AuthorTopic: Lines in the Sand: CO2 and The Pipeline  (Read 4341 times)

Offline g

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Lines in the Sand: CO2 and The Pipeline
« on: May 26, 2013, 05:39:04 AM »

 

A lot of what’s known about carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can be traced back to a chemist named Charles David Keeling, who, in 1958, persuaded the U.S. Weather Bureau to install a set of monitoring devices at its Mauna Loa observatory, on the island of Hawaii. By the nineteen-fifties, it was well understood that, thanks to the burning of fossil fuels, humans were adding vast amounts of carbon to the air. But the prevailing view was that this wouldn’t much matter, since the oceans would suck most of it out again. Keeling thought that it would be prudent to find out if that was, in fact, the case. The setup on Mauna Loa soon showed that it was not.

Carbon-dioxide levels have been monitored at the observatory ever since, and they’ve exhibited a pattern that started out as terrifying and may be now described as terrifyingly predictable. They have increased every year, and earlier this month they reached the milestone of four hundred parts per million. No one knows exactly when CO2 levels were last this high; the best guess is the mid-Pliocene, about three million years ago. At that point, summertime temperatures in the Arctic were fourteen degrees warmer than they are now and sea levels were some seventy-five feet higher.

When the milestone was passed, Keeling’s son Ralph, a geochemist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, glossed the event as follows: “It means we are quickly losing the possibility of keeping the climate below what people thought were possibly tolerable thresholds.” Maureen Raymo, a marine geologist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, was more blunt. “It feels like the inevitable march toward disaster,” she told the Times.

President Obama will make a decision in the next few months—unless he puts it off again, as he did in 2011—about whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. The question before him is whether it’s in the “national interest” to grant the permits needed for constructing Keystone, which is supposed to dogleg from Alberta to Nebraska, and join a pipeline that will extend to Texas, connecting Canada’s tar-sands deposits with American refineries. The latest figures from Mauna Loa reveal what’s at stake.

Last week, as the President was otherwise engaged—with the uproar over the I.R.S., the Justice Department’s subpoena of phone records from the Associated Press, and the e-mails about the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi—lobbying for the pipeline reached a new level of intensity. At the start of the week, the Canadian government launched an ad campaign to build support for the pipeline in the U.S. One ad, featuring construction workers fitting sections of pipe, says, “America and Canada: Standing together for energy independence.” Although the Canadians have not released the cost of the campaign, the Globe and Mail reported that Canada’s natural-resources department has set aside more than sixteen million dollars for advertising this year. (Canada’s natural-resources minister, Joe Oliver, recently travelled to France and England to push the tar sands; he ended up threatening the European Union, which is considering labelling tar-sands oil as “highly polluting,” with taking the case to the World Trade Organization.) Then, at the end of the week, Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, came to New York to make the pitch himself. “All the facts are overwhelmingly on the side of approval,” he said, at the Council on Foreign Relations. With a touch of menace, he added, “I know the Administration will do a thorough analysis before arriving at the right decision.”

The arguments in favor of Keystone run more or less like this: Americans use a lot of oil—more than eighteen million barrels per day. It has to come from somewhere, and Canada is a more reliable trading partner than, say, Iraq. The U.S. already imports roughly a million barrels of Canadian tar-sands oil a day, and if it doesn’t import the rest some other country will. “It’s overwhelmingly likely the oil would find another way to market,” USA Today observed in a recent editorial. For instance, a pipeline could be built to British Columbia, and the oil shipped from there to China, though there are many political and logistic barriers to such a plan—among them the Canadian Rockies.

If the arguments in favor of Keystone are persuasive, those against it are even stronger. Tar-sands oil is not really oil, at least not in the conventional sense of the word. It starts out as semi-solid and has to be either mined or literally melted out of the ground. In either case, the process requires energy, which is provided by burning fossil fuels. The result is that, for every barrel of tar-sands oil that’s extracted, significantly more carbon dioxide enters the air than for every barrel of ordinary crude—between twelve and twenty-three per cent more.

Alberta’s tar sands contain an estimated 1.7 trillion barrels of oil. Assuming that only a tenth of that is recoverable, it’s still enough to generate something like twenty-two billion metric tons of carbon. There are, it should be noted, plenty of other ways to produce twenty-two billion metric tons of carbon. Consuming about a seventh of the world’s remaining accessible reserves of conventional oil would do it, as would combusting even a small fraction of the world’s remaining coal deposits. Which is just the point.

