred approach will be identified and a draft plan developed in greater detail and analyzed over the summer. Consultations on that plan will take place in the fall."

This implies that Canada will not ratify in time for Rio 10 in Jo-burg in late August. This probably means that Kyoto will not go into force in Jo-burg, according to energy analyst David Wojick.



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