A modest proposal for sequestration of CO2 in the Antarctic

*** SEE UPDATE AT END OF POST

This is the most interesting idea I’ve encountered in awhile.

CO2 Snow Deposition in Antarctica to Curtail Anthropogenic Global Warming

Ernest Agee, Andrea Orton and John Rogers

A scientific plan is presented that proposes the construction of CO2 deposition plants in the Antarctic for removing CO2 gas from the Earth’s atmosphere. The Antarctic continent offers the best environment on Earth for CO2 deposition at 1 bar of pressure, and temperatures closest 26 to that required for terrestrial air CO2 snow deposition, 133K. This plan consists of several components, including: (a) air chemistry and CO2 snow deposition, (b) the deposition plant and  a closed-loop liquid nitrogen refrigeration cycle, (c) the mass storage landfill, (d) power plant  requirements, (e) prevention of dry ice sublimation and (f) disposal (or use) of thermal waste.  Calculations demonstrate that this project is worthy of consideration, whereby 446 deposition plants supported by 16 1200-MW wind farms can remove 1 B tons (1012 kg) of CO2 annually (a 32 reduction of 0.5 ppmv), which can be stored in an equivalent “landfill” volume of 2 km x 2 km x 33 160 m (insulated to prevent dry ice sublimation).

The individual deposition plant, with a 100m x 100m x 100m refrigeration chamber,  would produce approximately 0.4m of CO2 snow per day. The solid CO2 would be excavated into a 380m x 380m x 10m insulated landfill, that would allow one year of storage amounting to 37 0.00224B tons of carbon. Demonstrated success of a prototype system in the Antarctic would be  followed by a complete installation of all 446 plants for CO2 snow deposition and storage  (amounting to 1B tons annually), with wind farms positioned in favorable coastal regions with 40 katabatic wind currents. 

This paper is in press at the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology [link to abstract, full paper] which is behind paywall.  Ernie Agee has given me permission to to post the final version of the manuscript [CO2_Snow_Deposition].  Please abide by the AMS copyright guidelines.

From the Introduction:

NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions have revealed the presence of a  CO2 ice cap on Mars’ South Pole, which is annually subjected to deposition and  sublimation. The presence of this CO2 ice cap triggered the idea to consider the possibility of  terrestrial air CO2 deposition at the Earth’s South Pole, considering that this is the coldest location on Earth and the energy required to sequester CO2 from the atmosphere (and to maintain  insulated storage) might be within the scope of reality. A depositional plant constructed on Antarctica could conceivably pull air into a refrigerated chamber, where sufficient cooling could  result in CO2 snow deposition. To pursue this idea, it is first noted that N2, O2 and Ar all would remain in the gas phase as terrestrial air CO2 is brought down to its depositional temperature.  Since the atmosphere is only 392 ppmv of CO2, the Clausius-Clapeyron Equation, in conjunction  with the CO2 vapor pressure curve, can be considered to calculate the atmosphere’s depositional temperature for CO2. Appendix I is presented to show that the relevant depositional temperature for terrestrial air CO2 snow is 133K, an achievable chilled temperature for the deposition plant. Alternatively, one could consider placing the ambient air under 10 bars of pressure, and the depositional temperature would increase to 152K. It is noteworthy that liquid N2 has a very high efficiency as a cooling agent at this depositional temperature (considering that pure N2 at 10  bars of pressure condenses at 105K). A more reasonable target for deposition is the use of liquid N2 at T = 120°K (under a pressure of P = 29.61 bars), within a closed loop vapor- compression refrigeration system. 

Regarding the selection of Antarctica:

The coldest surface air temperature ever measured on Earth was at the Vostok Station in  1983 , a reading of T = -89.2C (or 184K), which is reasonably close to CO2 snow  deposition temperature of 133K (1 bar) or 152K (10 bars). In fact, much of Antarctica has been getting colder  although the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is warming. The mean annual temperature of the Antarctic interior is approximately =  226K (-57C), and this continent will continue to be the most favored location for implementing  the proposed CO2 sequestration methodology. It is further noted that the vastness of the  Antarctic interior with multiple international scientific participation lends itself to  the global theme of this paper. The Antarctic Treaty provides a forum for international governance and  scientific cooperation. As discussed later in this paper, the construction of CO2 snow deposition  plants that are supported by wind farms, offer the opportunity for unique international expertise to join forces to develop the CO2 sequestration facilities that can substantially curtail the effects of anthropogenic GHG warming.

The components of the proposed facility are summarized here:

The components of the proposed Antarctic facility are illustrated in Figure 4, which  shows environmental air (A) entering the right side of the depositional chamber (B).  Refrigeration is powered by wind farms that drive a closed loop liquid N2 cooling facility. CO2  snow deposition, at rates of approximately 40 cm per day (falling to the bottom of a 100 m x 100 116 m x 100 m chamber), is excavated into the insulated dry ice landfill (D). Appendix II  shows the appropriate calculations and design criteria that would remove 1 B tons of CO2 per  year, which could be accomplished by approximately 16 1200-MW wind farms. An example of a wind farm that exists in Antarctica  can be found at http://www.antarcticanz.govt.nz/scott-base/ross-island-wind-energy. 

The refrigeration cycle and energy requirements for CO2 snow deposition are  based on a “Closed Loop Liquid-Vapor Cooling System.” Liquid nitrogen is the  refrigerant of choice and is effective at the required depositional temperature for CO2 in  terrestrial air. Current plans for a 45- 131 MW wind farm (15- 3MW towers) will run one prototype deposition plant. The wind farm should be designed to expand to 1200-MW to supply energy to 28 deposition plants. The CO2  snow landfill for this prototype plant will be 380m x 380m x 10m (for each year of CO2 snow  deposition).  [The snow deposition] chamber consists of a 100m x 100m x 100m cubical volume on four support pillars with reversible air intake and exhaust fans for the refrigeration process of the ambient air. The front  and back sides of this chamber will have embedded coils of liquid nitrogen coolant. The “floor”  of the depositional chamber will be allowed to open for excavation into an insulated CO2 landfill. The prototype system will process ambient air at a depositional rate of 0.4m of snow per 24-hour  operational day. This amount of solid CO2 can be stored in an insulated CO2 snow landfill that is 142 380m x 380m x 10m, which amounts to 0.00224B tons. The intake-exhaust fans will allow reversed air flow to permit the chamber to operate with the ambient wind direction . It is further noted that five insulated landfills (380m x 380m x 10m for each) will be constructed in a semicircle in  close proximity to each deposition plant to accommodate for five years of CO2 sequestration  (one landfill filled per year at each deposition plant).  [The landfills] will be insulated with polyisocyanurate (effective down to 93°K). Snow cat excavators will operate in  groups of five to move the dry ice rapidly into the insulated landfills. A partial vacuum or even refrigeration could be some alternative considerations for maintaining solid CO2.

JC comments:  Ok auditors and engineers, will this work?  Note this is a scientific concept paper, not a fully vetted engineering design.  The authors helpfully provide details of their calculations in appendices.

What are some unintended consequences of this, assuming that it works? The only one I can think of is this.  The development of of a CO2 ‘hole’ over Antarctica won’t really be a true ‘hole’ since carbon rich air will be advected into the region, supplying a continued source of CO2 for sequestration.  But on average, the CO2 concentration over Antarctica will be low.  This will have a cooling effect on the continent, while at the same time not necessarily diminishing snowfall too much at least in the coastal regions.  So this would probably be a positive effect.

Relative to other CO2 sequestration proposals that I have seen, this one doesn’t seem to have any negative consequences.  And if for some reason it was deemed desirable to return this CO2 to the atmosphere, this could easily be accomplished.

Moderation note:  this is a technical thread that will be moderated strictly for relevance and civility.  I hope to attract Ernie Agee here to join in the discussion.

UPDATE 9/18:

Judy –  I am attaching some comments, in response to
some of the criticism received on our paper.  Also, we are grateful for
the many positive comments and emails received, which are encouraging.
Feel free to post the attached on your blog.    Ernie

Rebuttal to some Blogosphere Comments on the CO2 Sequestration paper by Agee, Orton and Rogers
1. Folks working in the Antarctic have commented that 6 months is a more likely working window than the 12 months used in the calculations. (Ok, double the de-sublimation units.)
2. CO2 snow can be compacted into the landfills, and not simply placed in storage as loose snow. 3. Once CO2 has been formed at 133K, it can be maintained in storage at 195K. 4. Please note that 1200MW turbines are NOT being proposed (e.g.400 x 3MW wind farms). 5. Refrigeration units could be placed in a series to allow continuous discharge of CO2 snow.
6. Energy costs can be engineered down, and efficiency engineered up (above 20%). The concept is scientifically sound, and as stated, the engineering details were not provided.
7. Excess heat generated can be used to support more controlled environment facilities.
8. How does the CO2 get to the Antarctic? The same way it does now, and probably more so, as
a CO2 hole is created.
9. Steel becomes brittle at -130C (143K) and iron at -196C (77K). Again this is an engineering problem, and an appropriate alloy could be used.
10. Too expensive..! Compare the cost to the economic losses with continued global warming.
11. Confusion between 1B tons of Carbon and 1B tons of CO2 has been clarified in the galley proof.
12. A prototype facility should be planned and constructed in Antarctica asap. Given that the top 5
oil companies in the USA made $137B last year, it would be appropriate that they finance the effort.

 

544 responses to “A modest proposal for sequestration of CO2 in the Antarctic

  1. How the hell do you transport the CO2 to Antarctica in any practical and economic way?

    • The atmospheric circulation will continue to replenish the region with CO2 laden air

      • I.e., this is a natural process like the selective adsorption of heavy noble gases on surfaces of fine-grained sediments [Canalas et al, “Terrestrial abundance of noble gases,” Journal of Geophysical Research 73, 3331-3334 (1968)

        http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1968/JB073i010p03331.shtml

      • Nevertheless, sequestering CO2 (gaseous plant food) – when human population is at an all-time high – seems to be a very unsound policy.

      • I stand corrected. But see Rud Istvan | August 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm |. The alternative of sequestering CO2 in situ is even worse. Here in Canada we have diamond mines operating in the Arctic. To provide the personnel, workers are on the job for two weeks, and off for one. They are routinely flown out of the Arctic back to civilization. How on earth (not hell this time), are you possibly going to man some sort of commercial operation, at any sort of reasonable cost? Let alone all the other objections Rud has so eloquently outlined.

        I know Dr. Curry is very busy, and this must be the excuse for her posting such a nonsensical subject for us to discuss.

      • even if it costs 1 billion a year it’ll be worth it

      • lolwot, you write “even if it costs 1 billion a year it’ll be worth it.”

        What a ludicrous statement. First, there is not one scrap of empirical data to show that when you add CO2 to the atmopshere, it causes global temperatures to rise significantly. Zero, nada, zilch. Second, you have no idea whether this project could be done for as little as 1 billion dollars a year. No-one has ever attempted such an enormous project. The logistics of trying to maintain workers in Antarctica are absolutely horrific. We know a little of maintaining workers in the Arctic here in Canada. It can be done, but it is very expensive indeed. But the Arctic, here in Canada, is benign compared with the Antarctic.

        So let me see your estimate of how this could be done for as little as 1 billion dollars a year, and then let us discuss it again.

      • “First, there is not one scrap of empirical data to show that when you add CO2 to the atmopshere, it causes global temperatures to rise significantly.”

        I agree there isn’t one scrap. There’s =piles= of empirical data showing it.

        Also it might cost =less= than 1 billion.

      • claudiusdenk

        Show us. Don’t tell us.

      • lolwot, you write “I agree there isn’t one scrap. There’s =piles= of empirical data showing it.”

        Reference please. Just one will do; I dont need piles of them Show me a peer reviewed reference that proves that when you add CO2 to the atmosphere that this causes global temperatures to rise appreciably. And, please, none of the red herrings that Fan always produces. And also, please, a few words from the reference, with page and paragraph number, that claims that the empirical data exists. I hate going through references, only to find that what is claimed is there, is not there. Incidentally, I asked Pekka this same question, and he never produced any reference at all. I would also point out that if such a reference exists, it is a trivial matter to calculate total climate sensitivity, and if such a calculation exists, then CAGW is proven beyond all doubt.

        And yes, it MIGHT cost less than a billion dollars a year. And it might cost 100 billion dollars a year. Let us see the actual estimates.

      • You know them, you just deny them. Like a creationist denies the overwhelming empirical evidence for common ancestry of species.

        Your demand, like theirs, for a single paper that proves the theory is nothing but a strawman.

      • It is trivial (as in, first-year physics undergraduate trivial) to show that without the additional warming contribution from CO2, the Earth’s average temperature would be FAR lower than it is now. The physics of absorption and re-emission of infra-red radiation by CO2 is equally well-known. Your statements are akin to “Show me the peer-reviewed paper showing that this room will heat up when I turn this electric heater on”. You are making yourself look like an ignorant fool.

      • Also, your initial comment of “How the hell do you transport the CO2 to Antarctica…?” makes your glaring scientific illiteracy even clearer.

      • “The physics of absorption and re-emission of infra-red radiation by CO2 is equally well-known.”

        That’s only one part of the problem of the heat transfer at the Earth’s surface, where the non-radiative exchange is dominant (evaporation + convection). Far enough from the surface, the heat exchange is exclusively radiative. The problem is not solved.

      • Robert I Ellison

        I am sure I will regret this. The presence of water vapour and carbon dioxide in the system is not doubted – nor the interactions with IR. The question is whether trecent changes in CO2 have caused global warming. The planet has a particular system that includes both liquid oceans and greenhouse. As a non-linear system – and this is where eyes glaze over and I am accused of word salad by the ignorant and bombastic – the system is characterised by a preferred complex system state topology and abrupt transitions between these system states. Conceptually – small changes in conditions precipitate non-linear responses in the system and the system shifts into a ‘new’ state that is either warmer or cooler by amounts that, because of multiple negative and positive feedbacks, bear no linear relationships to the original control variable. This is simply a description of complex systems – of which climate is one.

        Weather has been known to be chaotic since Edward Lorenz discovered the ‘butterfly effect’ in the 1960’s. Abrupt climate change on the other hand was thought to have happened only in the distant past and so climate was expected to evolve steadily over this century in response to ordered climate forcing.

        More recent work is identifying abrupt climate changes working through the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Southern Annular Mode, the Artic Oscillation, the Indian Ocean Dipole and other measures of ocean and atmospheric states. These are measurements of sea surface temperature and atmospheric pressure over more than 100 years which show evidence for abrupt change to new climate conditions that persist for up to a few decades before shifting again. Global rainfall and flood records likewise show evidence for abrupt shifts and regimes that persist for decades. In Australia, less frequent flooding from early last century to the mid 1940’s, more frequent flooding to the late 1970’s and again a low rainfall regime to recent times.

        Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state.

        It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

        So the question as always is with what certainty one change on decadal timescales can be distinguished from others. Here the satellite radiative flux records are of most interest. The satellite flux anomalies – change in radiation in both short wave and long wave – suggest that all of the warming in the satellite era was the result of changes in cloud cover. Surely there should be some greenhouse gas effect – but the theory gets no comfort from ERBS, ISCCP-FD or, more recently, CERES.

        This simple experiment demonstates the greenhouse gas effect. That is not generally in doubt. Real world responses are uncertain and unpredictable in the dynamically complex climate system. Calling people ‘ignorant fools’ is not endearing trait and says more about you than otherwise.

      • That simple experiment doesn’t demonstrate the so-called GHE.

      • Robert I Ellison

        It shows IR adsorption by CO2 – only by defining the ghe as something else can you reach that conclusion. This is simple radiative physics that can be demostrated in a column of CO2 and in other ways. It is a simple experiment that shows a greenhouse gas effect. Simply denying it is so has no meaning but is nevertheless focussing on the less important rather than the significant points. Unless you have something substantive to say – explaining yourself in some coherent way – I would suggest refraining from saying anything at all.

      • Robert I Ellison | August 26, 2012 at 5:43 am |

        Re: video

        The candle flame is about 1000 C :

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candle#Temperature

        It seems to me the camera is detecting light and near infrared.
        While searching found this paper CO2 absorbing near infrared:

        http://jvarekamp.web.wesleyan.edu/CO2/FP-1.pdf

        Quote:
        “Only recently have there been attempts to paramaterize the effects of near-IR (NIR) absorption by CO2. This research has shown that NIR absorption significantly contributes to heating of the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere (MLT).
        ….
        Much attention has been given to the CO2 absorption band at 15 microns because this absorption peak has high absorptivity placed in the far-IR region, and the paramitization of its effects have been comparably easy to quantify (Fomichev et al., 1993; Fomichev & Turner, 1998; Kiehl & Briegleb, 1991). Carbon dioxide, though, also
        absorbs radiation in near-IR (NIR) bands between 1.05-4.3 μm.”

        Anyways traditionally it is thought CO2 affects longwave and far infrared part of spectrum, and does not seem to me that the camera detect this wavelength, and if one had camera that could, a lit candle wouldn’t a good source for this wavelength- instead the heat of human body or warm frying pan would be better.

      • Grab bag of eggs

        I’ll do you one better jim. Back when scientists started warning about the CO2 greenhouse effect in the 1870s (yes, 18, not 19, this isnt new science) , Fourier proved it in the laboratory by a simple experiment, pump some CO2 under infra red light, and measure the temperature.

        The probably with the whacky denialists is that we know how much CO2 we’re putting in, and using physics that where discovered over a century we can determine how much heat that traps in. If somehow it isn’t you guys need to show what magical mechanism is causing physics to break and for CO2 to lose its ability to absorb infra red light and heat up.

        Seriously , get a CO2 bottle and see for yourself. Science teachers have been showing children this for a 100 years. Its *Basic science*

      • Robert I Ellison

        gbaikie,

        I said I would regret this – and I am. The camera is in fact an infrared camera – so not true colour at all.

        A candle is a decent source of infrared – try holding your finger over the flame.

        Cheers

      • “I said I would regret this – and I am. The camera is in fact an infrared camera – so not true colour at all. ”

        Right, but the camera can only see near infrared (NIR). The camera is more limited than the human eye to see visible to near-IR. If the you seeing darkness, the camera also see darkness.
        Or it is perhaps interesting that CO2 absorbs near-IR, but energy of sunlight which absorbed and it emits energy is far-IR. Even the surface of Mercury with sun heated surface of 725 K isn’t hot enough to emit
        IR light which this camera could see. Though Mercury or Earth can reflect the Sun’s near-IR, but once the sun goes down, it’s not going to see these sun warmed objects.

        “A candle is a decent source of infrared – try holding your finger over the flame. ”

        A candle or match is burning and the hot gases are rapidly rising [from this combustion] . If one is interested the heat that it is radiating, don’t put your above the candle [which is in a stream of hot gases] but put finger near one side of the flame.
        But I am not saying candle does not emit light [visible and near-IR]. That one of uses of candles.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        Near-IR video cameras aren’t much different from visible-light ones. The one in this clip looks pretty sophisticated by comparison.

        However I have to agree that the demonstration is nowhere near quantitative enough to infer much about absorption by CO2 of thermal radiation from Earth’s surface. A far more accurate method is to calculate it line-by-line from the HITRAN line spectra tables.

        However mere absorption of surface radiation is only about 6% of the impact of CO2 on global warming even in the no-feedback case. This is because what heats the Earth is reduction in outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) from the top of the atmosphere (TOA). Only 6% of that radiation is emitted by the surface, the rest is radiation from clouds and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

        Clouds are not water vapor but droplets, which unlike water vapor but like the surface are much closer to being black body radiators. Although there is somewhat less CO2 above the clouds than above the surface (the difference being the amount of CO2 between the clouds and the surface), it’s quite enough to absorb the same bands emitted by the clouds as those emitted by the surface.

        Radiation from the atmosphere’s greenhouse gases is narrow-band, even at sea level but increasingly so at higher altitudes as the effect of pressure-broadening decreases. Every greenhouse gas emits its own set of lines, and absorbs the same again, so there’s a lot of emitting and absorbing going on in the atmosphere.

        Looking down from above the atmosphere, a thermal imaging camera sees only the “top layer” of all this radiation. This layer is not sharply defined but rather is a separate photosphere for each wavelength of IR. To quote the Wikipedia article, “The photosphere of an astronomical object is the region from which externally received light originates.” Wavelengths that are absorbed more strongly create more opaque and therefore higher-altitude photospheres. The further below the photosphere, the lower the probability that a photon from that depth will escape to space. The probability is nonzero however no matter how deep, whence the indistinctness of each photosphere.

        What increasing any greenhouse gas does is to make it more opaque, thereby raising the altitude of the photosphere associated with each wavelength at which that gas absorbs and emits. The higher you go the colder, namely 10 C/km for dry air (the Dry Adiabatic Lapse Rate or DALR) all the way down to 5 C/km for saturated air (the Moist Adiabatic Lapse Rate or MALR) when very warm. Hence a higher photosphere is colder. And since radiation follows the Stefan-Boltzmann law, the amount of radiation falls off as the 4th power of this decreasing temperature.

        Higher temperatures raise the water vapor in the atmosphere. Hence heating the atmosphere by increasing the CO2 will increase water vapor, another greenhouse gas, which in turns heats the atmosphere even more. This vicious cycle is called a positive feedback, and is believed to add considerably to the basic no-feedback greenhouse effect attributable to CO2.

        Richard Feynman said of quantum mechanics that if you think you understand it then you don’t. The greenhouse effect is not quite that bad, but it runs a close second. John Nielson-Gammon has offered “The Best Ever Description of the Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect”. I don’t know if my account above is as good, but it’s only half the length.

      • I disagree Jim.

        If it is going to be published in a scientific journal and thousands of others will see it, discuss it, and quite likely some gov’t somewhere will propose doing it, then it is a good thing to put on this web site for discussion as well.

        LOLWOT – probably more like a trillion dollars plus huge maintenance, annual operation costs and several deaths a year as it is an extremely inhospitable environment.

      • “CO2 laden air”

        You’re funny.

    • If CO2 is selectively adsorbed on surfaces of snowflakes over O2 or N2, which I suspect to be true for CO2 and heavy inert gases like Xe, . . . you don’t have to transport CO2 to Antarctica.

      Just selectively remove the CO2 in the air of Antarctica by adsorption and let natural air circulation replace it.

  2. I wonder if any thought has been given to who would pay (lots?!), for the development, construction and maintenance of these plants……

    which, whilst is not a technical question, is a real world pragmatic one.

    • The Europeans can do it, they’ve got the inclination and oodles of spare cash.

    • Barry Woods,

      If my calculations are correct (Abatement cost = $75/t CO2 to $300/t CO2), then I see this as a backstop technology. It means we do not have to be so concerned about the Alarmism of “we much act now or we’re all gonna die”.

      If this proposal is realistic, it means we have a fall back position if our adaptation and low cost mitigation policies fail.

      It means we do not have to go ahead with high-cost, economically irrational mitigation policies (like CO2 taxes and cap and trade)

      So the EU can drop their silly ETS and get on with trying to repair their economy.

      When the ‘Progressives stop blocking progress on nuclear power we can develop low cost nuclear power to substitute for fossil fuels.

      I see this proposal as potentially very valuable for these reasons. I’d suggest it should be given due consideration and discussed more thoroughly.

  3. Also, iron fertilization of algal blooms seemed to work well…

  4. Roddy Campbell

    In CCS projections conventionally the major cost is capture (at c. 20% from meomory), the second is transport (although taking it to the Antarctic may challenge that) and the third storage (although this has not been done on any commercial scale).

    So locating a jolly clever place to put it that is somewhat inaccessible may solve the smallest problem.

  5. Typical academia – wildly impractical.

  6. Does this work?

    Well, let’s start with the hornet nest analogy. A horde of intoxicated, blindfolded children are running through a huge arena filled with hornet nests, armed with pointy sticks, whacking away wildly in the hopes of finding a pinata.

    The proposed solution? Hire a custodian to sweep up broken and dropped sticks and shred them in a wood chipper before disposing of them in a pile. The intoxicated children still have access to fresh sticks and intoxicants, and still believe in pinatas.. indeed, as they complain that the budget for pinatas was somehow curtailed by paying the custodian’s salary, they’re even more eager to find the pinata of their dreams.

    You’re still left with perturbation (albeit of a changed quality), possibly at a higher rate due the issues of Moral Hazard.

    And the Antarctic is a horrible place to build major projects, requiring development of an entirely new construction methodology.

    Balanced against, for example, changing the root-mass preference of domestic and timber planting to favor biosequestration, it’s also about two orders of magnitude less efficient. If you really want to try geoengineering on a massive scale. Since we’re already planting timber and domestic plants, we might as well put some forethought and purpose into selection.

    And if for some reason you wanted to return the CO2 to the atmosphere, you could just burn more wood.

    • Bart,

      I am not sure that this qualified as “geoengineering on a massive scale”.

      One thing that this has going for it, is it doesn’t require miracles to happen, which is where we remain with genetically engineering trees, AFAIK.

      • BillC | August 24, 2012 at 12:14 pm |

        Genetically engineering trees?

        No, no. I’m talking about ordinary, run-of-the-mill, naturally occurring trees, grasses, shrubs, bush, undergrowth, soil microbes, water plants, plankton in fresh and salt water estuaries, seaweed — all things cultivated and invasive. The root massing preference is a behavior specific to species and conditions, and can be selected for in planting, in timbering operations, in marketing of garden and lawn varieties, in botanical projects such as municipal and regional, park and state bureaucracies routinely undertake against invasive species.