Were we to burn through all known fossil-fuel reserves, the results would be unimaginably bleak: major cities would be flooded out, a large portion of the world’s arable land would be transformed into deserts, and the oceans would be turned into liquid dead zones. If we take the future at all seriously, which is to say as a time period that someone is going to have to live in, then we need to leave a big percentage of the planet’s coal and oil and natural gas in the ground. These basic facts have been established for decades, and every President since George Bush senior has vowed to do something to avert catastrophe. The numbers from Mauna Loa show that they have failed.

In rejecting Keystone, President Obama would not solve the underlying problem, which, as pipeline proponents correctly point out, is consumption. Nor would he halt exploitation of the tar sands. But he would put a brake on the process. After all, if getting tar-sands oil to China were easy, the Canadians wouldn’t be applying so much pressure on the White House. Once Keystone is built, there will be no putting the tar back in the sands. The pipeline isn’t inevitable, and it shouldn’t be treated as such. It’s just another step on the march to disaster. ♦
www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2013/05/27/130527taco_talk_kolbert?printable=true&currentPage=all  :icon_study:

Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: Lines in the Sand: CO2 and The Pipeline
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2013, 09:27:22 AM »
"In rejecting Keystone, President Obama would not solve the underlying problem, which, as pipeline proponents correctly point out, is consumption."

Obama was not elected to solve underlying problems. I find it astonishing anyone is naive enough to even think such things nowadays.
Excuse me, I disagree wholeheartedly.  I think Obama was "elected" to solve "underlying problems", namely to reduce the consumption of the "useless eaters", i.e., people who aren't contributing to the wealth of the elite, a goal towards which he has made very admirable progress. 
Making pigs fly is easy... that is, of course, after you have built the catapult....

Online JRM

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Re: Lines in the Sand: CO2 and The Pipeline
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2014, 02:57:13 PM »
Report May Ease Way to Approval of Keystone Pipeline

By CORAL DAVENPORTJAN. 31, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/01/us/politics/report-may-ease-way-to-approval-of-keystone-pipeline.html


7 Facts That Weren’t In The New State Department Report On Keystone XL


http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/01/31/3231991/keystone-national/
« Last Edit: January 31, 2014, 03:07:21 PM by JRM »
My "avatar" graphic is Japanese calligraphy (shodō) forming the word shoshin, meaning "beginner's mind". --  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin -- It is with shoshin that I am now and always "meeting my breath" for the first time. Try it!

Online JRM

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Re: Lines in the Sand: CO2 and The Pipeline
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2014, 12:59:27 PM »
No More Keystone Excuses
Obama's choice: the green 1% or new and well-paying union jobs.
Wall Street Journal
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303973704579355141724229398?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303973704579355141724229398.html


Can you even count the errors of fact there?
« Last Edit: February 02, 2014, 01:04:23 PM by JRM »
My "avatar" graphic is Japanese calligraphy (shodō) forming the word shoshin, meaning "beginner's mind". --  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin -- It is with shoshin that I am now and always "meeting my breath" for the first time. Try it!

Offline Petty Tyrant

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Re: Lines in the Sand: CO2 and The Pipeline
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2014, 04:40:00 PM »
Kng
Have you turned over a new leaf or did someone at the halfway house hack your account?  :o I agree with most of what you said, I disagree that for the vast bulk of people we can adapt like previously in history or pre-history. There was always somewhere else to go and plenty more resources to extract before, not any more.
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Offline agelbert

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Re: Lines in the Sand: CO2 and The Pipeline
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2014, 05:11:54 PM »
Quote
And such things could happen even if no further carbon is created, undoubtedly Guy could point out (as I believe others already have) that enough CO2 has been pumped out to cause feedbacks right on through the rest of this century.

It strikes me then that the question is, if in fact temperature is increasing in the near term (rather than the long term trend of decreasing), and it makes no difference in CONSEQUENCE as to whether or not we emit CO2, then
why would we NOT emit CO2

Because, as a High official in the U.S. Navy said recently, the concentration of alcohol in a human being is analogous to our welfare WITH THAT OF CO2 in the atmosphere. I.E. the ppm in rise in blood Alcohol percentage needed for a human to go from cold sober and in total possession of his senses to so drunk he cannot coordinate activities properly (and condemned to dehydration and liver failure if he continues inebriated 24/7), is LESS of rise than the one we a have already experienced in CO2 ppm. This is the part the GW deniers cannot get their heads around when they misleadingly claim that CO2 is "not a pollutant". The issue is ppm concentration. In living systems that exhale CO2, it is a source for plants to build sugars. But a machine that produces CO2 puts it out on a scale that dwarfs living systems by several orders of magnitude. A car can put out more CO2 in ONE HOUR than you can in your entire life. I consider that rather significant.

