De-carbonize or Die

-by Frank Jeffers-

Carbon dioxide induces global warming and threatens life on our planet.  The 'Keeling Curve' is the gold standard CO2 measurement, obtained from the air on a high mountain in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, isolated from contaminating influences. CO2 has been tracked there for 70 years and an inexorable rise has been recorded until it is now over 400 ppm on that mountain, nearly 50% higher than 70 years ago. (It might be 2000 parts per million in a movie theater or a classroom, with toxic effects.) Increased CO2 and warmth have had a destabilizing effect on forest growth and mortality.  Since the Industrial Revolution, the United States has been the major contributor to CO2 pollution.

     The curve is interesting for what it tells us and also what it doesn't tell us. CO2 is actually a fairly mild warming gas but there's so much of it. Methane is 85 times as potent but there's less of it. It's the better choice for global warming if carbon shows up as CO2 rather than CH4. 
Interestingly, CO2 goes down every year slightly in the Northern hemisphere summer as plants take it up but back up by a greater amount from plant respiration, biomass rot, and fossil fuel use. Much of the absorption and release is due to grasses, not trees. The deadly march toward climate extinction resumes in the winter months.  The yearly increase is CO2 due to fossil fuel use, with the United States by far the largest polluter and The European Union the second biggest contributor.
    Despite irrefutable evidence of a looming catastrophe, Americans, at least at the national level, are heading in the wrong direction.  President Biden is urging the world’s largest oil producers to pump more of the fossil fuels that are warming the planet. 
     Ways have to be found to reduce fossil fuel use, likely in a process of Green Degrowth of the economy, which means more efficient use of available resources. For instance, in the normal carbon cycle on which all life is based biomass can be intercepted and used before it converts to methane. Suitable regulation will have to be created around this process.
     Massachusetts now has a law in place to find the best way to combat global warming. This necessarily involves the storage of energy from many sources to match erratic supply with chaotic demand. Using unstorable excesses of electricity for extracting hydrogen from water seems a necessary step- but how to make it usable by the public at large? Carbon capture and reuse (CCR) seems far more viable for hydrogen energy storage than spending trillions on batteries and is far more user-friendly.
     The Massachusetts law establishes a commission to determine the best path toward energy storage, necessary for global warming solutions. Fortunately, Green Party has a scientifically educated candidate for State Auditor, Gloria Roca, whose job it will be to see this decision isn't gamed so Massachusetts residents aren't indebted forever for a bill of goods on global warming solutions. GRP_Logo_LEAF_20.png

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  • Jack Swindlehurst
    published this page in News 2022-10-06 12:00:39 -0400