        While I have no specific objection to ‘genetically engineering trees’, simply better understanding what plants lead what soil microbes to sequester CO2E best and fastest is hardly a miracle, but is underexplored in serious science policy. The absence of such efforts tells us we’ve been as a species behaving like we’re dumb as a bag of doorknobs since the issue started to be talked about on any scale four decade ago.

        Why? Because it’s cheap. It’s more than cheap, it actually makes money for the private sector and is easy, without costing government anything that it oughtn’t already be spending on informing itself of its options. So we’re not merely failing to avail ourselves of intelligent options globally, we’re also failing to see to it our governments take up and uphold their most basic obligations to us.

        Sure, there’s hard-won technologies learned from Siberia and the DEW line projects and Vostok ice core and other drilling efforts in polar conditions for building, but to build a massive wind farm project on ice a mile thick to power a massive cryonic supercooled refridgeration project to produce the temperatures to solidify CO2 and force it deep under glaciers, and to repeat that project hundreds of times across the Antarctic.. that’s a project of astounding scale and cost, with unknown unknowns beyond the pale of modern engineering practice, that _might_ produce fascinating knowledge for experts who intend to build in space under such conditions of cold and harsh uncertainty, but it’s nothing short of massive geoengineering by any definition.

        The goal is to remove from the global atmosphere a significant fraction — over a quarter — of CO2. That’s huge, and it requires pumping heat from far below the surface of the Antarctic to above the surface, contributing to the warming of the Antarctic, inevitably.

        What would be easier by far would be to reproduce this proposal in the Arctic seabed, where such temperatures are about equally accessible, such spans of windfarms (and tidal or wave-power) about equally plausible, current knowledge of seabed drilling about a half century more advanced (as BP’s experiences in the Gulf of Mexico show, however, still incredibly risky and immature), and cost of providing crew and material support many times lower, due the proximity of Alaska and the other circumpolar national interests.

        And it’s still going to be among the worst ideas ever proposed.

      • BartR, Some of the Keys residents have found what they think is a preferred CO2 sequestration corp :)

        The carbon can be stored in construction materials – http://www.hemp.com/2010/08/used-plastic-hemp-lumber/

        The corp has bio-fuel potential – http://www.hemp.com/2010/08/used-plastic-hemp-lumber/

        Provides animal feed – https://www.miraclesource.com/cart.php?m=product_list&c=17

        And can be entertaining – http://ndsn.org/mayjun97/hempbeer.html

        While sequestering carbon – http://www.carbonplanet.com/blog/2008/02/16/cannabis-the-greatest-sequestration-agent-of-them-all/

        Seems to be popular in California also :)

      • captdallas2 0.8 +0.2 or -0.4 | August 25, 2012 at 10:37 am |

        In my experience, studies including hemp anywhere along the way have little trouble attracting grad students, peer reviewers, doctoral sponsors and doctoral panelists, publishers, or any form of contributor to the Science. Though funding is often a challenge one way or another.

        One of course would have to be extremely cautious to eliminate bias. Especially sampling bias.

    • I agree Bart R. And teh unicorns don’t help either.

  7. lurker, passing through laughing

    This is like windmills on a brobdagandian scale. Windmills destroy the landscape while acocmplishing nothing of practical value at great expense.
    Chilling CO2 out of the air, even with the temp advantage of Antarctica, will require power plants and a huge industrial footprint. This must be able to operate in one of the toughest environments on Earth, and do so with extremely limited supply chain logistics. The only power supply that could work would be some sort of nuclear powered system. Waht about waste heat, much less process controls in such an adverse location? Then we can speak to the manpower support. Unless we can use those atmospheric plants from the movie “Aliens”. I love the concept in this paper, but it is really just more fun SF, like so many other ideas that the climate consensus is involved with promoitng.
    And can they really guarantee no aliens???????

    • Need lubricants that work at -80 C for the windmills so they don’t freeze up and destroy themselves in cold snaps. Lots of practical problems.

      • Jaime Frontero

        The lubricants that have worked well in the vacuum and temperatures of earth orbit in our various national space programs are also likely to work at -80C, no?

      • I think you can use graphite as lubricant. But lubricants in wind mills would freeze solid at -80 C. If the wind mill kept running it would keep the lubricants warm enough. But the wind speed is too high, then wind mills might need to locked on place [not spin, not warm- lubricant freezes solid].
        One can always change designs, and there may be designs which could handle these conditions [maybe] but such things costs more money.
        One simply heat lubricant radioactive material if nothing else.

        But generally using lubricant in space hasn’t been solved with some kind special lubricant [and problem is space is not temperature, its evaporation- but many possible solutions can be used- magnetic frictionless bearing is one, using hard material [gems] is another, and like I said, graphite- but not sure how you graphite in gear box.]

  8. It would likely work, but there are more efficient alternatives. Chief Hydrologist’s Conservation Agriculture with CO2 sequestration by biochar is likely the most cost effective with the most beneficial by-products.

    • captdallas2 0.8 +0.2 or -0.4 | August 24, 2012 at 11:57 am |

      Er, yes. “Chief Hydrologist’s Conservation Agriculture with CO2 sequestration by biochar” idea. Excellent notion. Wish I’d thought of it myself, or having heard of it from elsewhere, wish I’d been the one to mention it to Robert Ellison. Brilliant idea that.

      Since the date I didn’t mention the idea to Chief Hydrologist, my ideas have evolved and developed somewhat, informed by more recent developments in the understanding of the relationship of microbial life and the Carbon Cycle, and how it sequesters CO2 as carbon in the soil, as well as root mass of plants. So while biochar might be a valid contribution to a future adaptation strategy, it’s premature to know if it’s the best option.

      I certainly hope this new idea of Chief Hydrologist catches on with his other fans, too.

      • BartR, that link to Urea as a potential energy storage medium is also a worthy idea. While I don’t think CO2 will have a major global warming impact, ocean acidification is a concern worth some common sense mitigation. I can’t claim that one either.

      • captdallas2 0.8 +0.2 or -0.4 | August 24, 2012 at 10:48 pm |

        Heh. Zerofuel? Very emphatically not originally my own idea; nor is it without sizeable issues. Still, Carbamide production is in itself a great fertilizer, excellent medium to store and transport the benefits of natural gas without many of its drawbacks, and an interesting topic that may go somewhere.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Did I mention biochar? It is of course one technique of many of ‘conservation farming’. Australians are of course working on techniques to identify and promote the optimum microbial communities in soils. It is a matter of converting less stable to more stable carbon species for enhanced long term sequestration and higher N2 fixation. .

      This is the best technique for direct carbon capture I’ve seen – http://www.carbonengineering.com/

      The captured carbon can be turned into liquid fuels with something like this -http://www.ga.com/energy/em2/ – for an endless supply of fuel.

      Neither of which are my ideas.

      I don’t especially give a rat’s arse for carbon sequestration – it is merely a by product of means to increase agricultural production by 70% by 2050.

      • Did Chief Hydrologist mention biochar? No, your main recommendation was conservation agriculture. With biochar, is in addition to, which BartR claims as his concept, though I think it was Rud that mentioned the Mayan/Incan practice. Considering that most of the warming thus far is due to “natural” unforced variation which is more likely natural with land use practice enhanced changes in the natural oscillation patterns in the northern hemisphere, the combination seemed like a good idea to me :)

        My only contribution to the whole thing is the proposed name of , UNtopia.

      • I think, credit where credit’s due, the biggest proponent of Conservation Agriculture (including biochar) today is Dr. David Suzuki.

        So long as we’re citing ideas he began to propound in the 1980’s, might as well credit the source.

  9. The metalurgy of the various equipment will be difficult.

    Somewhere around -60C normal steel becomes brittle. When I lived in Fairbanks I shattered a hammer trying to chip away some ice.

  10. An interesting proposal. Off the top of my head:

    Pros:

    The costs could be separated from the price of energy, allowing massive development of low-priced fossil-based energy.

    The timing could be separated from fossil energy development, allowing immediate expansion of fossil energy while the sequestration technology matures, followed by removal later. Given the typical time-frames of technological development, the human contribution to atmospheric CO2 could become strongly negative within 20-50 years, which according to IPCC projections is unlikely to see any significant reduction in fossil energy emissions.

    It would not involve interfering with existing valuable political/territorial arrangements.

    The technology development would be quite challenging but not beyond current abilities.

    Much of the new technology development would almost certainly have spin-off technology that would improve productivity and quality of life in the rest of the world. Most likely the ultimate value of the spin-off technology would be orders of magnitude greater than the cost of implementation.

    Con:

    This would be a major economic drain on the entire world. While it could be paid for without raising the direct price of energy, the money would have to come from somewhere, and allocation to various nations or other economic units would require a world-wide system of enforceable arbitration and collection, subject to all the usual corruption and mis-allocation known from current government projects, especially those associated with the U.N.

    Thoughts:

    In the long run this would probably be more beneficial to humanity than bio-sequestration techniques, because the spin-off technology would be more applicable to non-terrrestrial environments. It would also probably be widely useful in other environments that, while not as inhospitable as Antarctica, are currently very uncomfortable or expensive to live in.

    There’s no reason to put all the eggs into one basket. Various nations and other political/economic units could have a choice which technology they pursue, with some following this one, others bio-sequestration, others reduction in original emission, others perhaps other approaches not currently identified. Depending on the national (etc.) options, any unit could pursue multiple technologies. This would still require some way of allocating CO2 responsibilities, to various units, but it could potentially be no more intrusive than Basel.

  11. Well, IF there is a good reason to do this, this would be a great application for a couple of small nuclear reactors.

  12. If the climate is so sensitive to increasing CO2, then it follows that it would be just as sensitive to decreasing CO2, the reverse hockey stick. Even if we could significantly affect CO2 levels on a global scale (which I believe is impossible due to scale), why would we want to hasten another glaciation cycle if CO2 drive temperature? This would mean that when we do slide into another cold cycle that we would pump MORE CO2 into the atmosphere in attempting to raise the temperature again? Please.

    • I wish to lodge a complaint.

      Why should those who live in the southern hemisphere freeze and suffer while those who live in the northern hemisphere enjoy warmer temperatures?

      I suspect another North versus South conspiracy :)

      • Vaughan Pratt

        Careful what you wish for, Peter. Sumer is icumen in. :)

        But for those dreading yet another summer of extremes, bush poet John O’Brien offers the following historical solace.

        “We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
        In accents most forlorn,
        Outside the church, ere Mass began,
        One frosty Sunday morn.

        The congregation stood about,
        Coat-collars to the ears,
        And talked of stock, and crops, and drought,
        As it had done for years.

        “It’s looking crook,” said Daniel Croke;
        “Bedad, it’s cruke, me lad,
        For never since the banks went broke
        Has seasons been so bad.”

        “It’s dry, all right,” said young O’Neil,
        With which astute remark
        He squatted down upon his heel
        And chewed a piece of bark.

        And then there were floods. And then…

        And days went by on dancing feet,
        With harvest-hopes immense,
        And laughing eyes beheld the wheat
        Nid-nodding o’er the fence.

        And, oh, the smiles on every face,
        As happy lad and lass
        Through grass knee-deep on Casey’s place
        Went riding down to Mass.

        While round the church in clothes genteel
        Discoursed the men of mark,
        And each man squatted on his heel,
        And chewed his piece of bark.

        “There’ll be bush-fires for sure, me man,
        There will, without a doubt;
        We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
        “Before the year is out.”

      • Hi Vaughan Pratt,

        The poem is very familiar. I learnt to recite it at a young age, along with “The man from Snowy River”, “Clancy of the Overflow” and a few others. Forgotten them all now.

        However, I am not persuaded there is anything unusual about the global temperatures of climate. In fact the planet is in an unusually cold period. There have only been three coldhouse periods (i.e. with ice at the poles) in the past 550 million years (the time that multi-cell animal life has been thriving on the planet) and we are in the third one now. For 75% of that time there has been no ice at the poles. So if there is anything unusual about current temperatures it is that they are cold. And we know life thrives when warmer and struggles when colder.

        What this leads to is that scaremongering has no effect on me other than to make me more determined to educate people to realise what would be the cost to humanity of the irrational mitigation policies proposed by the CAGW Alarmists.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        the cost to humanity of the irrational mitigation policies proposed by the CAGW Alarmists.

        If the cost of increasing CO2 is negligible then it should be easy to show that the cost of just about any of the mitigation policies people are taking seriously makes the cure worse than the disease.

        So it would seem that your best strategy would simply be to argue that CO2 isn’t doing significant damage, because it then makes the rest of your task a no-brainer. Otherwise you get into complicated economics arguments, and the more complicated they are the fewer people you will succeed in having educated. Few people understand economics quantitatively—I’m just amazed economists do.

      • lurker passing through, laughing

        VP,
        Can you show us where CO2 is doing anything at all except lining the pockets of rent seekers?
        Can you show any mitigation idea at all that can work?
        How about one climate consensus pushed policy that has impacted CO2 at all.
        Sorry for the questions, but you are asking people to demonstrate a negative- CO2’s non-harm. Certainly a well educated person could show it is in fact harming right now- unambiguously. None of Trenberth’s sleight of hand or Hansen’s prestidigitation. .

      • Vaughan Pratt

        @lurker: Can you show us where CO2 is doing anything at all

        Of course not. There is no evidence that CO2 is doing anything at all that would convince a climate skeptic.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        The onus is clearly on the alarmists, if they want to argue for high cost mitigation policies, to demonstrate what is the damage cost of warming. So far they have not been able to demonstrate what is the damage cost of warming. And worse still they continually argue for irrational policies – like government imposed carbon pricing schemes and very high cost renewable energy while blocking nuclear power development.

        I’d urge those who argue for economically irrational policies to rethink their position. I’d urge them to consider:

        1. We do not know how much warming we will cause, or how much cooling we will prevent, and we do not know the damage costs of warming or the reduced damages costs of cooling avoided.

        2. However, we do have an option that will allow the CAGW alarmists to get their desire of reduced emissions and, at the same time, allow growth in prosperity and human wellbeing to continue unabated. That option is to allow us to have low-cost nuclear power. (I’ve explained how that can be done in previous comments). Unfortunately, most of the people who are the CAGW Alarmists and share the ‘Progressive’ ideological beliefs have blocked nuclear development and have been blocking it for 50 years.

        Clearly it is up to the CAGW Alarmists and ‘Progressives’ to unblock progress. I’d urge the ‘Progressives’ to change tack and become enthusiastic advocates of economically rational policies. I’d urge them to dump their advocacy for high-cost, economically irrational policies like CO2 pricing, renewable energy, world government and the rest of the irrational policies they advocate.

  13. Mark B (number 2)

    Please correct me if I’m wrong. These are my calculations:
    Total mass of the atmosphere is known to be 5.148 X 10^18
    of this total, the current CO2 will have a mass of about 3.31 X 10^15.
    Suppose we want to half it:
    We want to dispose of 1.65 X 10 ^ 15 kg of CO2.
    CO2 in its ice form has a density of 1562 kg/m3
    Therefore the volume of the dry ice produced would be 1.05 X 10 ^ 12 m3
    or 105 km3.
    The problem with this calculation is that I am calculating the volume of dry ice, when the plant will actually be producing CO2 snow. If it is anything like normal snow, it will require a landfill site with a capacity of about 1000 km3 to take the snow.

    I could easily have made some mistakes with my rough calculations, so I am happy to be corrected.

    • Vaughan Pratt

      A simple rule of thumb is that each part per thousand of atmospheric CO2, when deposited uniformly on the surface of the Earth (the whole thing, not just the land) as densely packed dry ice, will be very close to one centimeter thick. Currently atmospheric CO2 is 0.394 parts per thousand. Hence it will be about 0.4 cm or 4 mm thick, about the thickness of the glass in a picture frame, and incidentally absorbing about the same amount of IR (namely quite a lot—glass is opaque at wavelengths above 3 microns).

      The area of the Earth is 510 square megameters (510 x 10^12 m2), whence the volume of all the CO2 as dry ice would be 2 x 10^12 m3. Half of that is 10^12 m3. So I agree with your calculation even though derived a different way.

      However converting to km3 I get 1050 km3, not 105. With your factor of 10 for snow vs. ice, you will need 10,000 km3 for the snow.

      However that represents about 400 GtC, whereas the “modest proposal” was to remove only 1 GtC. So to meet that goal your snow would only have to be 25 km3.

      Antarctica is 14 sq. megameters. If you spread the dry ice over say the middle 7% of that, namely one sq. megameter, 25 km3 would be 25 cm thick or a little less than a foot. The real (H2O) snow on Antarctica is thousands of times thicker. Most of it is also very packed down; if you packed the dry ice to the same extent it would pack down to an inch thick.

      • Hey forget the CO2, global warming since 1920s is caused by the Japanese earthquakes.
        http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/Sun-Earth1.htm (bottom graph)
        :) :)

      • Vaughan

        I think you said you are an engineer. If so, have you done any cost estimates for your suggestion? Can you provide you costings for:

        • Packing the CO2 snow to dry ice?
        • moving the CO2 snow from the Deposition Plants to the burial sites?
        • Excavating the burial sites?
        • insulating and refrigerating the burial sites to prevent sublimation?
        • The fabricating, constructing (and perhaps moving) the Deposition Plants?
        • Building all year round air fields for fly in fly out operators?
        • Building and operating cities with total population in the millions to run the whole operation?

        By the way, as points out up thread the 4 B and 1 B ton figures apply to C not CO2. The figure should be 15 Gt (or 3.66 Gt for the Virgin challenge / publicity stunt), but suggest working with the 15 Gt CO2 (4 B ton C) because that justified on a sound basis rather than just a publicity stunt.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        If so, have you done any cost estimates for your suggestion?

        Yes, about three years ago when I designed such a system. The two limiting factors in the design were cost of aluminium (the membrane used in the countercurrent heat exchanger on which my design was based, based on $1500/ton) and efficiency of the heat exchanger.

        I found that 95% efficiency would achieve cost breakeven for the design, and that this efficiency was just barely achievable with the ideas I had at the time.

        Since then I found some small improvements. However I did not explore the practicality of operating the system in Antarctica, which would have replaced one set of problems with another. In retrospect the Antarctica solution looks less practical than mine for the sorts of reasons people have been raising here.

        One other factor was condensation, with the concomitant need to clean out organisms growing in the condensate. I still don’t have a good solution to this. It would not be a problem in Antarctica since the air there is free of H2O to begin with. However the problems of operating in Antarctica seem much greater than those of dealing with condensation.

        While designing it I learned from the director of the Stanford Global Climate and Energy Project that Exxon-Mobil were prototyping a similar system. I decided I didn’t have the resources to compete with them on a such a system and moved on to exploring other ideas, of which I had no shortage.

        Your questions about packing, moving, burial, air fields, and cities are all good ones but however assume aspects of my design to which they are all irrelevant as it turns out.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        I found that 95% efficiency would achieve cost breakeven for the design, and that this efficiency was just barely achievable with the ideas I had at the time.

        You say 95% energy efficiency is plausable. House et al. http://www.pnas.org/content/108/51/20428.full says about 5% is current practice. Why are the two figures so different?

        <blockquote<The trend apparent in Fig. 3 suggests that, for air capture, the second-law thermodynamic efficiency is likely to be significantly below 10%. Indeed, unless a new technology is shown to substantially deviate from the efficiency frontier in Fig. 3, it is reasonable to assume that the second-law efficiency of an air capture system could be below 5%.

        (I recognise I may have misunderstood what you are referring to, but perhaps you can explain, without the usual vitriol and innuendo).

        I am not a mechanical engineer, but I have great difficulty conceiving that it could be practical to reduce the air in a 100m cube by 130 degrees in 10 seconds and have the CO2 snow settle on the bottom in that time, and flush the entire volume of air out of the 100m cube and replace it all in 10 seconds.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        You say 95% energy efficiency is plausable. House et al. http://www.pnas.org/content/108/51/20428.full says about 5% is current practice. Why are the two figures so different?

        Because they envisage a different process, making it an apples-to-oranges comparison. They’re looking at the likely efficiency of practical processes for separating CO2 as a gas from air, based on the Gibbs free energy of the mixed and unmixed gases. My 95% referred to the efficiency of a countercurrent heat exchanger used to chill air below −78 C (the melting point of CO2). 100% is when the CO2-free air being returned to the atmosphere is at the same temperature as the air entering the system. If the temperature is to be lowered by 100 C, 95% efficiency means that the return air is 100/20 = 5 C colder than the incoming air.

        Additional energy is needed to freeze the CO2, around 30 kJ per mole of CO2, which would be needed to even start on an apples-to-apples comparison.

        I would however agree that any process, their’s or cryogenic approaches, is an extremely expensive way of extracting CO2 from air. CO2 capture near the source (power plants) is much more efficient.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        10 seconds is completely out of the question. In the system I was designing the air would spend on the order of 20 minutes cooling down and then returning. Moreover there would not be 100m cubes, everything would be on a much smaller scale, greatly replicated in order to achieve practical production levels.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        Thank you for your clarification.

        Can you provide an estimate of the number, size and rough cost of the plants you would need to remove 4 Gt of CO2 per year (and no subsequent losses through sublimation)?

      • Vaughan Pratt

        Peter, I suspect I threw my calculations out after deciding it was hopelessly impractical. I’ll keep an eye out for them in case I didn’t.

        “Number of plants” is the wrong measure however. The more interesting measure is the mass of aluminium (as the membrane material between the two directions of flow in the heat exchanger) needed to build a plant with a 95% efficient heat exchanger able to remove ten tonnes of carbon per year from the atmosphere, bearing in mind that scrap aluminium currently costs $1500/ton. (I no longer need to distinguish US$ and AU$.)

        My very vague recollection was that this was a lot less than the cost of solar panels in 2008, but don’t hold me to it. Meanwhile solar panels have plummetted by a factor of four or more in price!

        For calibration, what I have on my roof right now removes three tons of carbon from the atmosphere annually.

        100 million of these distributed in people’s back yards around the planet would remove 1 GtC of carbon annually. Removing more than that might have untoward side effects given how aggressively nature has been removing what we’ve been adding.

      • You din’t answer the main part of the question – what would be the cost? What would be the cost per tonne CO2 abated (in $/t CO2)?

      • Vaughan Pratt

        You din’t answer the main part of the question – what would be the cost? What would be the cost per tonne CO2 abated (in $/t CO2)?

        You may have overlooked my answer, namely that I threw my calculations out. If I ever run across them I’ll let you know.

        However if one can buy 240 moles of methane for a dollar, that means that a tonne of CO2 converted to methane would be worth about $100. As you say, solar is not always available, but when it is it is very cheap nowadays amortized over the lifetime of a panel. So the tonne of CO2 removed from the atmosphere, when converted to natural gas using cheap solar, would be worth $100. I don’t have a lower bound on the cost of the conversion, which could be very low in comparison. If less than $100 per tonne of CO2 (= 0.27 GtC) then you’d be coming out ahead. You’d be benefitting the environment while make a profit on the deal instead of the loss that everyone assumes.

        I am certain that’s not the answer you wanted to hear. Unfortunately I’m unable to offer one more to your taste.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        As you say, solar is not always available, but when it is it is very cheap nowadays

        I assume that is fair indication of the sort of logic you use to justify your beliefs in catastrophic climate change.

        That and other comments show that your thinking is blocked by ideology. I wouldn’t trust anything you say. Unfortunately, most of your comments are similar. As are most of the comments of the others who share your ideological beliefs.

        More torpedoes in the CAGW religion.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        I assume that is fair indication of the sort of logic you use to justify your beliefs in catastrophic climate change.

        Absolutely correct, thank you for noticing. I hope you won’t mind my returning the compliment, mutatis mutandis.

        Allow me to shore up my logic with further corroborative detail.

        Here are the spot prices of silicon and thin-film photovoltaic wafers, cells, and modules for June 25, 2009 and August 30, 2012.

        Notice how the average price of 156 mm mono wafers (the kind used in my roof installation for example) dropped from $3.63 to $1.29 during those three years. Average price per watt of the corresponding cells dropped from $1.25 to $0.41, and of solar modules (aka solar panels) from $1.89 to $0.726 per watt. Also note that all week-over-week price changes were negative, both for 2009 and 2012.

        Over a similar length of time though earlier, namely from 2005 to 2008, cost per watt of a coal power station increased from $1.50 per watt to over $3 per watt, based on a report I pointed out to you about a week ago. In the meantime I ran across this forward-looking 2008 report to the US Congress on characteristics and costs of power plants. Concerning coal, it says under “Key observations” in the summary, “With current technology, coal-fired power plants using carbon capture equipment are an expensive source of electricity in a carbon control case. Other power sources, such as wind, nuclear, geothermal, and the natural gas combined cycle without capture technology currently appear to be more economical.” And that was in 2008. Coal today looks even less promising than the alternatives. This is reflected in the recent dramatic move away from coal.

        Furthermore neither of these trends, solar down and coal up, show any sign of abating.

        This ignores operating costs. Operating cost of a coal power station is much more per watt than solar panels, which consume only sunlight and sit there passively, requiring no maintenance other than monthly cleaning of dust and pollen from the upper surface.