The continued GROWTH of the PPMs of CO2 will GUARANTEE that your last assumption will certainly NOT take place because the damage to the climate is not steady state (it is parabolic to exponential matching the ppm s of CO2 rise - look at the charts!).

Quote
if it continues to create the kind of economic activity humans have grown familiar with and have enjoyed over the past century or two?   

Sorry, that cannot happen. MORE CO2 means LESS economic activity and an increasingly  severe diminished return from fossil fuel capital investments.

Not that you will listen, but we HAVE to go all the way back to 350 ppm before things will even begin to improve. And that may take more than a century. To say, well, what the fuck, we are toast anyway so let's burn some more totally negates the accelerated damage guaranteed from the accelerated CO2 concentration, PERIOD.
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
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Offline WHD

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Re: Lines in the Sand: CO2 and The Pipeline
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2014, 11:32:58 PM »
But a machine that produces CO2 puts it out on a scale that dwarfs living systems by several orders of magnitude. A car can put out more CO2 in ONE HOUR than you can in your entire life. I consider that rather significant.

The quote claims that 12-23% is significant. Nothing compared to your example, just as your example isn't much compared to the natural processes of the planet itself.

Quote from: agelbert
The continued GROWTH of the PPMs of CO2 will GUARANTEE that your last assumption will certainly NOT take place because the damage to the climate is not steady state (it is parabolic to exponential matching the ppm s of CO2 rise - look at the charts!).

There are many charts, including those showing the planet happily functioning at CO2 PPM's orders of magnitude higher than today. I realize that all us humans might be unhappy about the consequences of change, be it past warming, past cooling, current warming, whatever, but it is fortunate then that the planet doesn't give a crap. It has been there, done that, and has the t-shirt. Don't know why YOU might want to get all excited about it, humans have done what they have done, and you are just as much a part of it as the rest of us.

Each of us a CO2 emitting biologic just as the Azolla was a co2 adsorbent, it certainly changing the planet's climate, us still debating it.

Quote from: agelbert
Quote
if it continues to create the kind of economic activity humans have grown familiar with and have enjoyed over the past century or two?   

Sorry, that cannot happen. MORE CO2 means LESS economic activity and an increasingly  severe diminished return from fossil fuel capital investments.

Claiming is easy, proving, not as much. Look at the charts, CO2 has been increasing since the year the measurements began and certainly we aren't seeing less economic  activity over that period of time, and fossil fuel capital investments have been doing pretty good as of late, or haven't you noticed rates of return on the average Marcellus well?

Quote from: agelbert
[/b][/i][/color]Not that you will listen, but we HAVE to go all the way back to 350 ppm before things will even begin to improve.

Improve what? Things HAVE improved, right along with the warmth coming out of the LIA. Why would anyone want the lifespan, disease and lifestyle of living in a London slum at low CO2 levels compared to what the same folks live like today?

Quote from: agelbert
And that may take more than a century. To say, well, what the fuck, we are toast anyway so let's burn some more totally negates the accelerated damage guaranteed from the accelerated CO2 concentration, PERIOD.

Maybe it will take a century. Maybe it doesn't matter and the overall cooling trend will continue on its merry way without even noticing the pesky biologics not yet as powerful as the Azolla. Maybe the next Kyoto will work, maybe the transition to a natural gas powered world will naturally balance out increased human needs for power generation with lower emissions just as the US has done, maybe the full scale development of tight and shale resources around the world will shower everyone else with the same benefits it has the US.

In either case, certainty is a fools game when rolling dice, until people realize how little they actually know about many of these systems, most will just trumpet proclamations past each other, while those who understand the uncertainties involved will continue to work the problem, balancing cost against benefit, changing supply and demand curves until their cross over point maximizes one and minimizes the other.

See how easy this is when you are civil?

WHD

Offline WHD

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Re: Lines in the Sand: CO2 and The Pipeline
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2014, 07:50:29 AM »

See how easy this is when you are civil?