        When used as a source of energy to manufacture hydrocarbons such as methane and liquid fuels, as you point out solar panels can only do this in the daytime. But factories that operate only during working hours are not exactly a novelty in the world of industry, and have the advantage of not subjecting their employees to grueling night shifts. And the fuels they manufacture can be used any time night or day. In fact if used that very evening to provide the evening’s power, they don’t even need a great deal of storage or transportation anywhere.

        I would be happy to field any questions about the above. Anticipating your customary objection, I agree in advance that these numbers justify what I believe to be the economic advantages of solar over coal. Having been a scientist my entire career I’m unfamiliar with those political circles where reasoning appears to be based more on ideologies than on the conclusions of scientific investigation. Ideology-based reasoning is something well beyond my ken, so if you know anything at all about it I would be obliged to take your word for it.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        VP: Here are the spot prices of silicon and thin-film photovoltaic wafers, cells, and modules for June 25, 2009 and August 30, 2012.

        Not sure why the June 25, 2009 link didn’t work, here it is spelled out:
        http://web.archive.org/web/20090625110659/http://www.pvinsights.com/.

      • David L. Hagen

        Vaughan Pratt
        Re PV prices. SeeChina Can’t Compete in Solar Either

        Mandates to expand renewable energy invited China to unload its low-cost solar panels in the West, and supply greatly outpaced demand.
        “Since 2010,” the Telegraph reported, “the price of polysilicon wafers has fallen by nearly three-quarters. The price is now below the production cost – in the latest quarter, LDK Solar’s gross margin was -65.5 percent.” . . .
        According to a Bloomberg report China provided at least $30 billion in credit to its solar companies in 2010, and also offered incentives like free land and zero-percent financing. . . .
        This follows subsidy cutbacks by Germany, Great Britain and Italy, while Spain completely halted its solar subvention.

        The unavoidable incentive of financial sanity will finally cause a full collapse of the solar industry, even in China, where even the coercion of Communism cannot supersede the laws of economics.

      • “• Excavating the burial sites?”

        This is the hardest and most expensive part.

        If start with big deep hole, the rest is easy.
        The amount snow and ice one need to remove exceeds
        the most massive mining projects in the world.
        So it seems the only solution would be to find natural
        terrain in Antarctic which could reduce amount excavation
        needed.

        That map show bedrock, it’s not useful for my purpose, and I don’t have a detailed surface topographical map, but if Antarctica had similar surface depression or crater. One could it to get a burial site.
        Hmm, reminds me, since we can’t use nukes [obvious solution] we might be able to use space rock which do same thing as a nuke- deliver massive amounts of energy in location.
        Meteor Crater: “Meteor Crater is nearly one mile across… 550 feet deep.” and “the spectacular result of the collision that rocked the American Southwest with the energy of more than 20 million tons of TNT can be explored first-hand just outside the Visitor Center at Meteor Crater Arizona.”

        http://www.meteorcrater.com/

        Oh better description:
        “Meteor Crater lies at an elevation of about 1,740 m (5,709 ft) above sea level. It is about 1,200 m (4,000 ft) in diameter, some 170 m deep (570 ft), and is surrounded by a rim that rises 45 m (150 ft) above the surrounding plains. The center of the crater is filled with 210–240 m (700–800 ft) of rubble lying above crater bedrock”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_Crater

        “The object that excavated the crater was a nickel-iron meteorite about 50 meters (54 yards) across, which struck the plain at a speed of several kilometers per second. Impact energy has been estimated at about 10 megatons.”

        So it would better if it was deeper. With enough TNT [or a nuke] one could design the blast and perhaps make much deeper.
        Or find the right space rock and steer it so hit the Antarctic in a good location- making hit within say 10 km of target area, could be challenging.

      • gbaikie,

        You’ve raised a good point. My cost estimate assumed the snow burial pits were being excavated in soft snow by snow cats at a cost of $2/m^3 of excavation. However, in fact most of Antarctica is not deep snow but bedrock. The excavation costs would be very much higher than I assumed in my estimate of $2400/t CO2 abated.

        Another point is that there is no point in trying to bury CO2 snow in ordinary snow or ice because snow and ice moves and blows away. Therefore, the CO2 sow would quickly be released back to the atmosphere (the insulation would not last long once it is exposed to the wind and elements).

        The more we look at this proposal the more we see it is a scientist’s thought-bubble with no engineering input whatsoever.

        It makes makes the point once again, the engineering input and the engineers quality of analysis and documentation is essential before we invest in very high cost and potentially economically damaging policies like carbon pricing, etc.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        Why not just wait for the next big snow (H2O) storm to bury that snow (CO2)? Are snow storms in Antarctica spaced that far apart?

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        You clearly have no practical knowledge of anything. Snow blows away so the burial will then be uncovered and the CO2 snow blown away. Also, if buried in ice, the ice moves to the sea. The CO2 will escape. It would have to be burried in under ground caverns below the water table (excavation costs $50 – $100/m^3). It would have to be burried at a depth such that the water pressure above exceeds the vapour pressure of CO2 sublimation at the rock temperature at that depth. Rock temperature increases at 0.025 C/m depth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geothermal_gradient

      • Vaughan Pratt

        Snow blows away so the burial will then be uncovered and the CO2 snow blown away.

        By this reasoning, eventually all the snow on Antarctica would be blown away.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        That comment is so dumb I don’t understand why you are allowed to teach students.

      • “You’ve raised a good point. My cost estimate assumed the snow burial pits were being excavated in soft snow by snow cats at a cost of $2/m^3 of excavation. However, in fact most of Antarctica is not deep snow but bedrock. The excavation costs would be very much higher than I assumed in my estimate of $2400/t CO2 abated.”

        Another point is that there is no point in trying to bury CO2 snow in ordinary snow or ice because snow and ice moves and blows away. Therefore, the CO2 sow would quickly be released back to the atmosphere (the insulation would not last long once it is exposed to the wind and elements).”

        There are of course areas on Antarctica which have no snow or ice- “desert areas”. But Antarctica has highest average elevation of any continent- because it’s covered with an ice cap, miles deep. Without the ice cap it would quite low in terms of it’s average elevation.
        As far as your excavation costs. It could be such high costs, but only because of it’s remote location and harsh conditions. Which is difficult to determine in terms of cost [it they have some excessive pristine wilderness restrictions then 2400/t could on the low side in terms of costs- it could be 10 times more].
        Coal in US sells for about $12 per ton, and would guess it’s excavation cost or dollar or two per ton. Of course it depends how are counting these costs, but I certainly know it can’t be over $10 per ton.
        If going do bedrock, one has to blast, and once blasted correctly one dealing with material as easy as coal [or snow/ice] in term of excavation.

        I considered digging a hole in the snow/ice. That would easier than rock.
        But just moving the material less than 2 km in distance [as much as 5 or 6 km considering has snake up a vertical rise] was daunting in terms of it volume. If easy to dig material such as coal the volume of material involved would require massive amounts a machinery and time.
        One could find lots of area with ice cap deeper than 2 km, and the top of it would snow, but lower level and most of the 2 km depth would be ice. And so I mostly thinking digging ice.
        But it’s simply too much volume of material to deal with. Hence conclusion of the need for good location which mostly has the “hole already dug” and/or space rock, unbelievable amount of chemical explosives [logistically a nightmare- tens of billion in cost to ship it], and/or nuke weapons.
        So nuke or space rock, not likely in terms political climatic. And that leaves finding a good location: large and deep area which requires the least in terms of cost to modify it to make into usable hole.

        “Another point is that there is no point in trying to bury CO2 snow in ordinary snow or ice because snow and ice moves and blows away. Therefore, the CO2 sow would quickly be released back to the atmosphere (the insulation would not last long once it is exposed to the wind and elements).”
        I think you want bury it with hundreds of feet snow/ice. And it would compacted by handling it, plowing it, and driving machinery over it. You could spray water over it, if that wasn’t enough.

      • gbaikie

        Good points.

        Yes. Much of Antarctica is ice cap. However, ice flows. Therefore, if you excavate a large subsurface hole in ice at depth, it will close up. There may be ways to design it so that it seals the CO2 snow. But I doubt it would survive for a long period without the CO2 leaking to the surface. There may be ways.

        The costs for underground excavation I gave were for underground excavation in hard rock, including rock support. These costs are not comparable with the costs of mining coal.

        Lots of ideas. However, the whole projects is over an order of magnitude to costly to be considered, so not much point trying to refine the costs of the least costly component. In my calculation the burial cost was just 1% of the total costs of the CO2 snow sequestration; here is the breakdown of my estimate of $2400/t CO2:
        Electricity = 65%
        Deposition Plants = 34%
        Land fill (including insulation) = 1%.

      • gbaike,

        Here are some cost estimates for a large underground excavations in rock and also in salt ($60-$130/m^3). See table 1: http://www.phy.bnl.gov/~diwan/nwg/fnal-bnl/300ktdocs/Topical-Report-RSI-1919.pdf

      • Vaughan Pratt

        That comment is so dumb I don’t understand why you are allowed to teach students.

        I can assure you we teach dumb-founded induction, and moreover students appreciate the principle. This is actually two principles rolled into one, by which if a layer of snow blows away so does the next, but at the same time snow upwind blows in to replace it. They’re dumb-founded when they first see it. If you would just relax a little you could come to appreciate this delicately nuanced principle yourself.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        It seems, all you know about nature you’ve learned from watching a computer screen and Discovery Channel. Your understanding of erosion and deposition is as nonexistent as your understanding of energy and cost analysis. You comment is as dumb as they come and even dumber than many of the other comments you’ve made. Unbelievable how a person so lacking in knowledge of the real world could be allowed to teach.

      • David L. Hagen

        Vaughan Pratt
        On prospects for major penetration of PV/Wind, see Germany’s new environmental policy – 23 new coal fired power plants to provide the essential base load and grid reliability.
        Germany’s new “renewable” energy policy

        See Detailed discussion in Der Spiegel
        Germany Rethinks Path to Green Future

        comment on: Merkle’s Policy

        “Meanwhile, Brent crude oil increased 1200% from $10/bbl in 1999 to $120/bbl in 2012.”

  14. No, it won’t work. There are at least two obvious problems. First CO2 concentration. Like any air liquefaction plant, you have to chill all the air to the point below which CO2 will precipitate out. That is enormous energy input for very little return at 400 ppm, even if the energy is wind. Second, Antarctica is a small fraction of Earths 29% landmass. Expecting less than 5% of Earths surface to filter the air mass from the other 95% given actual air circulation patterns is patently absurd compared to natural CO2 scrubbing mechanisms like the biological carbon cycles, or Henry’s law (which is leading to ocean acidification. Bottom line, both the scope and the scale are overmatched by the possible problem.
    The only more ridiculous proposal I have seen is Skyonic, which actually got $25 million in Obama dollars for a demonstration plant! (Hint, what is the net carbon balance from making electricity to make NaOH to scrub CO2 from making electricity?). Is covered as one of many ridiculous situations in my forthcoming book, Arts of Truth.

    • Interesting. Googling ‘ambient air co2 capture’ got me this article http://www.netl.doe.gov/publications/proceedings/01/carbon_seq/7b1.pdf
      with this gem

      It is not economically possible to perform significant amount of work on the air, which
      means one cannot heat or cool it, compress it or expand it. It would be possible to move the air
      mechanically but only at speeds that are easily achieved by natural flows as well. Thus, one is
      virtually forced into considering physical or chemical adsorption from natural airflow passing
      over some recyclable sorbent [1, 2]. Once the CO2 has been taken out of the air, the down
      stream processing deals with volumes and masses that are of the same order of magnitude as the
      CO2 itself and is therefore not subject to the large amplification factor that results from the dilute
      nature of CO2 in air.

      the antarctic proposal depends on the added advantage of natural conditions overcoming the limitations imposed in the first sentence of the quote, in excess of the added cost of a facility in the antarctic compared to elsewhere.

    • Steven Mosher

      Using something different than NaOH is the key.

      http://www.netl.doe.gov/publications/proceedings/01/carbon_seq/7b1.pdf

      • Amines are bases like NaOH, but they can be used over and over again.

      • For how many cycles?

      • Don’t know off the top of my head, I’m sure it varies depending on the specifics.

      • The problem with any sort of absorption by acid-base reaction is that we have no adequate source of base. As Lackner suggests, CaO is cheapest, though he queries its efficiency. That would lead to storage as CaCO3. But where do we get CaO? By heating natural CaCO3, releasing one mol CO2 for each mol CaO produced. There’s no future in that.

        The only other way to produce alkali on a large scale is by electrolysis, but this has huge energy cost and produces vast amounts of by-product acid.

        jim2 suggests recyclable amines. That doesn’t give a chemically bound form for burial. OK, one could treat it as a concentration process, and recover CO2 for burial.

        Remember that we burnt the C for energy. Each chemical process – alkali absorption, regeneration – consumes an amount of energy that is a significant fraction of the original energy gained. It’s very hard to stay ahead.

      • Nick – the amine collects the CO2, then it is freed and converted to dry ice, then sequestered. I am assuming the entire process would occur at the pole. But one could collect the CO2 anywhere, then ship it to the pole for conversion to dry ice and sequestration.

      • jim2,
        again, that’s two stages of chemical reaction, each involving energy not insignificant relative to the energy originally gained by producing the CO2. And when you think of shipping, remember that the CO2, even solid, is at least twice as massive and bulky as the carbon source from which it came. .For every oil tanker, you’d need 2 CO2 tankers. For every coal train, two CO2 trains or equivalent.

      • Remains, however brightly polished and shiny, and attempt to solve what at its heart is a problem of Economics with a solution of Technology.

        While this can work, it almost never does without substantial unprepared-for side effects.

        If you create an artificial Carbon Cycle running full speed in parallel with the natural one, you get two complex competing systems instead of one single complex system, and cross-feeds all the way. See what happens to stability when you try to build a machine like that.

    • Rud Istvan,

      What you are saying is way outside my area of knowledge, so bear with me. My question is not intended to be flippant or rhetorical.

      If such a plant could be constructed and it could draw and sequester 4 billion tonnes of CO2 per year from the air, how low would the concentration of CO2 become over Antarctica?

      What I am getting at is that I would have thought that airflow around the planet (and turbulence) is sufficient, to ensure that CO2 concentrations would remain close to constant around the planet.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        What I am getting at is that I would have thought that airflow around the planet (and turbulence) is sufficient, to ensure that CO2 concentrations would remain close to constant around the planet.

        Close to constant as a function of position, decreasing as a function of time. The idea is to reduce CO2 globally by sucking it down at one point. Circulation would bring fresh CO2 from elsewhere to replenish what had been drawn down over Antarctica. One might hope to see Antarctica be a few ppmv CO2 less than the rest of the planet at all times during such a process.

        Circulation is on the order of a few months within each hemisphere (north and south), but on the order of 18 months to exchange between hemispheres. There is relatively little flow across the equator thanks to the way the Hadley cells work.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        Close to constant as a function of position, decreasing as a function of time.

        No concentration would not be decreasing as a function of time unless the proposed system was sequestering more than 15 Gt CO2 per year. His proposal is for just 4 Gt per year (or 1 Gt per year for the Virgin Challenge / publicity stunt).

      • Vaughan Pratt

        Good point. I should have said that the difference between with and without their system was decreasing as a function of time.

    • lurker passing through, laughing

      Rud,
      The chances of wind power working in Antarctica at any significant scale is approaching zero.

    • Vaughan Pratt

      That is enormous energy input for very little return at 400 ppm, even if the energy is wind.

      Rud, the point of doing it in Antarctica is to use air that nature has chilled for you to close to the desired temperature.

      The energy required for the remaining cooling can be further reduced about 100x in practice (theoretically 1000x) using a countercurrent heat exchanger. The idea is that outside air goes through a very long incoming conduit into the precipitation chamber and then returns through an equally long outgoing conduit that is placed right beside the incoming one and separated from it by a thin membrane of some thermally conducting substance, e.g. copper (expensive) or aluminum (scrap aluminum runs around $1400/ton today). At all points along the conduits the incoming one is arranged to be slightly colder than the outgoing one, so that the air coming in heats the air going out, in the process gradually giving up its own heat.

      The upshot (in theory) is that the only substance that actually needs to have heat extracted from it is the CO2 that is precipitated out. Some more cooling power is lost to inefficiencies, so the goal is to keep these as low as possible.

      The largest cost for such a system is not the cooling energy but the cost of the thermally conducting membrane amortized over its lifetime.

      Expecting less than 5% of Earths surface to filter the air mass from the other 95% given actual air circulation patterns is patently absurd compared to natural CO2 scrubbing mechanisms like the biological carbon cycles, or Henry’s law (which is leading to ocean acidification).

      Fully agree with the second half. Besides pulling down the same 200 GtC per year that she’s been doing for millions of years, nature is also pulling down about 55% of our annual 11.5 GtC contribution (last year, counting land use), or 6.3 GtC. In the time it takes to bring a 1 GtC/yr system online, nature will have ramped up her bit an additional GtC/yr or more. The same money spent on reducing carbon would have a far bigger impact than tackling the problem head on by trying to emulate Nature. Klaus Lackner at Cornell has been trying to do this sort of thing, I don’t think it stands a chance.

  15. I noted this in the abstract

    “Calculations demonstrate that this project is worthy of consideration, whereby 446 deposition plants supported by 16 1200-MW wind farms can remove 1 B tons (1012 kg) of CO2 annually (a 32 reduction of 0.5 ppmv), which can be stored in an equivalent “landfill” volume of 2 km x 2 km x 33 160 m (insulated to prevent dry ice sublimation).”

    A reference was given whereby An existing Antarctic wind farm can be examined here;

    http://www.antarcticanz.govt.nz/scott-base/ross-island-wind-energy

    From this site I note this;

    “The three 333kW turbines will reduce the amount of diesel required for power generation by around 463 000 litres and cut CO2 emissions by 1242 tonnes per year.”

    Checking to see the size of a 1200MW wind farm (rather than 333 KW turbines) I came across this;

    “From the enquiries TransGrid has received, Northern NSW has the potential to supply an additional 1200 Mega Watts of wind generation into the National Electricity Market in the future,” he said.

    “This amount is equivalent to the amount of electricity used by around 870,000 average homes annually.”

    http://www.transgrid.com.au/mediaweb/articles/Pages/Windfarmconnectionenquiries.aspx

    Are these figures correct? It seems that it will take an enormous amount of power to remove what appears to be a very small amount of co2 at a very great cost. Surely the size of these turbines will render them highly liable to damage in the very severe environment they will encounter, whereby maintenance and replacement will be very difficult.

    The project doesnt really appear to stack up.
    tonyb.

    • TonyB,

      Any time you see this statement:

      “This amount is equivalent to the amount of electricity used by around 870,000 average homes annually.”

      turn on you BS meter. Wind and solar energy cannot power any houses because they do not provide a reliable power supply. Furthermore, most of our electricity is used by industry and commerce, so the statement is entirely misleading. It is complete BS.

      It seems that it will take an enormous amount of power to remove what appears to be a very small amount of co2 at a very great cost. Surely the size of these turbines will render them highly liable to damage in the very severe environment they will encounter, whereby maintenance and replacement will be very difficult.

      Yes. I agree. So in my first attempt to estimate the cost of the electricity system I worked out the capital cost of the wind farms, diesel backup generators and transmission system using inflated values. Then I made it simpler by working with cost of electricity. The two methods produced roughly equivalent cost figures. See my estimate here http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/24/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic/#comment-231960.

      I’d appreciate anyone pointing out any errors you spot.

      • You don’t need backup generators for this; just let the process stop when there’s no wind. There’s nothing really time critical as it’s only long-term results that matter, and day-to-day fluctuations don’t have much effect.

        And I think the proposal assumes that the windmills are the same site as the freezing plants so you don’t need complex transmission systems that stretch long distances, except that the windfarms themselves are pretty big and complex.

        And these sites will require tens of thousands of highly-skilled technicians to maintain, even if you have robots doing the routine work. Windmills are very far from being able to run unattended.

      • cmarkn,

        Thank you for your response. It’s good t see some constructive contributions to the review of this draft paper. I agree with your last paragraph.

        I don’t agree with your first two paragraphs, but it is not a key issue for this paper. As I said in my comments to the authors here http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/24/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic/#comment-232357 (e.g. in reference to line 31 and several other places) I’d urge them to not specify any technology or power plant size. All they need to do is state the energy requirement.

        However, to explain why I disagree with you about your first two paragraphs I’d make these points:

        1. facilities like this have very high capital cost. They have to be run full time to make them as economical as possible.
        2. Facilities like this have many moving parts (pumps, hydraulics, opening doors, etc. They have to be kept operating or things go wrong, freeze up, break, etc.
        3. The crews of the snow mobiles cannot be kept around doing nothing while the wind is not providing the power requirement.
        4. Transmission systems are essential to the wind farms wherever they are located. A transmission network would be essential to maximise and optimise the power output form various locations.
        5. However, even with this, there will be power fluctuations, so it will be essential to have diesel backup if wind is to be the main source of power. (BTW, if nuclear power is substituted for wind, the total cost of CO2 sequestration would be about halved.)
        6. Let’s just assume for a moment that what you say is correct, the processes are not time critical and the equipment can run at variable speed and stop indefinitely without problems. In tat case we’d need more plants and more wind farms to produce the same output of CO2 snow. That means increasing the capital cost. If the energy output is say half of full capacity, the capital cost would be double. There’d also be a lot more CO2 leakage. In fact, the whole scheme would be far less viable than it is already. Reliable power supply would be essential.
        7. You say you don’t need a transmissions system. The demand is for 230 GW of power (at 85% capacity factor). That would require about 650 GW of wind farms (to minimise diesel use) and 230 GW of diesel back up or about 230 GW of nuclear. Clearly we’d need a very large transmission system for 650 GW of wind power. That’s over ten times greater than the capacity of Australia’s electricity grid
        8. However, that’s not all. It’s been pointed out to me by email that there is an error in the calculations. The 4 billion tonnes refers to tonnes of C not tonnes of CO2. So the capacity of deposition plant, energy required, electricity generation system and transmissions system all need to be increased by a factor of 3.66.

        I reckon you got it right in your last paragraph. It’s not viable.

        Thanks again for the comment. All constructive comments help to extract the information and help to educate all readers.

  16. *Sigh*

    Summarizing some of the above with maybe some new: To the proposal meeting, please bring:

    1) Cost/benefit/risk/profit evaluation…Haven’t completed that one yet? Well…better work late this week or it’s going to be a short, ugly meeting.

    2) Engineering feasibility. Phase 1 – the usual large project decision tree: Anyone building stuff on this scale yet? Yes – a) Cost b) availability over time c) installation logistics … No – Produce requirements for engineers – feed them – keep them happy. And the true waterfall begins after that usually rather lengthy phase. Phase 2 – Plan calendar/content – determine “true” costs. (In gov’t projects, “true” costs are the things that always get reported on the news as being overrun.) Phase 3 – Implementation. This varies some with the prototype approach described. Phase 4 – testing (any volunteers for year round on-site?) Phase 5 – GA

    3) Since we have an obvious logistics issue, any proposals for mitigating? You have a 5-7 month working season in Antarctica (Our son commanded logistic support for the AF opening of McMurdo one season. He was part of the gig that ported Ann Curry down there for her Today Show show and tell.) Planes do not fly in and out for months. Ships are even more restricted. The trains are notoriously slow (sorry – couldn’t stop myself). The human risk in terms of flight and ocean operations for year round support is extreme – prepare for new version of “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” with new geography and include a verse for planes. (This alone raises many issues. i.e. Got an equipment failure “down south” in July? Hope it can wait. How much experience with large scale production in this environment do we have as a race? 0. etc.)

    As a casual film buff, this somehow reminds me of the old Mickey Rooney musicals: “Hey! I know! Let’s put on a show!” Looks good when you pay $.50 to watch a movie about it (back in the day). Not so good when you’re a producer trying to feed a bunch of whiny actors and pay your investors.

    • Curiuos George

      Right on! It is an interesting and extremely wasteful proposal – for example after spending a lot of energy to cool the air, the cold air seems to be just blown out, no attempt to recoup the energy. The authors are apparently not refrigeration engineers, even though Fig. 5 indicates that one of them once bought a refrigerator.

      Summary: A very amateurishly presented idea in this raw state should not pass a peer review.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        for example after spending a lot of energy to cool the air, the cold air seems to be just blown out, no attempt to recoup the energy

        Indeed. As I pointed out abve, a countercurrent heat exchanger would help enormously here.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        What does enormously mean in this instance? Can you quantify it.

        Is it not already included in this: House et al. (2011) http://www.pnas.org/content/108/51/20428.full

      • Vaughan Pratt

        By “enormously” I mean a factor of between 20 and 100, corresponding to an efficiency between 95% and 99%. The goal is to chill only the CO2 and not the air it’s in. 95% efficiency means that chilling the air took only 1/20 of the energy that would have been required with the brute force solution (no countercurrent exchanger).

        The study you cite concerns the energetics of capturing CO2 from the atmosphere, a separate issue. I assume that any solution will consume energy, and view the CO2 in the atmosphere as a “flat battery” in need of recharging. The recharging process is a complete cycle of separating the CO2 and replacing the O2 with H4 to yield CH4, methane, the active ingredient of natural gas. Capturing CO2 and converting it to natural gas is what I view as “recharging” a “flat battery.” Recharging a battery is never 100% efficient, different methods will have different efficiencies. (You see why your earlier questions about sequestering CO2 etc. are irrelevant to the system I’d envisaged.)

        Since there are cheaper sources of carbon than atmospheric CO2, the economics of such system need to take into account the economic benefit of reducing atmospheric CO2 before the idea makes economic sense, a very interesting question that is above my pay grade.

        Since natural gas can be stored, the energy for this process does not need to be constant. Solar energy can be used for this when there is sun, wind energy when there is wind, wave energy when there are waves, and so on. The “recharging” process is merely halted temporarily when no energy source is available.

        Between solar, wind, and waves, the rapidly falling cost of photovoltaics suggest solar as the likely most economical method for this recharging process in the future, even relative to solar thermal. Lack of moving parts also means less maintenance and longer life. Keeping dust, pollen, etc. off the panels adds complexity but it’s manageable compared to that of maintenance of wind, wave, etc.

        By way of perspective, China’s Three Gorges Dam (which I’ve sailed through, very impressive locks) has a capacity of 22.5 GW. China’s target for installed photovoltaic power by 2015 is in the range 15-21 GW. China’s PV market is growing rapidly and therefore can be expected to have surpassed the Three Gorges Dam by 2016. (This is not likely to make the millions of displaced inhabitants of the river upstream of the dam any happier. Conceivably by 2025 they’ll be able to argue that PV alone has made the dam redundant and it can therefore be removed.)

        Total renewable energy of all kinds in China is expected to grow to 574 GW by 2017. Note that nuclear energy is not considered renewable as there is no way of renewing the uranium it consumes. Also many people nowadays view PV as safer than nuclear. (I have 7.5 KW of PV on my roof. I would not like a nuclear power plant of any size on my property as I wouldn’t know what to do with the exhausted fuel rods.)

        One serious problem today with PV in China is that installation is not keeping pace with panel production, resulting in rapidly falling prices of wafers and polysilicon. Bad news for the suppliers but good for the consumers.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        I don’t understand this. Is there a published paper on it?

        Regarding renewable energy to power it, you seem to have a complete blind spot on that. Renewable energy is totally uneconomic an unlikely to ever be economic.

        http://bravenewclimate.com/2012/02/09/100-renewable-electricity-for-australia-the-cost/

        http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/09/emission-cuts-realities/

        Solar energy can be used for this when there is sun, wind energy when there is wind, wave energy when there are waves, and so on. The “recharging” process is merely halted temporarily when no energy source is available.

        You must be joking. That is simply belief. It is the same ideological belief that keeps you going with your CAGW alarmism and anti-nuclear campaigns.

        If the capacity factor of solar is say 20% (much less is more realistic without energy storage), the energy hugely expensive. But more importantly, your plant can produce a maximum of only 20% of the output it would produce if it could run at 100% capacity. So the amortisation payments and fixed operating costs for the plant must be covered by less than 20% of the amount of product that would be provided by a full time power supply.

        (It’s actually much worse than this because of the sin wave distribution of the solar output. This might open your eyes a bit to the real world:
        http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/08/16/solar-power-realities-supply-demand-storage-and-costs/ .

        Your comments about comparing capacity of solar with hydro, nuclear, coal etc. are based on a major confusion. If you read the links I’ve proved above you’ll understand. China is producing solar panels for the western markets which are captured by the Greenies ideology. China’s energy output from solar is miniscule and the rate of growth is a small fraction of the growth from coal and nuclear. You need to think energy production (MWh) not capacity (MW). Nuclear runs at a capacity factor of around 90% and solar PV at about 15% (lifetime average depending on climate).

      • Vaughan Pratt

        I don’t understand this. Is there a published paper on it?

        Not one by me. Had I taken the project further I would have built and tested it before writing a speculative paper claiming it would amount to anything useful. However I decided that any artificial CO2 sink that could draw down even 0.01% of nature’s hyperactive CO2 sink would be a monstrous undertaking, and that there were much more cost-effective ways to reduce atmospheric CO2 than brute-force head-to-head competition with nature.

        That is simply belief. (In response to my “Solar energy can be used for this when there is sun, wind energy when there is wind, wave energy when there are waves, and so on. The “recharging” process is merely halted temporarily when no energy source is available.”)

        Sorry, which of my two sentences is “simply belief” and why? Is there a logical fallacy you can point out, or is it merely your conviction that there is some insurmountable obstacle to what I proposed there?

        It’s actually much worse than this because of the sin wave distribution of the solar output. This might open your eyes a bit to the real world:

        But almost all of your 17-page paper that you’re referring to here depends critically on the argument that you need an equal energy source when there’s no solar power. Your paper uses the strawman argument that any equal energy source that could be brought online during downtime would be insanely expensive.

        The things that you’re able to read from your fable ain’t necessarily so. A system that generates natural gas from carbon (however obtained but surely not by extracting carbon from the atmosphere!) and water only when solar power is available is precisely the economical storage mechanism that your paper claims does not exist. Since we know how to store natural gas, such a system completely shoots down the analysis in your paper. And some other hydrocarbons so manufactured would be even easier to store.

        China’s energy output from solar is miniscule

        Indeed. Currently coal produces 70% of China’s power. And you are by no means alone in your pessimism.

        I imagine many were equally pessimistic about the prospects for airlines in 1930. The fraction of tourists travelling overseas by air was miniscule then. People could not imagine such a tiny industry based on demonstrably dangerous planes would ever amount to anything.

        the rate of growth is a small fraction of the growth from coal

        I don’t understand. Are you contradicting my claim that “China’s target for installed photovoltaic power by 2015 is in the range 15-21 GW,” or are you saying that this amount of growth is a small fraction of the growth from coal? And if the latter, are you measuring growth of an industry in percentages or in absolute numbers?

      • Is there a logical fallacy you can point out

        I already did. But you’ve made it clear you are not interested. You’ve made it clear you believe in renewable energy and not interested in the costs. You just believe and that’s it. So be it. No point wasting any more time on energy policy and economics with you.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        Is there a logical fallacy you can point out

        I already did. But you’ve made it clear you are not interested. You’ve made it clear you believe in renewable energy and not interested in the costs. You just believe and that’s it. So be it. No point wasting any more time on energy policy and economics with you.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        @Peter Lang: I already did.

        If it was 100 pages this might explain why I didn’t understand it.

        If it was one paragraph, any chance you could repeat it here?

        If it was in between, how about we just call it a draw? :)

      • Vaughan Pratt

        You’ve made it clear you believe in renewable energy and not interested in the costs.

        Fine, so let’s accept your hypothesis that renewable energy is unaffordable. After the nonrenewable energy is exhausted (which your colleague Max Manacker claimed just yesterday will be by 2100), are you saying that the human race will no longer be able to afford energy?

      • No, Vaughan, it is not a draw. You are wrong. You don’t have an understanding of the most basic concepts of costing. This the relevant paragraph in the comment you’ve replied to and claim you don’t understand. I suggest you avoided what you didn’t like. If you want to understand more, read the links I’ve provided previously, ask anyone who understands costing, or just do some basic research.

        If the capacity factor of solar is say 20% (much less is more realistic without energy storage), the energy is hugely expensive. But more importantly, your plant can produce a maximum of only 20% of the output (or battery recharge) it would produce if it could run at 100% capacity. So the amortisation payments and fixed operating costs for the plant must be covered by less than 20% of the amount of product (or batter recharge) that would be provided by a full time power supply.

        You smart enough to understand what this mans (I think).

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        There a few strawmen in this latest comment. You really are a bit of a joke, aren’t you?

        No, we will not run out of energy. As I explained yesterday here: http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/27/apocalypse-not/#comment-233511 there is virtually unlimited nuclear fuel in the Earths’s continental crust at what are and will be mineable concentrations.

        What do you mean by “colleague”. Are you colleagues: “Fan of more discourse”, Tempterrain, Robert, Louise, Steve Milesworthy, and the many other economically-irrational, far-Left Greenie fanatics?

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        In case you didn’t know it, a golf-ball sized volume of uranium contains sufficient recoverable energy to provide all of a human’s energy use for their whole life at current average US citizens rate of energy use. That includes all the energy used to make all the products and services a US person uses throughout their life.

        http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/04/22/ifr-fad-4/

      • Vaughan Pratt

        @Peter Lang: In case you didn’t know it, a golf-ball sized volume of uranium contains sufficient recoverable energy to provide all of a human’s energy use for their whole life

        Peter, a golfball made out of uranium may be great for your personal energy needs, but what about the other 7 billion people on the planet? They would need a total of 5 megatonnes of CO2 if they consumed one golfball each of uranium in their respective lifetimes. Since that’s the sum total of known uranium reserves, this would leave exactly zero for their descendants.

        As I said earlier, uranium is not a renewable resource. Please stop ignoring this fundamental fact.

        You are also proposing to stick subsequent generations with 5 megatonnes of depleted uranium, a staggering amount of dangerous material that will pose a radioactive hazard for the next thousand years.

        For these reasons nuclear fission is simply not a practical long-term solution to humanity’s future energy needs. Repeating that it is renewable and perfectly safe does not knock down those reasons, even if you repeat it a hundred times.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        You don’t have an understanding of the most basic concepts of costing.

        If I didn’t, I’d bluster by accusing you of not having such an understanding. It’s a terrific strategy, wouldn’t you say? :)

      • Vaughan Pratt

        @Peter Lang: What do you mean by “colleague”. Are you colleagues: “Fan of more discourse”, Tempterrain, Robert, Louise, Steve Milesworthy, and the many other economically-irrational, far-Left Greenie fanatics?

        Climate Etc. could do worse than have a post on this topic. Using your “far-left greenie fanatic” terminology, we could start from the hypothesis that this and the “far-right skeptic fanatic” group are the only two groups here, and that any two non-colleagues are therefore on opposite sides.

        Given how previous posts have gone, I would say the odds that the subsequent discussion would bring to light a third group are pretty slim. More likely is that the discussion would have meandered off into seventeen different directions by the time Judith posted her next thread.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        Peter, a golfball made out of uranium may be great for your personal energy needs, but what about the other 7 billion people on the planet? They would need a total of 5 megatonnes of CO2 if they consumed one golfball each of uranium in their respective lifetimes. Since that’s the sum total of known uranium reserves, this would leave exactly zero for their descendants.

        As I said earlier, uranium is not a renewable resource. Please stop ignoring this fundamental fact.

        Once again, you’ve sprouted off without understanding what you are talking about. Once again you didn’t even bother to read the link, did you? http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/04/22/ifr-fad-4/ If you won’t read the links I give you, how do you expect to understand what I am telling you?

        Currently known uranium reserves at $130/t are sufficient to provide all the energy for 7 million people at US energy consumption rates for average life expectancy, say 70 years. Reserves are increasing at the rate of about 500,000 tonnes per year http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf75.html. At this rate, reserves are increasing at seven times the rate needed. And that is at the current price. If the price of uranium increases, the reserves are much larger. The amount of uranium at present and future mineable concentrations in the Earth’s continental Crust means uranium resources are effectively unlimited. The of course there is even more thorium. As I said, nuclear fuel is effectively unlimited.

        Volume of a golf ball 40.684 mL
        density of uranium 19.1 g/mL
        Mass of golf ball 777 g
        Mass of 1 billion golf balls 777064 Mg
        Mass of 7 billion golf balls 5,439,451 Mg
        Weight of 7 billion golf balls 5,336,101 t
        Current known U reserves @ $130/t 5,327,200 t
        Reserves are increasing at 500,000 Mt/a
        In 70 years 35,000,000 t

        Will you ever get around to apologising for your vitriolic comments based on your propensity to pontificate on subjects you know nothing about?

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        I’d urge you to read this:http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf75.html
        Starting with this paragraph:

        It is commonly asserted that because “the resources of the earth are finite”, therefore we must face some day of reckoning, and will need to plan for “negative growth”. All this, it is pointed out, is because these resources are being consumed at an increasing rate to support our western lifestyle and to cater for the increasing demands of developing nations. The assertion that we are likely to run out of resources is a re-run of the “Limits to Growth” argument (Club of Rome 1972 popularised by Meadows et al in Limits of Growth at that time. (A useful counter to it is W Berckerman, In Defence of Economic Growth, also Singer, M, Passage to a Human World, Hudson Inst. 1987). In the decade following its publication world bauxite reserves increased 35%, copper 25%, nickel 25%, uranium and coal doubled, gas increased 70% and even oil increased 6%.) fashionable in the early 1970s, which was substantially disowned by its originators, the Club of Rome, and shown up as nonsense with the passing of time. It also echoes similar concerns raised by economists in the 1930s, and by Malthus at the end of the 18th Century.

        If you don’t like the source, there are many others, including ones that estimate the quantity of uranium and thorium in the Earth’s continental crust at mineable concentrations.

      • “Since that’s the sum total of known uranium reserves, this would leave exactly zero for their descendants.

        As I said earlier, uranium is not a renewable resource. Please stop ignoring this fundamental fact.

        You are also proposing to stick subsequent generations with 5 megatonnes of depleted uranium, a staggering amount of dangerous material that will pose a radioactive hazard for the next thousand years.”

        Uranium doesn’t fit the definition of a renewable energy resource.
        But nuclear fuel available on Earth is more than we need for thousands if not millions of years.

        Depleted uranium is not a dangerous material. It’s natural uranium which has the radioactive uranium isotope removed from it. Natural uranium is also not a dangerous material, but depleted uranium is obviously less radioactive than natural uranium. Natural uranium is quite abundant.
        In terms of abundance in earth crust:
        Natural uranium is 2.7 ppm
        thorium is 9.6
        The bigger abundant element are:
        oxygen: 461,000 ppm
        silicon: 282,000
        aluminum: 82,300
        iron: 56,300
        These four total: 881,600 out of a million

        So say a random ton of sand or gravel will be mostly these four element but will also have 1 or 2 grams of uranium. Whereas uranium ore could have a significant concentration of uranium.
        “Pitchblende and uraninite contain theoretically up to 85 per cent uranium but actually between 50 and 80 per cent…..
        The majority of uranium-bearing minerals, however, contain uranium in small or trace amounts as an accessory to other major constituents”

        http://www.dangerouslaboratories.org/radore.html

        Or in other words one can mine uranium from Pitchblende, but most uranium is actually mine as byproduct something else one mining. Or say you could mining lead a significant “impurity” might be uranium.

      • gbaikie said:
        As I said earlier, uranium is not a renewable resource. Please stop ignoring this fundamental fact.”

        Please stop with the specious arguments. It does not matter that there isn’t an infinite supply of a given energy source. If you know anything, you will know that even the Sun will burn out. So just stop the BS.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        As the foregoing arguments make very clear, advocates of nuclear energy see no shortage of uranium. For my part I see no shortage of those who do see uranium shortages coming right up, for example Reuters, Forbes. UraniumBlog (“the industry and investor source for uranium intel, media & news”), etc.

        There is indeed “a great deal of controversy about how much uranium will be available for future use” as pointed out here before going on to cite the conclusions of this well-documented 48-page 2006 report from the Energy Watch Group based in Europe.

        As you point out above, the core of your reasoning boils down to the following reasonably succinct and self-contained argument.

        If the capacity factor of solar is say 20% (much less is more realistic without energy storage), the energy is hugely expensive. But more importantly, your plant can produce a maximum of only 20% of the output (or battery recharge) it would produce if it could run at 100% capacity. So the amortisation payments and fixed operating costs for the plant must be covered by less than 20% of the amount of product (or batter recharge) that would be provided by a full time power supply.

        This argument would have been reasonable a few years ago. But with for example coal approaching $5 a watt and solar $1 a watt, even including amortisation payments a capacity factor of 20% makes it break even (operating costs for coal are already more than a factor of five greater than for solar). And if the current trends in increasing coal costs and decreasing solar costs continue it won’t remain break-even for long.

        The one other factually correct premise of your argument was that I’m dumb. But while I privately berate myself for that fact every time I comment here, how it supports your argument has so far eluded me.

        gbaikie: Depleted uranium is not a dangerous material.

        Not according to this article.

        However that’s beside the point as I should have said “spent fuel rods.” (People do talk about depleted fuel rods, but that terminology conflicts with the other meaning you’re referring to.) My point was that nuclear advocates don’t seem at all concerned that the glowing future of nuclear power includes glowing waste products.

      • “gbaikie: Depleted uranium is not a dangerous material.

        Not according to this article.”

        There is a lot junk science out there.

        However I do argue with this article:
        “A consequence of uranium enrichment in the US has been the accumulation of nearly 740,000 metric tons of depleted uranium hexafluoride (UF6) tails.1 While this material was once considered a feed stock for the United States Breeder Reactor Program, it is no longer needed.
        Alternative uses of depleted uranium are few. Some have been used for medical isotope transport casks, some for industrial radioactive source shields, some for military anti-tank projectiles, some for tank armor, and other minor applications. However, the cumulative total of these uses has not made a dent in the overall inventory.
        Consequently, the USDOE has a massive inventory of material to deal with and the states of Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee want something done with it. UF6 is a solid at room temperature but converts to a gas at about 56°C. Exposed to the atmosphere, it readily reacts with moisture
        in the air to form toxic hydrogen fluoride and a soluble uranium compound – uranium oxyfluoride. Consequently, the states claim it is a hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).”

        http://web.evs.anl.gov/uranium/pdf/ducretecosteffec.pdf

        To review the government decided it was going store depleted uranium hexafluoride (UF6) tails, I assume because they convinced themselves it could have value in regards to re-processing for Breeder Reactor Program, then decided it would not useful- I imagine because thorium is better.

        So I would agree that depleted uranium hexafluoride (UF6) tailings, is a hazardous material [needs proper storage and/or be processed into something more useful [and not a hazardous material requiring expensive storage]. But if the uranium hexafluoride (UF6) tailings were made into uranium metal or some other compound, then it’s no longer a a hazardous material. Unless our idea of hazardous material are things like lead, or copper or any just about any rock.

      • “However I do argue with this article:”

        I meant: However I do not argue with this article:

      • Vaughan Pratt

        @gbaikie: But if the uranium hexafluoride (UF6) tailings were made into uranium metal or some other compound, then it’s no longer a a hazardous material.

        This is a fair point. By the same token, if the asbestos used in buildings for insulation and as a fire retardant were made into solid blocks of asbestos it would no longer be a hazardous material. On that basis I can’t imagine why anyone would consider asbestos a hazardous material.

      • “This is a fair point. By the same token, if the asbestos used in buildings for insulation and as a fire retardant were made into solid blocks of asbestos it would no longer be a hazardous material. On that basis I can’t imagine why anyone would consider asbestos a hazardous material.”

        Correct.
        As example fiberglass is of course made from glass, and glass isn’t normally considered a hazardous material. And fiberglass is only hazardous in certain situations.
        And asbestos or fiberglass are dangerous mainly because of the size and shape of the material.
        And asbestos occur naturally in certain types of rock, and as rock it’s not a hazard- unless the rock is pulverized and humans breath these particles of asbestos.
        Of course large quality of almost any type material [not just asbestos or fiberglass] can harmful in significant quantities- though much lower quantity of asbestos can more dangerous than other types of fine particles.
        So people should not imagine asbestos a hazardous material, but instead need to understand in what situations asbestos and types of asbestos can be dangerous to human life.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asbestos

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        This argument would have been reasonable a few years ago. But with for example coal approaching $5 a watt and solar $1 a watt, even including amortisation payments a capacity factor of 20% makes it break even (operating costs for coal are already more than a factor of five greater than for solar).

        You still have not understood the difference between capacity (MW) and energy generated (MWh). You have not understood what capacity factor means. You have not understood what it means to match power supplied to meet power demand (solar is spectacularly useless at this). And, importantly, you have not understood how the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) is calculated, You keep talking about cost of capacity when you should be comparing technologies in the basis of the cost of electricity that meets the demand requirements. With solar and wind, that means they need fossil fuel back up to provide the power when the solar and wind plants cannot meet demand (for whatever reason).

        The raw cost of electricity from wind solar and new coal power stations (you must also add the cost of backup generation for solar and wind, and higher transmission costs, to get a proper comparison):

        Coal = $84/MWh (Table 4.9)
        Nuclear = $96/MWh (Table 4.37)
        Solar PV (large commercial power stations) = 224/MWh (Table 4.26)
        Solar thermal w/o storage = $304/MWh (Table 4.24)
        Solar thermal w/ 6h storage = $311/MWh (Table 4.25)
        Add around $196/MWh for open cycle gas turbine (OCGT) for back up for wind and solar (at 10% CF) (Table 4.19)

        Reference: http://bree.gov.au/documents/publications/Australian-Energy-Technology-Assessment.pdf

        When you add the cost of back up, Solar is around $400-$500/MWh, or around five times the cost of coal.

        So your statement “ operating costs for coal are already more than a factor of five greater than for solar” is blatantly WRONG!.

        In fact, the reverse is the case. The cost of solar generated electricity is around a factor of five greater than coal on a properly comparable basis.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        Making a superhuman effort to rise above the idiots surrounding you, if only momentarily, let me try to address your concerns.

        When people speak of the cost of power (watts) in the context of power plants they’re referring to construction costs, while when they’re speaking of energy (joules, Wh, BTU) they’re referring to operating costs. I confess to some surprise that an ANU-trained geologist would not be aware of this.

        The only reason I even mentioned operating costs at all is that you had carelessly mixed amortisation payments (part of construction costs) and operating costs in the one thought, which I separated by putting the latter in parentheses so as not to distract from what we’d been discussing, namely construction costs.

        So can we please stick to construction costs for now? We can return to operating costs later if we reach any kind of agreement on construction costs, which you haven’t addressed here.

        Apropos of operating costs, I’m also surprised you didn’t know that LCOE stands for Levelised Cost Of Energy, as you’ll see from what Google offers in response to typing just the word
        levelised

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        What on Earth is all that garble about. You clearly haven’t a clue. And then you googled Wiki and LCOE came up as ‘Levelised cost of energy’ and you don’t even have sufficient background to realise that LCOE normally and virtually always until recently has referred to Levelised cost of electricity.

        You made a point of raising the issue to try to demonstrate my lack of knowledge of the subject matter, and instead showed your own ignorance.

        This reveals plainly how little you know.

        Capital cost is just one component of LCOE. for some technologies it makes up perhaps 80% of the cost of electricity, for others perhaps 20% of the cost of electricity. The only way to compare technologies properly is on the basis of cost of electricity ON A PROPERLY COMPARABLE BASIS!. To do that you need to include in the costs of electricity from unreliable, the cost of the back up and extra transmission costs.

        A suggestion. You’d do far better to play the role of student (as opposed to BS teacher) on subjects you know nothing about.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        What on Earth is all that garble about.

        This is a common response from you, indicating a failure to communicate. The channel is clearly broken for some reason and I’m not in a mood right now to debug it.

        LCOE normally and virtually always until recently has referred to Levelised cost of electricity.

        Google gets 177,000 hits for “levelized cost of energy” and 126,000 for “levelized cost of electricity” so I guess we’re not all that far apart, though I wouldn’t call 42% “virtually always.”

        You’d do far better to play the role of student (as opposed to BS teacher) on subjects you know nothing about.

        Are you offering to be the teacher? Good students can usually tell when their teachers know less than they do. One way to tell is when the teacher spends more time insulting the class than focusing on the facts.

        I should correct myself on calling amortisation a construction cost however. Depreciation of the fair market value of something like a power plant should be considered an operating cost. I did get that bit wrong — my physics honours degree didn’t cover that sort of thing.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        When people speak of the cost of power (watts) in the context of power plants they’re referring to construction costs, while when they’re speaking of energy (joules, Wh, BTU) they’re referring to operating costs. I confess to some surprise that an ANU-trained geologist would not be aware of this.

        The statements in the first two sentences are wrong. The third is the sort of typical remark you make frequently in your comments (and have done always, just like Robert and many other CAGW Alarmists and ‘Progressives’). It was such a remark that I responded to originally. I now realise you are just an arrogant twit who continually BS about things he knows nothing about.

        When people speak of the cost of power (watts) in the context of power plants they’re referring to construction costs

        Wrong! You just made that up, didn’t you?

        The capital cost of a plant is called by various terms (Overnight Cost, capital cost, Total Plant Cost, Total Capital Requirement, and many others). It includes much more than just the construction cost. The cost per kW is normally referred to as the capital cost per kW, capacity cost, unit capital cost or commonly cost per peak watt for the ‘unreliables’ like solar. When we talk about the cost of power, it commonly refers to the cost of electricity. When you receive your ‘power bill’, it is actually your bill for the electricity (energy) you have used. Yes, it is not technically correct, but that is how the electricity industry works. So, cost of power does not refer to the construction cost.

        Once again, you are wrong and shown to know nothing about the subject you are quite happy to BS about and quite happy to mislead the gullible followers (like Tony Duncan and Tempterrain) who accept and believe every word of rubbish you sprout.

        when they’re speaking of energy (joules, Wh, BTU) they’re referring to operating costs.

        Rubbish! The cost of electricity includes:
        • capital cost
        • financing costs during construction
        • financing costs for the economic life of the plant or the ammortisation period
        • fixed operation and maintenance costs
        • variable operation and maintenance costs
        • fuel costs
        • decommissioning costs
        • disposal costs
        • fuel waste management costs
        • carbon capture and sequestration costs
        • owners costs.

        So, cost of energy is not just operating costs. Once again you are clearly wrong and couldn’t be more wrong.