WHD

Define "civil". The utilization of court documents to outline a picture of "honor and integrity" contrary to polar opinion appears to have been the trigger for censorship last time, civility only entered in because those documents didn't cast "honor and integrity" in a positive light.

There is a discussion on honor and integrity, and then there is slash and burn rampage character assassination, mockery and uncontrolled contemptuousness. Civil would be the former.

WHD

Offline Petty Tyrant

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Re: Lines in the Sand: CO2 and The Pipeline
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2014, 03:07:20 PM »

There is a discussion on honor and integrity, and then there is slash and burn rampage character assassination, mockery and uncontrolled contemptuousness. Civil would be the former.

WHD

Good thing I used court documents for references then, them not usually being the place for the non-civility as you define it. Judges and arbitrators and such don't usually allow such things, and certainly the referenced documents fit that pattern pretty well.

So theres been an allegation of Ruppert in a court, was he found guilty? Dont be like this boy...
Little Boy Gets Caught Twerking In His Room!
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Offline WHD

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Re: Lines in the Sand: CO2 and The Pipeline
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2014, 12:31:07 AM »
Quote
Quote from: Golden Oxen

    In rejecting Keystone, President Obama would not solve the underlying problem, which, as pipeline proponents correctly point out, is consumption.

MKing:
Quote
Consumption isn't the problem. Envy and avarice are. Consumption is just a symptom.

Consumption is a symptom of envy and avarice? So no one consumes any fossil fuels except out of envy and avarice? That sounds like a rich man talking about those poor people who would be rich like him if they weren't so envious of him, and such haters (and otherwise less than.)

A lot of people consume fossil fuels because they have to. Because building codes and urban planning have long suckled at fossil fuel tits. Because conservatives like yourself have treated mass transit like some kind of commie conspiracy. Because for most people, if you don't burn fossil fuels you get ground up in this economy like so much meat. 

My consumption of fossil fuels is certainly not a symptom of envy or avarice. It is more like a necessity I cannot escape for lack of sufficient cash flow.

Quote
I'm guessing that we will take a human talent, adaptability, and just as adapted to a warming world 10-15 thousand years ago, we will do the same in the future.

Some of us will. Many of us won't, fossil fuels having weakened us compared to our paleolithic ancestors. Adaptability is not exclusive to humans, btw, suburbanite.

WHD

 
« Last Edit: February 04, 2014, 12:36:33 AM by WHD »

Offline WHD

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Re: Lines in the Sand: CO2 and The Pipeline
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2014, 07:13:01 AM »
Quote
Consumption isn't the problem. Envy and avarice are. Consumption is just a symptom.

Consumption is a symptom of envy and avarice? So no one consumes any fossil fuels except out of envy and avarice?

Pretty much. One day someone came along with a gallon of fuel to light their home. Being natural white gasoline, it burned clean and nice, giving off a decent glow of warmth and light. The next farm over noticed one afternoon, and decided that they too must have this wonderful delight.

And thus it began…right up through monster trucks, racing boats and jet skis, road trips to grandmas house, the works. It just isn't good enough for most folks to walk, bicycle or hope that their destination has a livery for their horses when they arrive. They covet the same advantage that liquid fuels have bestowed on their neighbors.

I don't have a monster truck, racing boat or jet ski. Nor does anyone I associate with.

Quote from: WHD
A lot of people consume fossil fuels because they have to.

once upon a time…they didn't have to. I recommend thinking more about how to do that, then pretending that just because folks have grown spoiled from the "olden days" that the spoiling can only continue.

Do you have any idea where you are writing this?

Quote from: WHD
My consumption of fossil fuels is certainly not a symptom of envy or avarice.

Sure it is. You choose not to walk, or use a horse, or bicycle. You want to be efficient like others around you, if you were forced into walking or a bicycle you would scream bloody murder to consumer just like everyone around you. It is human nature. Heck, you do it so naturally it doesn't even BOTHER you, you can't even imagine a world where you can't jump into your cage and rocket around in a rush, as you have been taught.

Blockhead. How many times have we been through this? I rode a bike for FIVE YEARS before I took my current employment.

I recommend thinking different. At first, use less. Get rid of that fracked natural gas dependency you have, or at least use far less. Then apply the same philosophy of less to liquid fuels. I know, it isn't easy, certainly wasn't for me, but the freedom of using less leads to the desire to use even less, and less, until…one day….maybe big chunks of us can use none.