        I confess to some surprise that an MIT teacher would not be aware of any of this.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        The only way to compare technologies properly is on the basis of cost of electricity ON A PROPERLY COMPARABLE BASIS!

        And how would you propose to do this for the transport industry’s energy needs when less than 1% of them are being met by electricity? A few automobiles, buses, and trains run on electricity, but no ships or planes do and most of the rest of the transport industry doesn’t either.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        One way to tell is when the teacher spends more time insulting the class than focusing on the facts.

        It surprising then, given the way you and the other CAGW Alarmists and Progressives are continually name calling (e.g. ‘Deniers’) and abusing people that don’t accept your beliefs, there are so many ‘Progressives’ involved in teaching.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        And how would you propose to do this for the transport industry’s energy needs when less than 1% of them are being met by electricity?

        More obfuscation, attempted diversions, attempts to muddy the waters. The current discussion is about electricity.

        There is not point in moving on to total world energy when you can’t even understand or accept the basics on electricity.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        It surprising then, given the way you and the other CAGW Alarmists and Progressives are continually name calling (e.g. ‘Deniers’)

        Who has used the term “d****r” more in their comments, you or me?

        and abusing people that don’t accept your beliefs

        And who has dished out more abuse, you or me? Half a dozen people have complained to you about your abuse of them, and even though they haven’t abused you, you’ve abused them as being hypocrites for so complaining.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        The statements in the first two sentences are wrong.

        This would be more convincing if it hadn’t stopped right there.

        I now realise you are just an arrogant twit who continually BS about things he knows nothing about.

        Relax, Peter, it goes with the territory. Everyone who disagrees with you is likely to seem that way.

        Wrong! You just made that up, didn’t you?

        One third right. I did make it up, but in high school. It’s kind of obvious, though you seem to think not.

        So, cost of energy is not just operating costs.

        Hey, we agree on something. Progress (of sorts). Though I wouldn’t go thermonuclear and make cost of energy the sum of a huge laundry list if there were some way of simplifying it. Otherwise the public is going to feel you’re just trying to pull the wool over their eyes.

        I confess to some surprise that an MIT teacher would not be aware of any of this.

        I certainly couldn’t object to that,
        (a) because it’s so politely put and
        (b) because your Australian colleagues have known you a lot longer and would have a better idea of what could surprise you.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        The current discussion is about electricity.

        My mistake, my apologies. I was laboring under the misimpression that the current discussion was about CO2 in the Antarctic. I hadn’t realized that proposal was about electricity.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        The cost per kW is normally referred to as the capital cost per kW, capacity cost, unit capital cost or commonly cost per peak watt for the ‘unreliables’ like solar.

        Yes, that’s what I was trying to explain to you. So you do understand it after all. Watts is capital cost or whatever you want to call it. Joules is energy is operating costs. Great, we actually agree on something!

        When we talk about the cost of power, it commonly refers to the cost of electricity. When you receive your ‘power bill’, it is actually your bill for the electricity (energy) you have used. Yes, it is not technically correct, but that is how the electricity industry works.

        I have no idea how electricity bills are worded in Australia. At the top of my PG&E bill it says in the middle “WE DELIVER ENERGY” and at the right “Energy Statement.”

        The electricity industry in Australia may well be confused on that point for all I know, but your complaint is with them, not with PG&E, who understand the distinction between energy and power perfectly. PG&E delivers energy.

    • jbmckim,

      In my calculation here: http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/24/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic/#comment-231960
      the cost of electricity accounts for 90% of the cost of operating the system. That is based on $400/MWh. My estimates are that the cost is fairly incensitive to everything else.

      I felt that $400.MWh should be reasonable. However, if we make it $500/MWh, the CO2 abatement cost changes from $75/t CO2 to $93/t CO2.

      That is still in the ball park of reasonable.

      I feel the biggest uncertainties are on leakage of CO2 from the storage sites over 100 years and a probable underestimate in the amount of energy required per tonne of CO2 extracted from the atmosphere.

    • jbmckim,

      I don’t see the issue with getting labour to work in Antarctica. The CAGW Alarmists, Greens, ‘Progressives’ are always pleading for cold. They can volunteer. We could offer to send them there for free.

      The only problem is, I am not sure if any of them are willing to work.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        The only problem is, I am not sure if any of them are willing to work.

        Good point. They should base their work ethic on yours and work on arguing against alternative energy.

  17. When I read “A Modest Proposal for Sequestration of CO2 in the Antarctic,” I was hoping for something more Swiftian. Like a landfill filled with hypocritical CAGW advocates like Al Gore and Thomas Friedman who rant about how everyone else must do with less energy, while themselves having a carbon footprint equal to Guam.

    • So you imagined a kind of concentration camp setup where people you disagree with are gassed and buried naked in large icy pits.

      Interesting idea!

      • lurker passing through, laughing

        Climate consensus fanatics have already proposed such final solutions for skeptics.

      • When the popular perception of these pseudoscientists is such that they find themselves at risk of physical assault whenever and wherever they show themselves in public, I can slack off.

      • lurker passing through, laughing

        lolwot,
        The lie about scientists and physical threats was busted long ago. You seem stuck in a short loop of bs.
        So you can slack off, slacker.

    • lurker passing through, laughing

      +1

  18. This is the way it is done in the oil field. This could be combined with refrigeration, as described in the article, along with a small nuclear reactor. The amine plant would capture and concentrate the CO2 gas which could then be converted to dry ice.

    • jim2

      agree – not sure why this wouldn’t be an obvious first step before doing what is proposed in the article, in order to vastly increase the CO2 concentration. if the amine or similar treating would work at temperatures and pressures akin to what is going on in the Antarctic.

      • You could just run the amine loop, spraying the solution through a huge volume until enough CO2 was captured. The fire up the rest of the system to extract the CO2 from the amine.

      • oops meant that as a reply. threading usually works for me even when it’s not working for others oh well.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        spraying the solution through a huge volume until enough CO2 was captured

        Would that volume be more or less than that of the North Sea? Numbers, please.

      • Actually, capturing the CO2 at the source makes more sense. But all this discussion is predicated on the idea sequestration is necessary. It may not be.

      • sure, it may not be necessary. but if it is, i am not sure capturing it at the source *always* makes more sense. there are transportation and storage issues…and there are mobile sources which can’t be captured.

  19. right, but you wouldn’t want to have to pre-heat the air to get it warm enough for the first reaction to proceed at a reasonable rate. would you have to? that would sort of defeat the point. as I understand it

    • Amines are a strong base and the reaction product is a salt. Even at low temperatures, I think the reaction would work, but a design study would have to be done for the cold environment. Even if some heat is needed, a small nuclear reactor could handle it.

  20. You know, the oceans do a heck of a job at sequestering CO2 (just look at the Grand Canyon) and turning it into dolomite and limestone. Why in heaven’s name is anyone trying to re-invent the wheel here when a little augmentation of mother nature’s handywork would likely be much much easier, more reliable and cheaper? In fact it works best with warm shallow seas!

    • er, um, they do it especially well when the co2 sequestration is biological. thus the ocean fertilization stuff. i think the allure of ambient co2 capture is the ‘no-harm’ idea. sulfate aerosols are still the way cheapest geoengineering proposal – if they work and don’t have nasty side effects and who compensates the farmers and all that….!!!!

  21. Are the wind industry people desperate, or what?

    • I think this scheme is great to get them out of the way. Send them to Antarctica and they can build as many wind farms as they like.

  22. Steven Mosher

    Your personal carbon allowance. 30 tons per person.
    you have 5 to 6 years left in your allowance.

    Air capture. we better learn how to do it

    • Vaughan Pratt

      @Steven Mosher: Your personal carbon allowance. 30 tons per person.
      you have 5 to 6 years left in your allowance.
      Air capture. we better learn how to do it

      As I wrote above, a more cost effective way than air capture is to reduce CO2 emissions and let nature do all the air capture. Beating nature at her own game is simply not cost effective compared to the alternative.

      I went outside just now to read the meter on my solar panel inverter and it claims that by using solar instead of the grid I’ve reduced CO2 emissions by 95,752 pounds (48 US tons, 44 metric) since June 2008. That’s for a family of 3, so 16 tons each. Four more years and we’ll be past your 30 tons per person, at least as measured by reduction of CO2 emissions.

      We sell a lot of our solar electricity back to PG&E at $0.29 a kilowatt-hour during the summer (less in winter and at latitude 37 N there’s a lot less sun as well so winter’s a dead loss). Without solar panels the amount of CO2 we’d have been responsible for by using the grid would have been perhaps half of that 48 tons, the other half is what we’ve saved PG&E (or their customers depending on how you look at it). (We use a lot more electricity in summer because of air conditioning and the pool pumps. Our winter heating is natural gas, our house is well insulated, and the pool is mostly shut down for winter.)

      The meter says we’ve generated 56,300 kWh of electricity. This is with a 7.5 kW system operating for 37500 hours (i.e. since June 2008). Efficiency is therefore 56300/(7.5*37500) = 20%, equivalent to running a 1.5 kW system 24/7 year round. (Actually I’m surprised it’s that high.)

      Our annual electric bill dropped by an order of magnitude after the installation.

      Further to the question of efficiency, we have an effective 40 m2 of panel. Using 1 kW/m2 as a nominal figure for power received at Earth’s surface by a panel aimed straight at the Sun, the panel efficiency of a 7.5 kW panel system is 7.5/40 = 19%. Combining that with the usage efficiency of 20%, that means that about 4% of the power that would be incident on the panel if the Sun stayed put above us gets turned into electrical power. But since perhaps 1/5 of that actually falls on the panels, due to pollen, clouds, night, winter, etc. our overall efficiency should be closer to 20% of actual received energy. Whether the 4% or 20% figure is the applicable one depends on what you’re taking a percentage of, peak solar power under optimal conditions or average solar power 24/7 year round.

      • Vaughan,
        I think as a rule-of-thumb, you can assume that you get 1kW/m2 for 5 hours every day almost anywhere in the US. That works out to an efficiency of nearly 20% (5/24) as you say. Data here:

        http://rredc.nrel.gov/solar/old_data/nsrdb/1961-1990/redbook/sum2/23234.txt

      • RB,

        It’s not that simple. The distribution of the power output is a sine curve during a clear overcast day. However, it is interrupted by clouds, bad weather and shadows from trees and buildings. It is less in winter than in summer. But demand for power is a quite different shape.

        As a real world example, the capacity factors at the Queanbeyan Solar Farm (an industrial installation run by Country Energy, one of Australia’s largest electricity distribution companies) average 13% all year round, 9% for 3 months of winter, and down to less than 1% on some days: http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/08/16/solar-power-realities-supply-demand-storage-and-costs/

        It is the minimum that counts because the power must be supplied whether the sun is shining or not. Therefore, the electricity system must be designed to provide reliable power on demand. That means the renewable energy generators must be backed up almost entirely by fossil fuel generators. As a result, the only cost that intermittent renewable energy avoids is some fuel. But not much.

        That is why the cost of renewable energy is so high, as I pointed out in another comment:

        To the cost of electricity from wind and solar power stations you must add the cost of backup generation and higher transmission costs, to get a proper comparison: Here are some costs of electricity for new power stations, taken from the latest Australian Government AETA 2012 report for comparison:

        Coal = $84/MWh (Table 4.9)
        Nuclear = $96/MWh (Table 4.37)
        Solar PV (large commercial power stations) = 224/MWh (Table 4.26)
        Solar thermal w/o storage = $304/MWh (Table 4.24)
        Solar thermal w/ 6h storage = $311/MWh (Table 4.25)
        Add around $196/MWh for open cycle gas turbine (OCGT) for back up for wind and solar (at 10% CF) (Table 4.19)

        Reference: http://bree.gov.au/documents/publications/Australian-Energy-Technology-Assessment.pdf

        When you add the cost of back up, Solar is around $400-$500/MWh, or around five times the cost of electricity generated by coal.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        As a result, the only cost that intermittent renewable energy avoids is some fuel. But not much.

        Why would it not avoid variable operating and maintenance costs? According to the first table here, that plus fuel for a conventional coal plant in 2017 can be close to 90% of all operating and maintenance costs. Does that sound like “not much?”

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        As a result, the only cost that intermittent renewable energy avoids is some fuel. But not much.

        Why would it not avoid variable operating and maintenance costs?

        Yes, wind avoids some VOM as well. In the table you looked at the fuel costs are included in the VOM. The fuel is the main component. So your point is nit picking.

        The important point is the wind and solar power do not avoid as much fuel or CO2 emissions as is commonly stated by their proponents and assumed in many studies. I given many references on this in previous comments, and here is one:

        http://www.clepair.net/statlineanalyse201208.html

        From the conclusions:

        Adding it all up, one must conclude that under the present conditions in the Netherlands a 100 MW (Megawatt) ‘name plate’ capacity wind development produces on average 23 MW because of the capacity factor. 4,6 MW (20%) of this has to be subtracted from the final net result because of initial energy investments. From the actual Statline production figures we know that 27% of this 23 MW = 6,17 MW represents the actual fossil fuel and CO2 savings. But from this figure we need to subtract the amount of energy invested in the construction works: 4,6 MW. The net total of fuel saving electricity provided by our windturbines therefore is 6,17 – 4,6 = 1,57 MW on average over the year. That is ~ 1,6% of the installed capacity. It makes wind developments a Mega money pit with virtually no merit in terms of the intended goal of CO2 emission reduction or fossil fuel saving.

        Here is another:
        Herbert Inhaber (2011) “Why wind power does not deliver the expected emissions reductions

        http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032111000864

        Here is another:
        “Emissions savings from Wind power”

        http://joewheatley.net/emissions-savings-from-wind-power/

        For EirGrid (Ireland):

        As expected, wind generation does reduce CO2 emissions. A linear regression fit suggests an emissions saving ~ -0.38tCO2/MWh. However, the real world relationship between wind generation and emissions is clearly non-linear. At wind generation ~600MW, fuel savings begin to slow. Above ~800MW, they cease altogether. Above 1000MW, emissions increase again.

        note comment #18:

        I looked at CO2 savings per MWh of wind generation (relative to savings at zero wind penetration) as you suggested.
        Here are the numbers:
        Wind Penetration CO2 Savings
        0% 100%
        10% 90%
        20% 77%
        30% 62%
        40% 47%
        It is close to a linear decline.

        Here is another:
        Gordon Hughes (2012) “Why is wind power so expensive

        http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032111000864

        Here is the latest estimates and projections for new electricity generation technologies for Australia
        Australian Government Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, “Australian Energy Technology Assessment 2012

      • Peter Lang and Vaughan Pratt

        This is not rocket science, guys.

        A wind plant operates when the wind is “just right”.

        Very optimistically, that’s 30% of the time.

        (Solar plants are no better in this regard).

        This means that a wind plant needs backup from another more reliable source for the other 70% of the time.

        (Drive around the countryside a bit, and you’ll see a lot of idle wind turbines out there. One cannot simply assume that the customers will only consume power when the wind is “just right”.)

        The backup source will most likely be one that can be turned on and off fairly easily, such as a modern gas-fired plant.

        This means that up to 70% of the kWh generated over a year will come from a gas-fired plant.

        Not only does one have to calculate in the capital investment for this stand-by plant, but one must also calculate in the running costs (incl. fuel) for up to 70% of the year.

        (For those worried about AGW, one also has to include the CO2 emissions during this 70% of the time.)

        Most calculations I have seen gloss over these facts, either ignoring them entirely or grossly underestimating them.

        Don’t fall into that trap.

        Max

      • Yes, Max. But its even worse than that. The renewable energy proponents and most people think that if wind power generates say 30% of the energy, it will avoid the emissions from the 30% of energy that would otherwise have been generated by fossil fuels.

        This is not correct. Only part of those emissions are avoided. The reason is that the fossil fuels are less efficient when backing up for wind power. Here are some of the reasons:

        Some fossil fuel generators have to remain running but not generating ready to pick up load immediately if the power from the wind generators fades away.

        Some fossil fuels generators run part loaded ready to increase their power output if called upon to do so

        Fossil fuel generators are frequently shut down when it seem they will not be needed and started up when it appears they may be needed.

        The fossil fuel plants consume more fuel and emit more CO2 when they are ramping up and ramping down their power output to fill in for the changing power output from the wind farms. You can think of this like the difference between the fuel consumption of your car when driving on the highway compared with driving in stop start traffic.

        All this consumes more fuel and emits more CO2 than would be the case if the fossil fuels were operating at their optimum efficiency, or just responding to demand without the added inefficiency caused by the intermittent renewable energy generators.

      • Peter Lang

        Thanks for that.

        Got your point.

        Even the (optimistically reckoned) 30% savings in fuel/CO2 is a figure that can only be approached asymptotically in actual fact..

        There are a lot of bogus numbers flying around out there.

        Max

      • Just to add another point, the “Even the (optimistically reckoned) 30%” capacity factor is not achieved in practice (in most grids). There are many reasons:

        – best sites have already been taken
        – wind farms have operating failures
        – transmission lines to wind farms have failures
        – some of the power has to be spilled because the grid can’t handle it.

        So 30% capacity factor, average across all wind farms in a grid, is too high in most cases.

        Also, the economic life of wind farms is turning out to be much shorter than is generally claimed.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        @manacker: This means that a wind plant needs backup from another more reliable source for the other 70% of the time.

        Very true, Max. Peter also makes a good point about the increased inefficiency of a coal plant that has to ramp up and down to fill the gaps, which invalidates naive proportionality arguments.

        To assess this inefficiency one should distinguish between instantaneous, spinning, and standing reserves, whose inefficiency characteristics and costs vary. The amounts of extra backup and balancing costs needed for wind energy, taking this into account, are treated in considerable detail in this 53-page Intermittency Literature Survey & Roadmap.

        But how variable is wind energy from a geographically dispersed set of wind farms, as opposed to a single wind farm? Figure 2 on p.8 of the above survey shows considerably less variability for distributed farms, which it explains as follows: “The smoothing occurs because wind fluctuations are not perfectly correlated across the country, and the work reported by NGC to the Energy Review (ref. 11) suggests that the correlation coefficient falls to around 0.5 at a distance of 300 km, and to 0.2 at 800 km.” More details in the survey.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        The inconsistency of wind generation over wide areas is well known and well covered in the literature. But you need to get away from reading just the stuff based on idealistic models and reported by the renewable energy advocates.

        Here are charts of actual output from wind farms in the Australian National Energy Market. The Australian National Grid has, reportedly, the largest areal extent of any electricity grid in the world. The wind farms span an area of 1200 km east-west, but 800 km north-south.

        See the charts here: http://windfarmperformance.info/
        Select May 2010 http://windfarmperformance.info/documents/analysis/monthly/aemo_wind_201005_hhour.pdf and notice how there was virtually no wind generation for 4 days across the entire area, and <10% capacity factor for 10 days. During that time there were 65-5 minute periods when the wind farms were drawing more power than they were generating. That’s across the whole area of 1200 km east-west by 800 km north-south.

        You also have to add the cost of transmission. The transmission lines have to be sized to carry the full potential power output from each and every wind farm, but they contribute less than 30% of that power on average. And the transmission lines are very long; much longer than to fossil fuel or nuclear plants. That all adds to the cost.
        See Figure 7 and accompanying text here: http://bravenewclimate.com/2012/02/09/100-renewable-electricity-for-australia-the-cost/

      • Vaughan Pratt

        But you need to get away from reading just the stuff based on idealistic models and reported by the renewable energy advocates.

        I’ve been trying to read the whole gamut, including BNC which seems carefully researched. I notice you cited a number of tables from http://bree.gov.au/documents/publications/Australian-Energy-Technology-Assessment.pdf . As it seems very comprehensive, would that be suitable reading?

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        I’ve been trying to read the whole gamut, including BNC which seems carefully researched. I notice you cited a number of tables from http://bree.gov.au/documents/publications/Australian-Energy-Technology-Assessment.pdf . As it seems very comprehensive, would that be suitable reading?

        The short answer is yes, that would be a good place to get some background and up to date cost figures. You can also download the model in Excel. Then you can change inputs and generate your own LCOE for your own circumstances.

        http://bree.gov.au/publications/micro/index.html

        Here is a longer answer.

        This is the latest in a series. Unfortunately, since the current government came to power (five years ago), there has been considerable political influence regarding what should and should not be included in these reports. So, during this time nuclear has been excluded from the Australian Government reports because it is not Labor party policy to even consider it as an option. This is the first time in about 5 years nuclear has been allowed to be included again. That is a good sign. Unfortunately, I feel that the cost projections for nuclear for future years are influenced by politics. I don’t quibble with the current costs. I think they have done a fairly good job. However, I note that the steering group has been totally revamped to make it ‘politically correct’. It now is dominated by renewable energy advocates, researchers and bureaucrats. The number of representatives from industry (the people who really understand the costs and systems constraints) is greatly diluted. So this report is tainted by political correctness (renewable energy bias).

        Having said all this, it is the best report in the past 5 years (and int inlcued the nuclear option).

        I can also provide links to other reports that show how the costs have been derived and especially how the cost of nuclear is derived, since we don’t have any nuclear in Australia. It is interesting to understand how labour rates are much higher and labour productivity much lower in Australia than in the USA for the same work. The government doesn’t like to acknowledge that, so it is not revealed in the government’s reports. Here are some useful links:

        Fuel resource, new entry and generation costs in the NEM (2009) (this is an excellent report)

        http://www.aemo.com.au/~/media/Files/Other/planning/419-0035%20pdf.pdf

        EPRI (2010) Australian Electricity Generation Technology Costs –
        Reference Case 2010

        http://www.ret.gov.au/energy/Documents/AEGTC%202010.pdf

        This is the reports that shows how the costs are calculated and relate to USA costs.

        Preparation of energy market modelling data for the Energy White Paper (2010)

        http://www.aemo.com.au/~/media/Files/Other/planning/0400-0019%20pdf.pdf

        Review of EPRI Cost data (2010):

        http://www.ret.gov.au/Department/Documents/foi/Nuclear-Power-Industry-in-Aust-Doc4.pdf

        AEMO Cost Data Forecast For the NEM Review of Cost and Efficiency Curves (2011)

        http://www.aemo.com.au/~/media/Files/Other/planning/0419-0017%20pdf.pdf

        Enjoy!

      • Fuel resource, new entry and generation costs in the NEM (2009) (this is an excellent report)
        http://www.aemo.com.au/~/media/Files/Other/planning/419-0035%20pdf.pdf

        I see what you mean by “excellent.” This is way more detailed than the BREE assessment. And it calculates a post-tax real WACC of 6.81%, which seems far more realistic (especially in the current economic climate) than the crude 10% discount rate adopted across the board by BREE. 10% artificially inflates the overnight capital cost, which for a 30-year amortisation period understates the contribution of operating and maintenance costs to LCOE to an almost meaningless degree.

        Presumably the Excel stuff lets you redo BREE’s tables with a more reasonable discount rate.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        Yes. The AETA 2012 model (Excel) allows you to change the inputs, including the discount rate. But caution on doing so, see below.

        I see what you mean by “excellent.” This is way more detailed than the BREE assessment. And it calculates a post-tax real WACC of 6.81%, which seems far more realistic (especially in the current economic climate) than the crude 10% discount rate adopted across the board by BREE. 10% artificially inflates the overnight capital cost, which for a 30-year amortisation period understates the contribution of operating and maintenance costs to LCOE to an almost meaningless degree.

        As Faustino pointed out in a comment today, you do need to understand what you are doing with discount rates. It’s not just a matter of plucking a figure you like. There is much more too it than that. The rate is a projection for the duration of the amortisation period of the LCOE analysis, not just a figure for this year. The figure used in the ACIL Tasman 2009 report is no longer applicable. It was the 2009 rate they obtained when the A$ = US$0.83 (from memory). It is not $A= US$1.05. Also, notice the inputs for the calculation in Table 4 (p22) and this statement:

        … giving a post-tax real WACC of 6.81%.

        While this WACC may be considered to be low in the context of the current global financial crisis – particularly the debt basis point premium – ACIL
        Tasman consider these settings to be appropriate in the longer-term which is
        the focus of this study and most market modelling exercises.

        (p22)

        The 10% discount rate used in the latest report, the 8.4% in the EPRI 2010 report (Table 10-1), and the 10.1% discount rate used in the 2011 reports, are all pre-tax (whereas the 6.81% in the ACIL-Tasman 2009 report was post-tax). The reasons for using pre-tax are explained in those reports.

        EPRI 2010 used 8.4% pre-tax real discount rate. However, this was overly influenced by US factors and did not properly take into account the Australian economy. The 2011 reports used 10.1% pre-tax and this seemed reasonable, well justified and well accepted by those that know.

        I don’t know why it has been changed to 10% for the latest report. It could be a rounding, but I don’t have the explanation. Nor do I have the competence to challenge it. As far as I am concerned, the figure they come up with for this is far better than anything I could guess or pluck out of the air.

        (BTW, I don’t feel reluctant to challenge the extremely low discount rates used in the government’s economic analyses to try to make a case for the carbon tax and ETS).

        I hope this provides sufficient background so you understand it is not just a matter of using a figure you like, or as you say:

      • continued from previous comment:

        I hope this provides sufficient background so you understand it is not just a matter of using a figure you like, or as you say:

        <blockquote: which seems far more realistic (especially in the current economic climate) than the crude 10% discount rate adopted across the board by BREE

        I’d also point out that LCOE is a method of comparing technologies. So it is essential you use the same discount rate for all technologies in the one comparison. If you don’t, the comparison is meaningless.

        For other readers, I’ll list the other inputs used in the ACIL-Tasman (2009) calculation of the discount rate:

        Liabilities 100%
        Debt 60%
        Equity 40%
        Risk free RoR 6.0%
        Market risk premium 6.0%
        Market RoR 12.0%
        Corporate tax rate 30%
        Effective tax rate 22.5%
        Debt basis point premium 200
        Cost of debt 8.0%
        Gamma 0.50
        Asset Beta 0.80
        Debt Beta 0.16
        Equity Beta 1.75
        Required return on equity 16.5%
        Inflation 2.50%

      • As Faustino pointed out in a comment today, you do need to understand what you are doing with discount rates.

        Thanks (I think) for that pointer. Sounds like this discussion of discount rates should be picked up on the activate thread, this modest thread seems to have fallen quiet.

        (The “I think” was because I was hoping to extricate myself from CE for a while to finish off a paper explaining why climate sensitivity as currently defined can neither be measured nor estimated with an error bar less than 1 C per doubling, and proposing a different definition that shrinks the error bar by an order of magnitude. Continuing to discuss the interaction of climate science and economics will further delay that project.)

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        If your work is not focused on providing the input for the economic and cost benefit analyses, you’re wasting your time.

        Your comments demonstrate you haven’t even the most basic understanding of either economics, electricity systems, electricity generation costing methods or energy more generally, I’d suggest you spend some time trying to get some background to these issues before wasting more time on climate sensitivity.

        By far the most important input factor on is the damage cost function, as Nordhaus points out in how most recent presentation:

        Summary
        – Estimating impacts has been the most difficult part of all
        climate science: house-to-house combat for analysts.

        – Economic studies do not suggest catastrophic economic
        damages in near term (< 50 years).

        Slide #21 http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/documents/Prague_June2012_v4_color.pdf

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        I was hoping to extricate myself from CE for a while

        So now I am wondering why you asked the questions about where to get some background and about the discount rates if you really didn’t want to know at all? I provided a detailed answer, but you really weren’t interested at all, were you?.

      • By far the most important input factor on is the damage cost function

        That’s the difference between economists and scientists. If scientists had focused all their effort on costs they wouldn’t be scientists, they’d be economists. Scientists study nature, not money.

        While I’m sufficiently curious about these economics issues to ask the experts about them (which is all I’ve been doing), I don’t claim any expertise in the area myself, nor do I plan to switch my attention away from science to economics. There is not enough time in the world to be an expert on everything.

        I have no immediate plans to visit this thread again and therefore won’t see replies to this on it any time soon. I also need to take a break from CE in order to get some real work done. Commenting on CE seems to be a full time job for some, but I can’t afford it.

        I provided a detailed answer, but you really weren’t interested at all, were you?

        Sorry, how does that logic work? I find a lot of interesting material on the web, but f I had to comment on every bit of it, including the whole of every document linked to, some of which are a hundred pages or more, I wouldn’t even have time for sleep. You don’t respond to all my arguments, nor do I see why you should, so why are you so insistent I respond to every detail of your arguments?

  23. I don’t know why everyone is hating on this idea. If it can be shown to work surely the cost would be tiny compared to all the money spent on banks, military, etc. Especially when you consider all countries in the world would be jointly funding it.

    It needs to be about 20 times bigger in scale though. Removing just 1 billion tons of CO2 a year isn’t good enough. That’s just a matter of economy of scale though.

    It’s win-win. We get to continue burning fossil fuels and also save the climate at the same time. If work was undertaken on this today in haste and it was up and running by 2020 I reckon we’d see global temperatures stabilizing in coming decades.

    • Curiuos George

      Dear lolwot: It is an engineering proposal by people with no engineering experience, and it shows Why they did not invite an input from a refrigeration engineer beats me. Atmospheric scientists clearly don’t like to cooperate with engineers – or statisticians.

    • Iolwot

      I took this at face value, but the problem is that the idea is competely impractical if powered by wind. Powered by a nuclear reactor or two it might work (imagine the fuss!!) but as you say it needs to be scaled up many fold and then runs into other problems.(not the least of which being that much more power would then be required)
      tonyb

    • Win-win is to irrigate the northern Sahara, it will go green, take billion tons of CO2, create its own climate, and produce grain and wine as it did in Roman warm period.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        @vukcevic: Win-win is to irrigate the northern Sahara, it will go green, take billion tons of CO2, create its own climate, and produce grain and wine as it did in Roman warm period.

        Roman warm period? I think you may be off by a few years, Milivoje. To quote from this article, “Over the last 10,000 years, there have been two distinct humid phases, separated by an interval of highly variable but generally drying conditions between roughly 8,000 and 7,000 years ago. Another drying trend took place after about 5,000 years ago, leading to today’s parched environment.”

        The article describes the Garamantian society, which developed “a phenomenally advanced system of water extraction that kept their civilisation going for 1,000 years as the land was drying up around them.”

        “The fact that the Garamantes developed this ingenious irrigation system shows that our ability to apply engineering solutions to deal with climate change is by no means only a modern phenomenon,” said Dr White. “The gradual drying up of springs and dessication of the surrounding landscape must have seemed ominous , but they knew they had to develop sophisticated methods to cope with it.”

        The Garamantes presumably had their share of climate skeptics, just as we do today.

        “But even this remarkably adaptable society – one of the first urban civilisations built in a desert – could not cope forever with a falling water table and intensifying aridity. Sometime around 500AD, the Garamantian society collapsed and their irrigation system fell into disuse.”

        Associated with this research, Reading’s School of Human and Environmental Sciences, in collaboration with the Department of Meteorology, are undertaking a major project, linking climate, water and civilization in the Middle East and North Africa, with a £1,240,000 grant from the Leverhulme Trust.

        Presumably they’d be in a good position to judge the feasibility of irrigating the Sahara.

      • “But even this remarkably adaptable society – one of the first urban civilisations built in a desert – could not cope forever with a falling water table and intensifying aridity.

        Isn’t that the opposite of what will happen as we warm. The changes you describe are as a result of cooling from warmer times. Warmer was wetter. According to IPCC AR4, WG1, Chapter 6, the area of deserts increases when warmer and decreases when colder. Warmer looks good to me.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        The changes you describe are as a result of cooling from warmer times.

        I must have missed that, where did it say that?

      • I blame my history teacher: ‘Carthagena was a grain store of the roman empire, they cut trees to expand production and that was it’.
        Ptolemy wrote his accounts possibly having some political motivations in doing so. However there are still remains of many settlements and cities in North Libya, where today there are none.

        http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=Roman%20ruins%20Libya&gbv=2&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi

      • Robert I Ellison

        ‘The Sahel—the belt of land that stretches across Africa on the southern edge of the Sahara—has always been a tough place to farm. Rainfall is low and droughts are frequent. The crust of hard soil is, at times, almost impermeable, and harsh winds threaten to sweep away everything in their path. Over the past three decades, however, hundreds of thousands of farmers in Burkina Faso and Niger have transformed large swaths of the region’s arid landscape into productive agricultural land, improving food security for about 3 million people. Once-denuded landscapes are now home
        to abundant trees, crops, and livestock. Although rainfall has improved slightly from the mid-1990s relative to earlier decades, indications are that
        farmer management is a stronger determinant of land and agroforestry regeneration.’

        Irrigation may be less relevant than making the best use of available resources – and especially building the soil resource.

        However, if you are looking for the major source of regional hydrological variation it is of course ENSO. Here’s an 11,000 year proxy based on increased red sediment in a South American lake in El Niño.

        The shift from La Niña dominant to El Niño dominant 5,000 years ago is sufficient to account for much of the rainfall decline in the region.

        Here is a new proxy from the Law Dome by Vance et al 2012 – it is based on sub-Antarctic wind speeds picking up salt spray. They suggest that ENSO modulates the wind speeds in the polar front. Less windy equals El Niño.
        and less salt in the ice core and vice versa. Although I suspect it is the other way round with the driving mecahanism being UV/ozone interactions in the polar vortices.

        What it shows is El Niño dominant during the Medieval optimum and the modern period and La Niña dominant to 1860. I suspect as well that most 20th century warming was cloud radiative forcing feedbacks from ENSO. Wouldn’t that be funny?

    • Lolwot said: …save the climate at the same time.

      Can you take a minute to realize what a non-sequiter this is? Is the climate in danger of dying? Extinction? It amazes me that people can write such sloppy nonsense.

      Word have meaning. Communication depends on a shared definition of them.

    • David Springer

      lolwot | August 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Reply

      “I don’t know why everyone is hating on this idea.”

      I love the idea! In the same what that the writers at Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” will love it, if you get my drift.

    • Doug Badgero

      There are few economies of scale that apply when discussing simple thermodynamic energy conversion.

    • I think it’s a great idea.

      It can get rid of the wind farm advocates from the productive part of the world and all the ‘Progressives’, Left, CAGW Alarmists and the rest of them can emigrate to Antarctica to keep cool and work.

  24. Yeah! Starve the plants of the world they say.

    Monsanto hates any competition. Besides, they will be the ones building these Antarctica dry ice sequestration ‘plants’. Global subsidies to boot! Nature was making this world a bit too ‘green’ with man’s help for their liking.
    /sarc

  25. Steven Mosher

    • And you don’t think this is insane?

      • “the potential to develop into an important tool to address climate change.”

        When regurgitating Warmer slogans, sanity or lack thereof don’t enter into it.

        Andrew

      • Hmm, Steven Mosher says that there’s an allowed 30 tons per individual, that’s around how much we breathe out during a life-time..

        ..what would you call that?

      • Steven Mosher

        If you accept a limit of 450 ppm. then the allowance per human on the planet is around 30 tons. If you live in a developed country that’s less than 10 years of emissions at your current rate of emitting.

        bottom line; If you are concerned about keeping levels below 450, you probably cant get there by cutting emissions. So, folks who believe in a 450 limit better get serious about adaptation. That of course can include air capture

      • Steven Mosher: If you accept a limit of 450 ppm. then the allowance per human on the planet is around 30 tons. If you live in a developed country that’s less than 10 years of emissions at your current rate of emitting.

        Which is as I’ve said, the amount a human produces during a lifetime by breathing – so all cooking etc. is extra and is what? Is going to be penalised?

        So, folks who believe in a 450 limit better get serious about adaptation.

        “So folks who believe.. have to get serious”? That presumably excludes those of us who don’t and all those who haven’t positively said they believe? Or is this something that will be forced on us by some who have faith/vested/financial interests, and no science to back up the claims about the effects of carbon dioxide?

        Why the hell should I take your religious beliefs seriously? Besides I’ve shown them to be faked fisics, you have never shown they’re not faked.

        Answer Bob Ludwick’s question: “And, those actual, empirically confirmed effects are? And they are so uniformly catastrophic that they justify herculean efforts to actually remove CO2 from the atmosphere to ameliorate them?”

      • David Springer

        Indubitably!

  26. David Springer

    An environmental impact study needs to be done by, I suppose, the U.N. since the location is international. Four species of penguin are on the international endangered species list. As soon as all interested parties are assured no pengiuns will be harmed a small-scale pilot plant could be constructed. Good luck. My bet is it will never be dubbed penguin-safe. So has anybody registered “Save The Penguins” as a 501c yet? LOL

  27. David Springer

    What would the lowered atmospheric CO2 around the Antarctic do to CO2 level in the surrounding ocean? Will it cause alkalinzation and how will that effect the abundant marine life in the vicinity? That’s a breeding ground for krill and krill is in the food chain that includes whales at the top. MY GOD MAN, THE WHALES! HAS ANYBODY CONSIDERED THE WHALES?

    • Glad you brought this up.. And what happens to the world’s supply of oxygen if the phytoplankton are starved of carbon dioxide besides affecting the food chain there?

      There are varying amounts given for the ocean’s contribution to supplying the atmosphere with oxygen through photosynthesis, up to 90% I’ve read.

      And, will the waste heat produced by this contraption speed up the melting of the Antarctic?

      • If it works it’ll more than make up for any heat produced. A doubling of CO2 is like turning on a 1900 Terawatt heater.

      • Well then, why be so modest? The choice of the Antarctic is silly then with its low levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, far better to park it on Mauna Loa ..

        “Both tectonic and volcanic CO2 are magmatic and depleted in both 13C & 14C. In the absence of statistically significant isotope determinations for each volcanic province contributing to the atmosphere, this makes CO2 contributions of volcanic origin isotopically indistinguishable from those of fossil fuel consumption. It is therefore unsurprising to find that Segalstad (1998) points out that 96% of atmospheric CO2 is isotopically indistinguishable from volcanic degassing. So much for the Royal Society’s unexplained “chemical analysis”. If you believe that we know enough about volcanic gas compositions to distinguish them chemically from fossil fuel combustion, you have indeed been mislead. As we shall see, the number of active volcanoes is unknown, never mind a tally of gas signatures belonging to every active volcano. We have barely scratched the surface and as such, there is no magic fingerprint that can distinguish between anthropogenic and volcanogenic sources of CO2.”

        Or park it on any of the thousands of volcanoes and vents which haven’t been counted as this piece by Timothy Casey also details: http://carbon-budget.geologist-1011.net/

        The Antarctic isn’t cold enough to keep carbon dioxide frozen so the “insulation” they’ve put in place to store it doesn’t need to be there, does it?

    • Mark B (number 2)

      I believe that it will be of benefit to the polar bears. As I have calculated (above), there will be a mountain of carbon snow produced by this process, which will have a volume of 1000 cubic kilometres (if we reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere by half).
      We could transport the polar bears in a sailing ship (I’d prefer the term “ark”) away from the north pole (where their home as melted away to scraps of floating slush). The ark would have an absolute zero carbon footprint, due to it being entirely powered by the trade winds.
      Once in Antarctica, the lovable polar bears would be able frolic about on the carbon snow mountain, happy as Larry.

      • Until they’ve eaten all the penguins?

      • Vaughan Pratt

        As I have calculated (above), there will be a mountain of carbon snow produced by this process, which will have a volume of 1000 cubic kilometres (if we reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere by half).

        If you reduce atmospheric CO2 by a half we’ll be back in the ice ages when CO2 was less than 200 ppmv. You’ll have a vastly bigger mountain of regular ice to deal with on the planet than of dry ice.

        In any case “mountain” may be a bit of an exaggeration. The current volume of ice on Antarctica is 30 million cubic kilometres according to this source. That’s 30,000 times your “mountain.”

  28. To convert gaseous CO2 into solid CO2 you have to remove heat, in fact a hell of a lot of heat. The less efficient the process, the more heat required. This heat has to go somewhere, the obvious place is the water-ice heatsink that makes to pole.
    The easy way to remove CO2 is to criss-corss the Gulf of Mexico with plastic pipes and grow alge, remove the alge and bury it undergound.
    A lot cheaper too.

  29. Month of August is known as ‘the silly season’.

  30. This ridiculously un-practical proposal is what you get when scientists try to do engineering.
    But the proposal is in some respect better than windmills or bio fuels. It will never get implemented, which, lamentably, cannot be said about windmills.

  31. The heat generated by the cooling the CO2 will warm the atmosphere. A warmer atmosphere with less CO2 is guaranteed 100% to be warmer.

    • Vaughan Pratt

      The heat generated by the cooling the CO2 will warm the atmosphere. A warmer atmosphere with less CO2 is guaranteed 100% to be warmer.

      It takes only a fixed amount of heat to remove a gram of CO2. If you leave that gram in the atmosphere, it will add heat in proportion to the time it stays there. On that basis CO2 can add a million times as much heat as is required to remove it if you leave it in the atmosphere long enough.

  32. A scientific plan is presented that proposes the construction of CO2 deposition plants in the Antarctic for removing CO2 gas from the Earth’s atmosphere.

    In a world where hundreds of millions go hungry every day, we must first establish whether spending money in this type of project is necessary.

    The problem with this project is it assumes removing CO2 from the atmosphere is necessary to prevent man-made global warming.

    This assumption is based on climate model results that gave high climate sensitivity for doubling of CO2 by smoothing out all the oscillation in GMST before the 1970s and leaving untouched the warming phase of the oscillation since then and calling it man-made global warming as shown below.

    http://bit.ly/OaemsT

    This is the second hockey stick of IPCC science.

  33. To all the naysayers claiming it’s incredible or impractical.

    50 years ago people would have claimed it impossible, impractical or not economically viable to land a vehicle on Mars.

    • Was there a “consensus” saying to everyone that would listen that “if we don’t land a rover on Mars, we’re doomed”?

  34. Robert I Ellison

    A 1% increase in soil organic content matter captures approximately 100 tonnes per hectare of atmospheric carbon dioxide. For each 1% increase in organic content achieved on the 5 billion hectares of degraded farmland worldwide about 500 billion tonnes – some 64 ppm –- of carbon dioxide will be removed from the atmosphere.

    Restoring soil organic content in agricultural soils – increasing soil organic content by at least 2 or 3 percent – is needed to increase food productivity in the amounts required by 2050. This doesn’t need subsides, taxes or caps to work – although it is infinitely more practical than most ideas put forward and thus more worthy of institutional support.

    Carbon capture from air seems simple and industrially scalable – see for instance http://www.carbonengineering.com/ – but it seems a waste of a resource to bury it in the Antarctic when it could be combined with hydrogen to produce an endless supply of cheap liquid fuels.

    • Is the carbon sequestration in soil practicable? This is a key plank of the the Australian Opposition (the conservative parities) who are likely to be in government after the next election. However, CSIRO has been saying the the Coalition’s policy for carbon sequestration in soil is overly optimistic. I’d be interested to hear what is practicable.

    • Vaughan Pratt

      it seems a waste of a resource to bury it in the Antarctic when it could be combined with hydrogen to produce an endless supply of cheap liquid fuels.

      Agreed. It will take energy because converting CO2 to say methane is like charging a flat battery. But this seems like an ideal application for any source of energy that is too unsteady to be relied on for immediate power but which cumulatively is more than enough to “recharge” these “flat batteries.” Wind power is one such. Charging happens whenever there’s wind, and the “charged batteries” (i.e. the reconstituted fuels such as methane, essentially natural gas) can be put into storage in the same way oil is stored prior to use.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        That is a purely theoretical approach with no consideration of costs. Wind farms are very costly, The capital cost is high and the produce unreliable energy. Th capital cost (which is very high) has to be paid for from a low amount of energy. Not only that, but if the plants run on the unreliable, intermittent energy, then their capital and fixed operating costs have to be paid for over a smaller output

        Furthermore, energy supplied by intermittent, unreliable energy suppliers has lo.w value. Give up on advocating wind power. It is a total dud. We wouldn’t be building any if not for the regulations forced on us by economically irrational proponents of renewable energy.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        Steady power is not needed when the application is charging.

        Total capital cost for wind turbines today is around 1/2 that for coal-fired power plants. Morever the latter costs have been growing faster than the former over the past few years.

      • Just released Australian Government AETA report gives estimates of capital costs for new electricity plants in Australia (The ratios are roughly similar in US):
        Wind = $2530/kW
        Coal = $3124/kW
        Nuclear = $3470/kW
        AETA (2102), Table 5.2.2, p87,

        http://bree.gov.au/documents/publications/Australian-Energy-Technology-Assessment.pdf

        However, what is important is that wind farms produce about 1/3 as much energy and have an economic life of about 1/3 as long as the coal plant and 1/4 of a nuclear plant.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        what is important is that wind farms produce about 1/3 as much energy

        But this seems to contradict your own figures:

        Wind = $2530/kW
        Coal = $3124/kW

        In terms of planning for the future, for every $3.12 spent on coal energy, the same energy can be obtained by spending $2.53 on wind energy.

        You seem to have lost track of your own argument, that what is important is the price of energy.

        I would love to see your argument against your own argument. :)

  35. Nature has been sequestering Carbon Dioxide for 4.6 billion years. Why does anyone think it can’t continue to do so. Why would we want to deprive plants of the food they need to grow big and strong.

    • Natural sequestering has failed

    • Here’s the better more alarming graph:

      can’t let a possible future go unmentioned

      • Just love it when chemists with a background in equilibrium kinetics have a go at non-equilibrium thermodynamic steady states.

    • Vaughan Pratt

      Why would we want to deprive plants of the food they need to grow big and strong.

      Careful what you ask for. You need to watch Little Shop of Horrors, the 1986 musical remake of the 1960 black-and-white version, which included the young Jack Nicholson as Wilbur Force.

      Likewise triffids, which we certainly don’t need. They’ll bite the hand that feeds them.

  36. ralph Selman

    The wind turbines in wyoming require 2 people per 10 machines for their maintenance and repair. The antarctic climate is much more severe than wyoming. The crew size would at least double. Where would you find the number of qualified people who would agree to spend years in that wasteland?

    • Vaughan Pratt

      Where would you find the number of qualified people who would agree to spend years in that wasteland?

      Same place we found qualified Martian cabbies?

      Wouldn’t that concern apply equally to taxi drivers on Mars? In fact more so given that the Martian temperature is comparable to that of Antarctica while the atmosphere is mainly CO2 at a pressure of 0.0006 Earth atmospheres. I was under the impression NASA had solved that problem with a blend of autonomous vehicles and teleoperation.

      Unless driving around Mars justifies a bigger budget than fixing Earth’s climate, surely whatever research budget created Martian robot cabbies can create Antarctic service robots.

  37. Should be considered along with planting trees and growing algae in the oceans. Of course we may be ‘jumping the gun’ if the higher world temperatures fail to materialize which seems more likely every year. But as the world’s population approaches nine billion we may need the extra CO2 to feed them (indirectly).

    • Even if atmospheric CO2 levels have nothing to do with Earthly temperatures, to the extent humanity ever could control the weather, imagine the sort of special interest groups we’d have then: Some Like It Hot!

    • 156,000 MW of wind capacity are required. If we assume 3 MW wind turbines and 3 people are required per wind turbine, that’s just 156,000 people. Surely there would be that many Greenies, ‘Progressives’ and other advocates of wind energy prepared to volunteer.

  38. Just a brief calc to show the infeasibility of heating or cooling air to remove CO2. The enthalpy of formation of CO2 is 393 kJ/mol. That’s a rough number for the energy that it could have created (C+O2). At 400 ppm, that means the CO2 in 1 mol of air created about 0.16kJ. SH of air is about 0.03 kJ/mol/°C. So it would take all the energy originally produced by the CO2 to heat the air containing it by 5°C.

    • David Springer

      The CO2 is already cold enough to freeze. The problem is that at a partial pressure in the 400ppm range it sublimates faster than it freezes so never accumulates. So all you have to do to make it snow CO2 is introduce it into a more CO2-saturated environment. Presumably (I haven’t read the paper) this more saturated environment is a pile of CO2 snow with limited capacity to mix with the ambient atmosphere. The interstices in such a pile of CO2 snow would be much higher partial CO2 pressure so forcing low partial pressure atmosphere into it would make the CO2 in the forced air freeze and stay frozen.

      This is just so ridiculously not politically possible its hard to talk about the engineering aspect with a straight face. The most charitable description of this paper is that it is of academic interest-only. A less charitable description would be it’s wool gathering.

  39. peterdavies252

    The oroposal pre-supposes that current world CO2 levels are problematic but there is no consensus that this is actually the case. I rater lean towards Chief’s idea of re-generation of deserts and exhausted farmlands as being not only more practical but of enduring benefit to the majority of humankind who barely exist at the subsistace level.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Hi Peter,

      Regardless of whether CO2 is a problem – I tend to think it hasn’t been and is not likely to be any time soon – there are other and more serious problems of feeding 9 billion people on the same amount of land, conserving and rehabilitating ecosystems, retaining water in landscapes and building wealthy and resilient communities.

      Hre’s is one from the World Bank – but I wont quibble.

      Cheers

      • peterdavies252

        Thanks again Chief. The UN have really got a grip on the words “climate change” but in the wrong context. Natural variability is still to be properly measured and defined and until we do this, the effect of human activity will forever be pure guesswork.

        Judith’s blog will be worse off if you stop visiting but I know that you will always be interested in this vital topic and look forward to reading your commentary, perhaps in an Australian blog on general environmental issues which include the weather and longer term climate trends?

        Who knows what the future brings? Not mainstream climate science I’m afraid! Best wishes.

  40. Robert I Ellison 24 August 6.20 pm, yr suggestion ter restore soil organic content by 2/3% and capture carbon dioxide is the way ter go. Thx, Robert, yr with Freeman Dyson on this.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Hi ya Beth,

      I am going to be fairly scarce around here – I just looked in on the chance of catching up with you. I’m too busy to be botherin’ wid the rehearsed and circular arguments that passes for thought on both sides of the battlelines.

      Climate change has been a 20 year diversion from the more important problem of land, water, fire and biodiversity management in Australia. A generation of opportunities lost at immense cost and more in the pipeline. I tell ya – it makes me cry.

      But feel free to join me on facebook any time as a friend. We can swap poetry.

      Robert Indigo Ellison

  41. NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions have revealed the presence of a CO2 ice cap on Mars’ South Pole, which is annually subjected to deposition and sublimation.
    ============
    Ship the surplus earth CO2 to Mars. If transport costs are a problem, install a pipeline. The high pressure on earth and low pressure on mars will suck the CO2 from earth to mars. Use it as a pneumatic delivery system to colonize the red planet. Microbes on mars can convert the CO2 back to O2 for human consumption.