Double blockhead. I have lived whole seasons in the wilderness. I have lived whole seasons in the city Off The Grid.

Just ask Agelbert, he's got it right (except for bashing the industry he depends on like everyone else), the ideas are there, people just can't SEE them, they can't imagine change, which is the core of the problem really.

Quote from: WHD
Quote
I'm guessing that we will take a human talent, adaptability, and just as adapted to a warming world 10-15 thousand years ago, we will do the same in the future.

Some of us will. Many of us won't, fossil fuels having weakened us compared to our paleolithic ancestors. Adaptability is not exclusive to humans, btw, suburbanite.

WHD

Some of us already HAVE, including us ex-farm folk who are now suburbanites and realizing…hey…this is a pretty good living configuration for not using those precious liquid fuels for things so silly as moving Johnny to Little League, going to the movies, or even commuting to work.

I drive through the suburbs every day. The suburbs are not a good living arrangement for anyone but those who think oil will flow for all eternity.

I realize that teaching an old dog new tricks is a problem, fortunately with enough chemical feedstock for liquid fuels for the rest of this century, we can allow generational change to work to our advantage here. Even Shell can see it coming, although they seem to advocate more generations than I think are necessary for all the old dogs to die and be replaced by the children who aren't so enamored with putting stinky, icky liquids in our fuel tanks instead of much better stuff.

See ya later ICE!!

Hey RE, where is that pic of that unicorn shitting skittles? Wait...



s.com/news/1088044_when-will-the-last-gasoline-car-be-built-2070-shell-oil-says

Offline WHD

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Re: Lines in the Sand: CO2 and The Pipeline
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2014, 08:26:12 PM »

See ya later ICE!!

Quote from: WHD


 A pinch of wind, a splash of sunlight, perhaps an occasional CH4 molecule? Peak oil solutions have been raining down on America for years now, no unicorn required.




I wonder how many fossil fuels it will take to make all them solar panels and that car, 55 years from now? Or how much lithium there will be left, for those fat batteries to hold all that sunlight? Supposing we keep the cornucopian trajectory, and are 10 billion then, everybody and their mother driving?

Nice vineyard, btw. My guess is, it's ten times as big as that pic, to pay for all that fancy.

WHD
« Last Edit: February 05, 2014, 08:31:46 PM by WHD »

Online JRM

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Re: Lines in the Sand: CO2 and The Pipeline
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2014, 11:59:28 AM »
Book:

"The Burning Question reveals climate change to be the most fascinating scientific, political and social puzzle in history. It shows that carbon emissions are still accelerating upwards, following an exponential curve that goes back centuries. The solutions we assume will help aren’t working, because saving energy is like squeezing a balloon: reductions in one place lead to increases elsewhere. Even clean energy technologies don’t in themselves slow the rate of fossil fuel extraction.

The simple truth is that tackling global warming will mean persuading the world to abandon oil, coal and gas reserves worth many trillions of dollars – at least until we have the means to put carbon back in the ground. The burning question is whether that can be done. What mix of politics, psychology, economics and technology might be required? Are the energy companies massively overvalued, and how will carbon- cuts affect the global economy? Will we wake up to the threat in time? And who can do what to make it all happen?

Fascinating, candid and wide-ranging, here at last is a book that makes sense of the biggest challenge of the century."



website: http://www.burningquestion.info/

review: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/may/31/burning-question-berners-lee-review
« Last Edit: February 12, 2014, 12:09:10 PM by JRM »
My "avatar" graphic is Japanese calligraphy (shodō) forming the word shoshin, meaning "beginner's mind". --  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin -- It is with shoshin that I am now and always "meeting my breath" for the first time. Try it!

Online JRM

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Re: Lines in the Sand: CO2 and The Pipeline
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2014, 12:04:54 PM »
Lester Brown on Why We Must Cut Carbon Emissions 80% by 2020

Lester Brown on Why We Must Cut Carbon Emissions 80% by 2020
My "avatar" graphic is Japanese calligraphy (shodō) forming the word shoshin, meaning "beginner's mind". --  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin -- It is with shoshin that I am now and always "meeting my breath" for the first time. Try it!

Offline roamer

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Re: Lines in the Sand: CO2 and The Pipeline
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2014, 12:06:26 PM »


LOL that picture just about sums up the publics attitude and understanding towards energy better than any. 

 

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