  42. “As discussed later in this paper, the construction of CO2 snow deposition plants that are supported by wind farms, offer the opportunity for unique international expertise to join forces to develop the CO2 sequestration facilities that can substantially curtail the effects of anthropogenic GHG warming.”

    And, those actual, empirically confirmed effects are? And they are so uniformly catastrophic that they justify herculean efforts to actually remove CO2 from the atmosphere to ameliorate them?

    I am constantly told that the rising of the temperature of the earth is bad, but never told what the ideal temperature is, who determined it, and what criteria were evaluated in making the determination. Neither am I told the agreed upon procedure for actually MEASURING the ‘annual temperature of the Earth’, which is the parameter so widely advertised to be rising dangerously.

    I am constantly told that the sea level rising a few millimeters/year is bad, but not told what the ideal sea level is, who determined it, or what criteria were evaluated in making the determination.

    I am constantly told that it is bad that the amount of ice floating on the Arctic Sea in the summer is decreasing, but not told the ideal amount of summer Arctic ice, who made the determination, and what criteria were evaluated in determining the ideal amount of ice.

    Ad infinitum

  43. k scott denison

    Yeah, no way there could be any unintended consequences from this brilliant plan…

  44. k scott denison

    jc says: “Note this is a scientific concept paper, not a fully vetted engineering design.”

    Another early entrant into the “Understatement of the Century” contest.

  45. k scott denison

    Have not seen anyone address the most basic question: Is the theorized temperature drop per mole of CO2 removed from the air larger than the temperature increase per mole removed from the processing?

    Maybe it’s in the paper behind the pay wall?

  46. k scott denison

    Q: How quickly can this wonder-plant remove CO2 from the air?

    Q: What does this imply about how quickly air must be moved through the wonder-plant?

    Q: How much energy does it take to move this volume of air?

    Q: From how far away and how high must the intake air be drawn to ensure it has the current background level of CO2 in it?

    Q: How far away and how high must the processed air be discharged?

    Q: What happens when the wind direction changes?

    Q: What does the 3D distribution of CO2 look like once we fire up the plant?

    Q: How does this affect plant efficiency?

    Q: Where will we discharge the heat?

    Q: How does affect the flow through the plant?

  47. if for some reason it was deemed desirable to return this CO2 to the atmosphere, this could easily be accomplished.
    Make green things grow better with less water would be an excellent reason.
    But, why do this. That is what does not make any sense.

  48. There is no reason to Reduce CO2! More is better!

  49. A modest proposal!? ……can’t wait to see the extreme one.

  50. “Calculations demonstrate that this project is worthy of consideration, whereby 446 deposition plants supported by 16 1200-MW wind farms can remove 1 B tons (1012 kg) of CO2 annually (a 32 reduction of 0.5 ppmv),”

    Er, 1012 kg is around 1 ton, that’s around 1/30th of what Steven Mosher says one individual is allowed..

    Which anyway, as Bob Ludwick notes of these figures bandied about with abandon, fails to be accompanied by any rational empirical scientific explanation of why this is a limit nor who set it.

    And which as I noted above, is then 1/30th the amount an individual breathes out in a life time – I think I got my sums right.. – based on 400 million litres of air breathed out in a lifetime and at 4% of that air carbon dioxide; each lungful breathed out contains around 4% carbon dioxide.

    [We require around 6.5% of each lungful of air to be carbon dioxide for optimum transportation of oxygen. We don’t get this from the atmosphere obviously, we produce our own, carbon life forms that we are at around 20% carbon and the rest mainly water, and hypocapnia which is carbon dioxide deficiency a common life-threatening danger; which if I recall is critical at around 4.5% inbreath.]

    http://www.normalbreathing.com/CO2-O2-transport.php

    http://theroadtoemmaus.org/RdLb/11Phl/Sci/CO2&Health.html

    From the second: “Also consider: we would die if we did not breathe in such a way as to retain very close to 65,000 ppm (6.5%) of CO2 in the alveoli (tiny air sacs) of our lungs”

  51. Robert I. Ellison < 3.12 am:

    Hi Robert,
    I understand yr concern about climate change and demonizing carbon dioxide. Demonisers should read Primo Levi on carbon as a the key element of living things, (Periodic Table concluding chapter.)

    I also understand yr concern fer better land and water management as true environmental issues fer action, go fer it …

    I'll be happy ter meet up with you on facebook and swap poetry.
    Beth Chalmers Cooper )

  52. My first cut look at this proposition is that it is not so stupid. My very rough estimate is $75/tonne CO2 abated (I could be out by orders of magnitude; I’ll recheck later).

    Inputs and basis of calculations:

    CO2 mass to be sequestered per year = 4 billion tones
    Number of depositional plants per year = 1,787
    Electricity required per year = 2.47E18 J = 686,000,000 MWh
    Electricity cost (including, diesel back up generation, transmission, harsh environment and short plant life) = $400/MWh
    Electricity cost per year = $274 billion per year
    Excavate snow = 1787 x 380m x 380m x 10m = 2.58E9 m^3 @ $2/m^3 = $5 billion
    Move and place CO2 snow = 2.58E9 m^3 @ $2/m^3 = $5 billion
    Depositional plants = 1,787 @ $10 million each = $18 billion
    Total cost per year = $302 billion per year

    CO2 abatement cost = $302 billion / 4 billion tonnes = $75/tonne CO2 abated.

    For perspective:
    – Current EU carbon price = $10/t CO2
    – Estimated abatement cost with renewable energy in Australia = $300/t CO2
    – Estimated abatement cost with nuclear energy in Australia = $65/t CO2
    – Nordhaus ‘Low cost backstop technology’ (assumes) = $270/t CO2

    • I suspect there are two issues that would lead to an underestimates.

      First, I suspect the plant would not be 100% efficient. If it is 50% efficient that would double the abatement cost I’ve calculated.

      Second, there will inevitable be some losses due to sublimation. If 50% is lost by sublimation this would double the abatement cost again.

      Hopefully, someone else can evaluate the likely energy efficiency of the deposition plant and the likely amount of leakage from all the CO2 burial sites constructed over 100 years or so. Will they store CO2 snow without leakage for 100 years?

    • CO2 Sequestration Cost – Revised Estimate

      Greatest unknowns:

      • Annual cost of ‘CO2 Deposition plants’ (including construction, operation and maintenance, accommodation facilities and fly-in-fly-out airports) – assume $100 million per plant per year.

      • Energy efficiency of the Depositional Plants (compared with the Agee et al estimate) – assume 50%

      • CO2 leakage rate per year – assume 20%

      • Cost of electricity (harsh environment, short plant life, diesel backup generators, transmission line problems) – assume $500/MWh

      Revised estimate for sequestration of 4 billion tonnes CO2 snow per year = $544/tonne CO2

      To put this abatement cost in perspective:

      – Current EU carbon price = $10/t CO2
      – Estimated abatement cost with renewable energy in Australia = $300/t CO2 [3]
      – Estimated abatement cost with nuclear energy in Australia = $65/t CO2
      – Nordhaus ‘Low cost backstop technology’ (assumes) = $270/t CO2 [4]
      – CO2 Abatement cost if/when we allow low-cost nuclear = <$0/t CO2 [5, 6, 7, 8, 9]

      References:

      [1] Ernest Agee, Andrea Orton and John Rogers (2012) CO2 Snow Deposition in Antarctica to Curtail Anthropogenic Global Warming

      http://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/co2_snow_deposition.pdf

      [2] Peter Lang – preliminary estimate of CO2 sequestration cost http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/24/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic/#comment-231960

      [3] Peter Lang (2012) – Renewable electricity for Australia – the Cost http://bravenewclimate.com/2012/02/09/100-renewable-electricity-for-australia-the-cost/

      [4] William Nordhaus (2008) A Question of Balance http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf

      [5] Why CO2 pricing wont work: http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/17/learning-from-the-octopus/#comment-231855

      [6] Alternative to Carbon Pricing – Costs and benefits of ‘Cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels’ policy compared with ‘Optimal carbon price’ policy: http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/17/learning-from-the-octopus/#comment-231857

      [7] How to achieve cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels: http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/17/learning-from-the-octopus/#comment-231861

      [8] Why we need to focus on small modular factory built and refuelled nuclear power plants: http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/17/learning-from-the-octopus/#comment-231865

      [9] Nuclear power is about the safest of all electricity generation technologies – nuclear would avoid 1 million fatalities per year by 2050 compared with coal:

      http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/17/learning-from-the-octopus/#comment-231867

    • Ernest Agee,

      I have read your draft paper and have the suggestions outlined below.

      I cannot comment on most of the calculations or design assumptions. I’ll confine my comments to the calculations of energy supply and CO2 snow storage.

      Line 30-31: I find it confusing that sometime you refer to sequestration of 1 B tons and sometime 4 B tons CO2 per year between (I’d also urge you to use SI units throughout rather than imperial units).

      Line 31: I suggest you refer to the total energy requirement throughout (and show MWh) rather than “16 1200-MW wind farms can remove 1 B tons”. It gets very confusing working with 1 B then 4 B and sometimes plants last 5 years and sometimes 1 year. It would help to make all this clearer.

      Line 32-33: “can be stored in an equivalent “landfill” volume of 2 km x 2 km x 160 m” I think this is not correct. I think you have used a density for CO2 snow of 1.55 t/m^3. I think you should use a figure of about 0.4 t/m^3 for CO2 snow (or perhaps less).

      Line 38-39: ”446 plants for CO2 snow deposition and storage
      39 (amounting to 1B tons annually)
      ”. I’d suggest provide the figures = 4 b tonnes throughout the paper

      Line 107-108: “the construction of CO2 snow deposition plants that are supported by wind farms” I’d suggest you state only the energy requirement and not confine the paper to wind farms as the method of providing the energy. My calculations suggest the CO2 sequestration costs would be halved using nuclear power (allowing for the higher cost of nuclear plants in Antarctica and allowing for the need to disperse the excess heat).

      Line 114: “is powered by wind farms” No need to specify the type of electricity generation technology. I’d suggest, for the solution to be seriously considered, we want the least cost feasible system.

      Line 116: “, is excavated into the insulated dry ice landfill It will tak a year to fill each pit. How do you propose to prevent before the pit is cealed?

      Line 116-118: “Appendix II shows the appropriate calculations and design criteria that would remove 1 B tons of CO2 per year, which could be accomplished by approximately 16 1200-MW wind farms.” Suggest all figures are based on 4 B and the type of electricity generation technology should not be specified.

      Line 130-132: “Current plans for a 45-MW wind farm (15- 3MW towers) will run one prototype deposition plant. The wind farm should be designed to expand to 1200-MW to supply energy to 28 deposition plants.” Specifying the electricity generation technology is inadvisable and detracts from the paper.

      Line 132-134: “The CO27 snow landfill for this prototype plant will be 380m x 380m x 10m (for each year of CO2 snow deposition).” I think this calculation is incorrect. I think it assumes you can place the CO2 snow as solid dry ice with a density of 1.55 t/m^3. I think you should assume a density of 0.4 t/m^3 or less. I calculate the storage volume for each pit as 529m x 529m x 10m. The excavated volume would have to be considerably larger because the walls will be sloped at perhaps 30 degree slope and working room is needed for insulation and access. Say 540m x 540m x 11m excavation volume.

      How do you propose to prevent ordinary snow from blowing into the open pits before they are sealed?

      Line 135-137: “The schematic diagram for the CO2 snow deposition chamber is given in Fig. 6. This chamber consists of a 100m x 100m x 100m cubical volume on four support pillars with reversible air intake and exhaust fans for the refrigeration process of the ambient air.” The deposition chamber will have to be a very strong structure to withstand the high winds in Antarctica. It will be costly. (I’ve assumed $100 million for each deposition plant).

      Line 142: “380m x 380m x 10m, which amounts to 0.00224B tons” As mentioned above, I estimate the landfill will be larger than this. I estimate the inside volume to be 529m x 529m x 10m and excavated pit to be 540m x 540m x 11m.

      Line 145: revise the dimensions as above

      Line 153: use 4 B tonnes throughout.

      Appendix II

      Line 258: “CO2 snow depth””. The denominator should be the density of CO2 snow (loose) not the density of dry ice. Here are some figures for the density of ordinary snow: http://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/Contexts/Icy-Ecosystems/Looking-closer/Snow-and-ice-density The density of CO2 snow in the chamber would be (roughly) loose new snow x 1.56; say 100 kg/m^3. Subsequent figures need to be changed.

      Appendix III

      Line 272: I’d suggest removing all calculations based on the Virgin Earth Challenge and confine the paper to dealing with the 4 B tonnes per year. It is well justified and well explained. The Virgin Earth Challenge part causes confusion. It also has other connotations.

      Line 289: “b) N = 446 for 1.0 B tons (Virgin Earth Goal)As mentioned above I suggest you remove all reference to and all figures for the 1 B per year Virgin Earth Challenge.

      These calculations assume 100% efficiency and no sublimation. If the Deposition plants are less than 100% efficient more plants will be needed (I assumed 50% efficient). If some CO2 snow escapes after it has been made, more plants will be needed. To compensate for the escape of CO2 from the sealed storage sites, more or larger storage sites will be needed. I assumed 20% CO2 escape. On this basis we’d need 4,468 Deposition Plants (with a life of 5 years).

      Appendix III

      Line 238: “,i>= 2.47 x 10^18 Joules” This assumes 100% energy efficiency. This figure should be modified to take into account the energy losses that will inevitably occur. I have no idea what they would be.

      Line 302: Id suggest you ignore the plant sizes. Simply provide the total energy required.

      Line 303-312 are not correct because they assume that the electricity generation plants generate at 100% of their capacity all the time. This is not correct and makes a big difference to the number of plants required. I’d strongly urge you d not try to calculate the number of power plants required. It is irrelevant to the main thrust of your proposal and seriously detracts from the paper. Instead, simply state the amount of electrical energy required per year (in MWh).

      I’d suggest you delete line 299 to 313 and replace it with:

      Electricity required at 100% efficiency (J) 2.47E+18
      Electricity required at 100% efficiency (MWh) 686,111,111
      Deposition Plant energy efficiency (my wild guess) 50%
      CO2 leakage (my wild guess) 20%
      Electricity required (with energy losses and CO2 leakage) (MWh) 1,715,277,778

      But get mechanical engineers to provide the efficiency and CO2 leakage assumptions.

  53. Let me bring this out as a major issue for me. This blog is supposed to be a place where both sides of the debate can discuss CAGW in a scientific way. I ask lolwot for a single reference which provides empirical data which proves that as you add CO2 to the atmosphere, it causes a significant rise in atmospheric temperatures. Such a reference goes to the very heart of the CAGW debate. Can total climate sensitivity be actually measured? If it can, then we have the proper scientific evidence as to whether CAGW exists or not.

    I am convinced that such a reference does not exist. No one has been able to prove that as you add CO2 to the atmosphere it causes any sort of atmospheric temperature rise. None of the proponents of CAGW are sufficiently honest scientifically, to admit that this has never been done. i asked Pekka for such data; I asked Robert as well. Neither would reply. Now I have asked lolwot.

    And what does lolwot reply

    “You know them, you just deny them. Like a creationist denies the overwhelming empirical evidence for common ancestry of species.
    Your demand, like theirs, for a single paper that proves the theory is nothing but a strawman.”

    If our hostess really hopes to have a forum where scientists on opposite sides of the CAGW debate can discuss the really important issues, then I would suggest that we need a much better level of participation from the proponents of CAGW.

    • Jim Cripwell

      To be fair, on occasion everyone needs to raise their game if this is to be a forum that attracts scientists.However, there is a good mix of articles here whereby opinion can be expressed as well as science. Mind you that works both ways and academics have a duty to road test their ideas before floating them into the wider blogosphere. This article is a case in point. It seems utterly unrealistic even assuming-for the sake of argument-that the basic ineed for sequestatration is valid anyway

      Did CAGW itself start out as an academically interesting but unproven idea which has gained political momentum but at its heart remains unproven?
      tonyb

      • Did CAGW itself start out as an academically interesting but unproven idea which has gained political momentum but at its heart remains unproven?

        Yes.

        In addition to being unproven, there is also misinterpretation of the data.

        For example, smoothing the oscillation before the 1970s, leaving the warming phase of the oscillation since then untouched, and calling this warming man-made is a misinterpretation of the data.

        http://bit.ly/OaemsT

      • tony, you write “Did CAGW itself start out as an academically interesting but unproven idea which has gained political momentum but at its heart remains unproven?”

        Precisely. I wish I had thought of phrasing the debate in this very succint question. To me there is quite clearly a single piece of empirical data which would settle the question of whether CAGW is real or not. And that is the direct measurment of total climate sensitivity, which is, in principle, possible to measure. As I put it, a sort of Michelson/Morley moment. This measurement, for whatever reason, has not been made, and, so far as I can see, it has never even been attempted to be made.

        But the case for CAGW is based almost in it’s entirely, on hypothetical estimations (e.g no-feedback climate sensitivity) and the output of non-validated models. I believe the proponents of CAGW know in their heart-of-hearts that they can never actually prove, in a rigorous scientific manner, that CAGW is real. So they will never admit that the actual measurement of total climate sensitivity has never been done, and is almost certainly impossible to accomplish.

        The thing that frightens me, is that our politicians in Canada, have not been told this by a competent and believable Canadian scientific authority.

      • “Did CAGW itself start out as an academically interesting but unproven idea which has gained political momentum but at its heart remains unproven?
        tonyb”

        No.

        CAGW started out as the ‘scientific’ answer to the age old political dilemma : ‘What excuse can we use to justify taking total power over everything and everybody?’
        Looking back at the history of CAGW and the curricula vitae of its proponents it would appear that the process went something like this:
        Hmmmm? What AFFECTS everything and everybody?
        Oh, yeah, the climate; that’s the ticket. Find something that humans engage in worldwide and generate a bunch of scientific papers showing that this activity is having a UNIFORMLY ADVERSE impact on the climate.
        Got it! Humans everywhere are burning fossil fuels to maintain our technological civilization and CO2 is a universal byproduct. Control CO2 and you control the world.
        And here we are. Brainwashing our children to fear the CO2 boogeyman for which there is absolutely no empirical evidence, shutting down power plants, driving up the price of energy, wasting billions of dollars on wind farms that have no socially redeeming features beyond enriching the politically connected who are subsidized for installing and running them, putting huge energy reserves off limits, mandating this, punishing that, and, in general, solving the political dilemma quite satisfactorily

      • So in 1896 Svante Arrhenius said to himself “What excuse can we use to justify taking total power over everything and everybody? Hmmmm? What AFFECTS everything and everybody?”

        And so he wrote a paper showing that rising CO2 would cause significant climate change.

        Seriously?

      • Seriously.

    • “I ask lolwot for a single reference which provides empirical data which proves that as you add CO2 to the atmosphere, it causes a significant rise in atmospheric temperatures.”

      The existence or non-existence of such a reference is irrelevant. As I pointed out there is no single paper proving evolution either.

      It’s the weight of evidence that confirms rising CO2 has a significant warming effect, that includes measurements but also modeling and theory. But I don’t expect you to be able to appreciate that evidence given you dismiss anything but measurements as being evidence, and who even knows. Plenty of climate skeptics in recent days have been “dealing” with the arctic ice decline by claiming satellite measurements are unreliable.

      “If our hostess really hopes to have a forum where scientists on opposite sides of the CAGW debate can discuss the really important issues…”

      What scientists think that rising CO2 doesn’t have a significant warming effect? Are you talking about skydragon scientists? Regardless this isn’t an “important issue” at all. It’s a dead end non-issue.

      • lolwot | August 25, 2012 at 7:28 am | Reply Jim Cripwell “I ask lolwot for a single reference which provides empirical data which proves that as you add CO2 to the atmosphere, it causes a significant rise in atmospheric temperatures.”

        The existence or non-existence of such a reference is irrelevant. As I pointed out there is no single paper proving evolution either.

        What a coincidence, I’ve just been reading a post which says there is well known physics to say there is no such thing:

        “These data, originally from Hoyt C. Hottell at MIT, have been available since the late 1940s. I have used them to design heat treatment processes; measured heat transfer kinetics accurately follow predictions. The IPCC has completely ignored this information. claiming you can calculate IR energy absorption as the sum of all the individual contributions thus ignoring intermolecular interactions.

        The IPCC has completely ignored this information. claiming you can calculate IR energy absorption as the sum of all the individual contributions thus ignoring intermolecular interactions.”

        http://joannenova.com.au/2012/08/prof-antonino-zichichi-of-anti-matter-fame-is-angry-at-climate-science/#comment-1112668

        ——————————————————————————–

        But as I’ve said elsewhere – AGWScienceFiction fisics doesn’t have intermolecular interactions because in this fantasy world they have non-existant ideal gas molecules without weight, volume, attraction, not subject to gravity and as such these bounce off each other in elastic collisions without interacting.

        That’s why you have no rain.

      • What a coincidence Myrrh, I too have been reading blog science.

        Nuclear Decay: Evidence For A Young World
        by D. Russell Humphreys, Ph.D.
        “Three of my colleagues and I10 on the RATE project are preparing a paper with full technical details which we hope to present at the International Conference on Creationism in Pittsburgh next summer. In the meantime, friends and supporters of the RATE project have good reason to rejoice with us over these preliminary results, which strongly uphold the 6,000-year timescale of Scripture.”

        http://www.icr.org/article/302/

        The difference is I don’t blindly believe everything I hear on the internet. Whereas you evidentially do.

      • lolwat, the creationist are using a simple box model. We know that helium is being continuously generated from alpha particle generation. This should end up in the atmosphere, so where is it?
        The rate of He is approximately zero order and any efflux of He must be first order with respect to He. As atmospheric levels of He are low, the efflux must be relatively rapid.
        Actually measuring the rate that He achieves escape velocity is very difficult, so a lowball number give a 6,000 year old Earth, whereas a high number gives a Earth older than the big bang.

        Dangerous things box models, especially if you extrapolate from a low [thing].

      • David Springer

        lolwot | August 25, 2012 at 8:13 am | Reply

        “The difference is I don’t blindly believe everything I hear on the internet.”

        I would never accuse you of that! Clearly you blindly believe only that portion which supports your ideology and disbelieve what does not. That’s what Young Earth Creationists do as well. So you’re really a lot like them in methodology you just happen to have different ideologies.

      • Compare:

        “In 1957 Melvin Cook, a creationist chemist, pointed out this problem in the prestigious scientific journal, Nature, asking in his title, “Where is the earth’s radiogenic helium?”4 Radiogenic means, “generated by nuclear decay.” In nearly half a century, uniformitarian scientists apparently have not found a good enough answer to publish in Nature.”

        with

        ““These data, originally from Hoyt C. Hottell at MIT, have been available since the late 1940s. I have used them to design heat treatment processes; measured heat transfer kinetics accurately follow predictions. The IPCC has completely ignored this information. claiming you can calculate IR energy absorption as the sum of all the individual contributions thus ignoring intermolecular interactions.”

      • My reply was to the actual science being discussed, all you can do in reply is make another feeble attempt to distract from your paucity of science fact to present us.

        You have no scientific argument to draw upon. The sooner you admit this to yourself the quicker the recovery..

      • “You have no scientific argument to draw upon.”

        That’s projection. You cited some sht from jo nova’s blog.

        That aint science.

      • You’re still ignoring that I addressed the point on which you were being questioned, all you’re doing is distracting yourself. You don’t have to read it if you don’t want to, but it remains another point in dispute and stands.

        I also found interesting that in his own analysis of the difference between the calculations he himself used to make things that worked, he saw that they had excised molecular interactions, this is what I have been saying is the problem, one of them, with AGW fisics, it doesn’t use real world physics, but makes it up.

        Now, you haven’t been able to come up with any paper, or anything at all, in reply to:

        Jim Cripwell “I ask lolwot for a single reference which provides empirical data which proves that as you add CO2 to the atmosphere, it causes a significant rise in atmospheric temperatures.”

        You, generic warmists, just keep saying it exists, but never show anything. I know you can’t find it, because it doesn’t exist.

        Why do keep defending this fisics?

      • “I also found interesting that in his own analysis of the difference between the calculations he himself used to make things that worked, he saw that they had excised molecular interactions, this is what I have been saying is the problem, one of them, with AGW fisics, it doesn’t use real world physics, but makes it up.”

        I smell crank.

      • Have you looked where you’re sitting? It’s the AGW fisics which stinks..

        How is Carbon Dioxide well mixed in the atmosphere?

      • You cite Jo Nova, Christopher Monckton and WorldNutDaily which includes advertisements trying to sell a Free Energy device and a book titled “The Anti-Christ: He’s not what you think”.

        Stinks to high heaven of conspiracy crankism.

        You know where you can stick you crank physics.

      • lolwot, you ask “What scientists think that rising CO2 doesn’t have a significant warming effect?”

        As usual, when the proponents of CAGW have been unnterly defeated in the scientific argument, they come back to the “appeal to authority”. “There are no proper scientists who dont believe that CAGW is real”. If that argument satifies you, and you can sleep well at night, good luck to you. I take no notice whatsoever of anyone’s opinion when it comes to physics. That was what I was taught in Physics 101. Nullius in verba.

        Sorry, lotwot. Show me the empirical data. Dont try to convince me that you are right just because everyone else agrees with you

      • You just want to find excuses to deny. You’ve decided you don’t want to accept the scientific evidence behind AGW so you’ve fabricated a “CAGW” strawman and are playing the silly creationist game of redefining what evidence is so that you can then claim nothing meets it.

      • It doesn’t take a lot of searching, even on this blog, to find alarmists going on about “cooking the planet”, “several metres sea-level rise”, “global crop failures”, “kids dying from the heat”, etc etc etc.
        None of those can remotely be construed as ‘catastrophic’ now, can they? :rolleyes
        Talk about creating a strawman from a strawman

      • lolwot, you write “You just want to find excuses to deny. You’ve decided you don’t want to accept the scientific evidence.”

        Lolwot you go from being completely unscientific to being just plain pathetic. You claim you know more about what I think than I do. I can assure you that you have absoltutely no idea whatsoever what I have decided. I dont need excuses to deny anything. I look for reasons why I should believe in anything scientific. What I was taught to look for, what I have tried to find for my whole scientific career, and what I will still go on loooking for, is empirical data to support any particular scientific idea. That is what I have always done. That is what I will always do.

      • You say: It’s the weight of evidence that confirms rising CO2 has a significant warming effect, that includes measurements but also modeling and theory.
        The modeling and theory support the significant warming. They are not evidence.
        The actual measurements show no warming since 1998, our warmest year. This is evidence.

      • And it doesn’t contradict that rising CO2 has a significant warming effect

      • Here’s a challenge: reference actual measurements that prove the Earth orbits the Sun and not vice versa. Good luck.

      • David Springer

        1837, Bessel, stellar parallax measurement established the circumference of the earth’s orbit

        parallax measurement would not work if the sun orbited the earth

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_parallax

        maybe you should take an astronomy class at your local university – I did

      • Actually – you are both wrong. They both orbit their center of gravity.

      • David Springer

        Actually no one is wrong. loltwat made no claim. He only implied it would be a challenge. Maybe for him it was a challenge. For me it was no challenge as stellar parallax measurement is part of Astronomy 101. I made a claim that the earth orbits the sun and that is correct. You said the earth and sun orbit their common center of gravity. That is correct. The common center of gravity is still inside the sun which means I’m still correct. So the only wrong claim was you saying others were wrong.

        As always, thanks for playing.

      • Everyone has a different baseline of knowledge. For example, some skeptics don’t yet understand why the earth’s surface is 33 degrees C warmer than it would be without GHGs. Which ones don’t know or believe the basic physics of this?

  54. How come they still insist there is a problem to solve when their climate predictions are completely wrong?

    Here is what the MetOffice predicted in 2007

    2014 is likely to be 0.3 deg C warmer than 2004

    ….

    These predictions are very relevant to business and policy-makers who will be able to respond to short-term climate change when making decisions today

    Source: http://bit.ly/P7k2jo

    When the predictions are blatantly wrong, why do they want to waste billions in sequestering CO2?

    • Girma,

      Do you have some kind of time machine to know that the prediction of 0.3 deg C warming, (2014 -2004 ), is “blatantly wrong”? If so, maybe you can tell us the results of the next US election?

      2004 was about 0.27deg warmer than 1994 so another 0.3 degC a decade after that is not exactly a wild guess.

      ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/reconstructions/pcn/instrumental/hadcrut3/hcrut3-GLann.txt

      • tempterrain

        Here are the annual temperatures since 2004:
        2004=> 0.443667
        2005=> 0.474333
        2006=> 0.425
        2007=> 0.396833
        2008=> 0.329167
        2009=> 0.435917
        2010=> 0.469917
        2011=> 0.339417

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:2004/compress:12

        From 2004 to 2011, in 7 years, the temperature decreased from 0.44 to 0.34 deg C. Only 3 years is left until 2014. How is the temperature going to increase from 0.34 deg C to 0.64 deg C in the next 3 years. Temperature has to increase by 1 deg C per decade!

      • Those annual temperatures calculated from WFT are not correct. I don’t know why. Compress:12 is the same method I use but it appears not to work. In particular in hadcrut3 annual series 2010 is warmer than 2004 but WFT shows the otherway round.

        Here’s the Met Office decadal 2004 to 2014 prediction:

        And here’s their latest prediction to 2020. Yes they expect a steep rise in coming years (solar max?)

        http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/science/specialist/long-range/global/decadal_fc.html

      • Ah yes, the Met Office.
        The same people who have been promising us a barbecue summer every year for the past 8 or so years.
        They’re a national joke!

      • they predicted that for a single year, not the past 8. The UK is one of the hardest regions in the world to forecast the weather. Seasonal forecasts more so.

      • lolwot, since you are looking at temperatures, one of the funnier issues is we really don’t know what average should be. So everyone can pick a cherry and have a blast creating their image of what they think is happening.

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/08/degrees-of-confusion-another-modest.html

        Since “Unforced Variability” is a bit of an issue, perhaps a more modern base line might be in order :)

      • Don’t tell me what you think they did – I happen to live in the UK
        They predicted it for next year – every year.

      • lol at solar max. they hope AGW will catch up, you know ‘basic physics’ and all that. We’ll be around 0.0 by 2020.

      • “Don’t tell me what you think they did – I happen to live in the UK
        They predicted it for next year – every year.”

        BS. You are lying.

      • I’ve got better things to do with my life than argue with idiots who are so wrapped up in their own confirmation bias that they don’t know what day it is – and who then have the effrontery to call me me a liar.
        Well goodbye – life’s too short – can’t say it’s been nice knowing you!

      • one down…

      • In particular in hadcrut3 annual series 2010 is warmer than 2004 but WFT shows the otherway round.

        WFT
        2004=>0.44
        2010=>0.47

      • temp,

        Using HADCRUT3, I plotted the data:

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1990/mean:12/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1990

        Now tell me again why you chose 1994 and 2004?

        And what in the data leads you to believe that 2014 is likely to be 0.3degC up on 2004?

      • Peter317

        Thanks for your question to lolwot.

        Here is the trend since 2004

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:2004/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:2004/trend

        The trend is on global cooling!

        It is almost impossible for the temperature for 2014 to be 0.3 deg C above that for 2011.

      • Peter317,

        As you say, or imply, choosing just two data points ten years apart doesn’t prove anything. If the Met Office have implied anything different, then I would agree that there are grounds for criticism.You need to look at the long term trend with at least a five year smoothing applied to annual data points.
        So let’s do that:

        As you can see, even with a five year average applied, the warming hasn’t been smooth. There have been cooling periods with quite steep jumps in between. It looks like these jumps and cooling periods are related to the 11-13 year solar cycle.

        The sun is just coming out of its deepest minimum for 100 years and, surprise surprise, the AGW skeptic/deniers have declared the end to global warming. If previous patterns are repeated, any slight recent cooling will be followed by a steep jump.

        If it does again this time the Met Office could still turn out to be right. We’ll just have to wait and see.

    • Why are you using a regional temperature series to test a global prediction?

      Smith et al is the first decadal prediction. They are thought to be impossible. So if they are wrong, then they are wrong at attempting the impossible. Hardly something to get worked up about. Unless you’re an idiot.

      • JCH you write “Smith et al is the first decadal prediction. They are thought to be impossible.”

        I find this remark to be very interesting. I remember very well what happened when first Smith et al came out with their prediciton, followed , Keenleyside et al with theirs. They were hailed by the proponents of CAGW to be the peak of scientific forecasting, and explained why temperatures had been in a lull, with no significant rise since the El Nino year of 1998. At that time, there were no objections raised to the science presented.

        It is only now, when it seems probable that Smith et al are going to be wrong (I dont agree with Grima), that all sorts of reasons are now being raised as to why Smith et al were really trying to do the impossible. This was a peer reviewed paper. The reviewers obviously had no qualms, of the sort that you are now raising, at allowing publication.

        Your objections are simply sour grapes.

      • What rubbish.

        RC greeted Keenlyside with a bet. I don’t think they’ve ever even bothered with writing an article about Smith et al.

        They wrote this for you:

        Guidance on the use of our long-range forecasts

        Important

        Long-range forecasts are unlike weather forecasts for the next few days
        Forecasts show the likelihood of a range of possible outcomes
        The most likely outcome in the forecast will not always happen
        Forecasts are for average conditions over a wide region and time period

      • “What rubbish.”

        When a climate skeptic claims to remember something happening, it doesn’t mean it actually happened.

        I saw one claiming the met office predicted barbecue summers for every one of the last 8 years in this thread.

        They have a conspiracy theory based narrative and they feel fitting past events to this narrative is the same as “remembering it”.

      • JCH writes “What rubbish. ”

        Fair enough. I stand corrected. My memory is not always accurate.

    • MET OFFICE
      2014 is likely to be 0.3 deg C warmer than 2004

      http://bit.ly/P7k2jo

      Here is the data since 2004

      2004=>0.443667
      2005=>0.474333
      2006=>0.425
      2007=>0.396833
      2008=>0.329167
      2009=>0.435917
      2010=>0.469917
      2011=>0.339417

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:2004/compress:12/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:2004/trend

      According to Met Office

      For 2014, the GMST will be 0.44 + 0.3 = 0.74 deg C.

      For 2011, the GMST = 0.34 deg C.

      According to Met Office, from 2011 to 2014, the GMST will rise by 0.74 – 0.34 = 0.40 deg C in three years.

      This requires a global warming rate of 0.4*10/3 = 1.33 deg C per decade in the next three years.

  55. The ‘modest proposal’ states that calculations demonstrate that this project is worthy of consideration, that 446 deposition plants supported by 16 1200-MW wind farms can remove 1 b tons carbon annually and store as landfill.

    Hmm … even should there be a need for this proposal, which is far from certain, (Bob Ludwick, Tony b comments,) there’s the stated assumption that the Antarctic would be the perfect location. So, how would wind turbines operate in below zero temperatures in one of the most hostile environments on Earth? And what about the logistics of winter maintenance of the systems?

    Seems, with regard ter costs, risks, and practical feasibility, this really is quite a ‘modest’ proposal.

  56. There’s also the issue that wind turbines can’ t operate in high winds. Blades don’t turn above speeds of 16MPH, they are designed to lock down so that they aren’t damaged,(or destroyed,)
    Ref, Tony from Oz

  57. “This is the most interesting idea I’ve encountered in awhile.”
    If so, our esteemed hostess deserves our sympathy for the dull time she must have been having recently. Let’s hope anyway it just remains an idea. I prefer the idea of keeping Antarctica free of industrial development, which its permanent inhabitants can do very well without. CO2 is wonderful stuff when diluted in air or water but in its pure form or at very high concentrations it can be hazardous, as brewery workers have to know.

  58. Having trouble posting this comment fer some reason …Wind turbines are also designed so that the blades lock down in windspeeds above 16MPH, to prevent the blades being damaged (or destroyed.)

    • It’s been fun talking about it, but it’s a dog of a project. 1. It will be a bear to maintain. 2. It will cost taxpayers a ton of money – not that governments care about that any more 3. It has not been established that it is even necessary. 4. It probably wouldn’t be able to sequester enough CO2 to matter – on the assumption CO2 is bad in the first place.

      It is kind of an odd thing for Dr. Curry to post. But, whatever.

    • Beth, wind turbines have different design ranges of wind speed. In the Antarctic they would have a higher range than in another region. They would also have to be made of different materials etc. It would be an absolutely marvelous design project to be involved in if you could find a idiot to finance the fantasy. Oh wait :)

  59. Say, captdallas, high speed wind turbines specially designed fer Antarctic conditions … whoo oo oosh!
    ( And another one bites the dust, er snow.) :-)

  60. Katabatic winds.. are they serious?

    This modest proposal becomes ever more extreme:

    “Studying katabatic winds is difficult, not only because they are so strong, because the wind carries ice crystals from the high plateau to the sea. Wendler found that more than 10,000 ice particles per second pass through a square inch when the katabatic winds are very strong.”

    http://www.usatoday.com/weather/antarc/sun/2001-01-30-katabatic-winds.htm

    Is there any windmill that can work at the speeds of this wind?

  61. Is there any exposed non-permafrost ground where you can actually anchor a windmill?

  62. What with katabatic winds that blow men off their feet, H/T ter Sir Douglas Mawson describing Cape Denisen, ‘home of the blizzard,’ hmm, those wind turbines are going ter be thrumming and spinning like you wouldn’t believe…
    oops… wh oo oo oosh … there goes another one!

    • Maybe we could just bury a giant axle on the pole. Then put up a giant centrifugal fan that would catch the wind swirling around the pole. It would look cool too and could be outfitted with a variable transmission so winds of just about any speed could be utilized.

  63. Jim Cripwell

    Is the following demonstration for the heat absorption property of CO2 not adequate?

    The problem with this experiments is that the proportion of CO2 in the bottle is not the same as that in the atmosphere of 0.039%.

    • Another problem with this experiment is that there is no heat loss in the bottle by convection as it happens on the surface of the earth.

      It is just like saying arsenic exists in potatoes; as a result, eating potatoes will kill you.

      The dosage matters, which environmentalists always ignore.

  64. Windfarms?! In Antarctica?!! Really?!!! These things aren’t cost effective when you can get to them easily for repair.

  65. ralph Selman

    I have talked to a friend who run the crew that maintains 50 wind turbines in wyoming about this idea. He wintered over in the antarctic 36 years ago in the navy at the PM3-a. He broke out laughing. He said that it would cost >1 trillion !!! and have an availability factor of less than 20%. This idea is a pipe dream, or rather nightmare.

  66. Chad Wozniak

    An interesting idea? More like a RIDICULOUS idea! And too much in keeping with the AGW fascists’ intentions and plans to waste trillions of dollars chasing the CO2 bogeyman. Why is anyone, especially someone like Dr. Curry, giving such an absurdity the time of day? Enough is too much already.

    I ask you, Dr. Curry, are you a closet AGW advocate? Your commernts here imply that you are. No negative consequences? Again, how does $ trillions wasted grab you?

  67. Why not simply dig a big hole in higher elevation of the Antarctic.
    Pick somewhat flat location where there 2 km of ice depth and make a hole say 1 km in diameter and 2 km deep.

    Then dump 100 tons of liquid nitrogen into the hole.
    The bottom 1 km has 500 squared pi time 1000 meters:
    785 million cubic meters.
    A ton of N2 about 1.2 cubic meters and expands into gas by about 700 fold:
    “Liquid phase

    Liquid density (1.013 bar at boiling point) : 808.607 kg/m3
    Liquid/gas equivalent (1.013 bar and 15 °C (59 °F)) : 691 vol/vol
    Boiling point (1.013 bar) : -195.9 °C
    Latent heat of vaporization (1.013 bar at boiling point) : 198.38 kJ/kg”

    http://encyclopedia.airliquide.com/Encyclopedia.asp?GasID=5

    So 1.2 cubic meter of liquid N2, if warmed to 15 C, expands 691 times,
    since going remain quite cold it’s expansion would around 500 times or less, but the 198.38 kJ/kg energy needed to make into gas state will cool additional air in the pit. Plus the relatively warm ice walls and bottom of pit will be chilled.
    So you spray the liquid nitrogen from the top into the pit, it rains down the pit cooling the air. When first start dumping the liquid nitrogen in it probably will reach the bottom as liquid, the warmer Antarctic air will lose enough heat to evaporate it. This cooled air sink, this sink and denser air will draw in air form above the pit and gravity will trap the cold air into the bottom of pit. If you dumped in enough N2 in a short enough time it’s possible that liquid nitrogen could actual remain liquid at bottom of pit. This isn’t a particular problem but nor is it particularly desirable.
    Same ref above: “Gas density (1.013 bar at boiling point) : 4.614 kg/m3″
    This is about 4 denser than air [mostly nitrogen] at room temperature: 1.2 kg/m3. The antarctic air colder and denser room temperature, but all this cold air made in pit should around twice the density as the fairly cold antarctic air. This denser air can’t leave the pit- it only exit if it warms up.

    So the liquid nitrogen will form into air- the 1.2 times 100 ton is 120 cubic meter time say 500- which is air 60,000 cubic meter air near it’s boiling point at density of 4.614 kg/m3. And it’s cooling some portion of say the bottom 1 km of pit air, the 785 million cubic meters of air. The heat capacity of say -50 C air is 1.005 kJ/kg.K

    http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/air-properties-d_156.html

    So the 100 tons or 100,000 kg of liquid nitrogen requires 198.38 kJ/kg to change from liquid state to gas.
    To cool kg -50 C air to say -150 C requires 100.5 kJ.

    So air at -50 C to -150 C is:
    -50 C: 1.534 kg/m3 1.005 kJ/kg.K
    -150 C: 2.793 kg/m3 1.026 kJ/kg.K

    So roughly the 100 tons of liquid N2 become about 60,000 cubic meter
    of air at around -195.9 °C and density 4.614 kg/m3 and air in pit roughly form into another 60,000 cubic of air at around -195 C with density of 4.614 kg/m3.
    So one has about 120,000 cubic meter of very cold air at bottom of pit.

    How high is it above pit floor?
    1 km diameter 1 meter high is 785,000 cubic meters and one has about 120,000 cubic meters at -195 C and density of 4.614 kg/m3 which means it’s about 16 cm or 6 inches high. And one will some kind of temperature gradient, and top of pit it will be much if any amount colder the surrounding air- normal air is a good insulator.
    The main sources of heat would ice surrounding the walls, geothermal heat, and condensation of water and CO2.
    I would guess most energy would lost from the dry Antarctic air, becoming drier [water ice will form] and it will snow CO2.
    To make up for added heat, you spray more liquid N2 into the pit.
    As air in pit, become drier and has less CO2, the higher humidity and higher levels of CO2 will mix from outside atmosphere.

    Costs: The biggest cost is making the pit. And if want store CO2 in Antarctic you need dig a pit of some sort.
    The liquid nitrogen cost is mostly transportation costs. One could make liquid air in the antarctic or someplace close to Antarctic and thereby lower the costs to ship it.

    With the pit dug [somehow- a nuclear weapon could make a nice hole]
    the addition labor cost is rather insignificant. The maintenance requires liquid nitrogen shipment. The spraying liquid nitrogen into pit, could automated. And/or small amount constantly spraying in the pit.

    The cold Antarctic air isn’t significant factor in lower the cost of making Liquid Nitrogen [and liquid oxygen, CO2, Argon, and other trace gases].
    The bulk cost of liquid oxygen:
    “In large quantities, the price of liquid oxygen in 2001 was approximately $0.21/kg. Since the primary cost of production is the energy cost of liquefying the air, the production cost will change as energy cost varies.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen

    “”We have assumed energy cost to be 0.04$/kW•hr, based upon industrial rates, and the bulk cost of liquid nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen to be 0.113$/liter, 0.176$/liter, and 0.288$/liter respectively.”

    http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2007/KarenFan.shtml

    The main factor with cost energy cost, and shipping it [cost of truck and wages of driver]. Energy cost in Antarctic is not good. But problem is shipping to Antarctic is very expensive. Of shipping people isn’t cheap either. And heavy helicopter transporting from base on Antarctic to the pit location would probably be cheapest. So where put pits would dependent where most easily ship via helicopter from some base at Antarctic where the Liquid nitrogen is made or can shipped via Ships in very large quantities and stored in very large quantities.

    • How you dig a hole.
      Above make big hole- because it’s going to store a lot of CO2. You fill halfway up, and with mixture of CO2 and water ice. The lower 1 km of pit is 785 million cubic meters. If this is the density water: 1 then it’s .785 billion tonnes. [rather insignificant].
      Dry ice has density of “about 1.4 and 1.6 g/cm3″.
      So bottom 1 km of pit might hold as much as 1 billion tonnes of CO2 and water ice. And it’s weight will compress it. One might fill it as much as 3/4 full, but fill it in any windy condition above pit will cause more loss in heat, so point you need stop and than bury the pit [with snow/ice. The glacial ice extracted from pit can piled up at the rim [increasing it’s depth and be avail to refill the pit.

      Sequestering a billion tonnes of CO2 will have close zero impact upon global CO2 levels. There is problem with storing CO2 in glacier ice- it’s not stable. My way doing it is more stable. Because there will mixture of water and CO2. I making very cold- the CO2 and the water, plus everything around it. As long as it’s cold enough and/or under enough pressure the CO2 will store fairly stable- and putting it under 1 km or 1/2 km of snow/ice would also help with this.
      So to vaguely reasonable one has to dig a lot of holes. One put these holes fairly close to each other- sort like a honeycomb- leave say 1 to 2 km thick walls. So something like 100 hole in a 20 km square area [400 square km]. And therefore ultimately storing 100 billion tonnes of CO2- which is at measurable in it’s impact upon global CO2. Of course if happenned to have volcanic impact at your site, the release of all the CO2 would also have significant impact of global CO2 levels. So you better have a good geological understanding of the site location.

      My point is this simpler than modest proposal. It’s cheaper, and is focusing on the truly difficult part of this whole concept- digging enough big holes.
      Instead worrying about wind minds and refrigeration plants- or excessively blighting a pristine Antarctica [which is wonderful plan, but not really what Lefties want].

      But I think fertilizing vast sterile ocean with iron and creating more food for ocean life [and consequently more food from humans] is a better way to go- you using CO2 for a good purpose rather just storing somewhere- and storing CO2 in gas/ice form has some possibility being suddenly released some way, whereas CO2 in skeleton of tiny creatures most likely ends up as limestone. A way nature is currently storing most of Earth’s CO2/carbon.

  68. I’ve just posted another revision (version 3) of the cost estimate for CO2 sequestration. But it has got caught in moderation. It is here (when released): http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/24/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic/#comment-232278

    The estimated CO2 sequestration cost is $339/tonne CO2.

    To put this abatement cost in perspective:

    – Current EU carbon price = $10/t CO2
    – Estimated abatement cost with renewable energy in Australia = $300/t CO2
    – Estimated abatement cost with nuclear energy in Australia = $65/t CO2
    – Nordhaus ‘Low-cost backstop technology’ (assumes) = $270/t CO2
    – CO2 Abatement cost if/when we allow low-cost nuclear = <$0/t CO2

  69. Jim 2, yr ‘schizoid’ makes me think of a Radiohead song.

    http://www.last.fm/music/Radiohead/_/Paranoid+Android

  70. Er .. should’ve watched the animation first … (

  71. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Unity is pretty rare here on Climate Etc … and yet we have seen is a pretty solid consensus emerge — that is shared among scientists, skeptics, and denialists alike — that Antarctic CO2 squestration is a bad idea!   :grin:   :grin:   :grin:

    And in honor of this consensus, I have added a new entry to the syllogism “Denialism Tethers Us”!

    ————————————-

    What is the main obstacle to “breaking the tether of fuel” — the tether that binds our warriors, drains our treasury, and degrades our planet?

    It’s simple …

    Denialism Tethers Us  Specifically, the blindly short-sighted, willfully ignorant, abusively demagogic denialism that reflexively rejects the simple syllogism:

    • Libertarian / freemarket principles have failed utterly to protect the ozone layer.

    • Libertarian / freemarket principles are failing utterly to reduce CO2 emissions too.

    • Global-scale geo-engineering mitigation scenarios have little economic and technical credibility, even in principle.

    • So if James Hansen’s worldview is scientifically and morally right, then the libertarian / freemarket worldview is scientifically and morally wrong.

    We thus appreciate that denialist cognition is not paralyzed by stupidity, and moreover, that denialist cognition is only apparently paralyzed by ignorance and short-sightedness … because what really paralyzes denialist cognition is fear pure-and-simple.

    Denialists fear a world in which reflexive cognition and sloganeering demagoguery are insufficient to plan for our planet’s future.

    So it’s simple, eh?

    It’s time to abandon climate-change denialism, and thereby break the tethers of fear, ignorance, and short-sightedness.   :!:   :!:   :!:

  72. MyLongNickName

    I am amazed at how many people can’t figure out that the dude is joking.

    If you are saying that you need to create a power source to convert the CO2 from the atmosphere into a form that can be buried, then the logical choice is why you can’t simply use this power source to eliminate CO2 producing power sources in the first place.

    His ‘modest proposal’ should have tipped you off. Apparently, it was far too subtle…

    • Should windmills be gorged upon, all at one pop, or more delicately, blade by blade?
      =================

    • You’re right. There are so many crackpot ideas floating around, that no, you can’t tell when they’re joking. Is 350.org joking with some of their hare-brained schemes?

  73. I wonder if wind turbines are the best source of energy for this project. Since Antarctica is mostly a huge frozen wastland anyway, it seems that a small parcel of it could be put “at risk” to build a few quick and dirty nuke plants.

    • “I wonder if wind turbines are the best source of energy for this project. Since Antarctica is mostly a huge frozen wastland anyway, it seems that a small parcel of it could be put “at risk” to build a few quick and dirty nuke plants.”

      One problem with idea is doesn’t require much energy to cool even warm air, and cooling cold air is even less significant.
      The Antarctic temperature gets fairly close to freezing out CO2.
      Though the average Antarctic temperature is *only* about -50 C. And -50 C isn’t very close. The only factor is the increasing pressure would also CO2 to become liquid. So you also sequester CO2 in deep ocean with it’s enormous pressures [though it’s above freezing].
      There are lakes of liquid CO2 in the ocean.
      There also vast amounts of CO2 associated with ocean methane hydrate deposits.
      About the only place there is a real shortage of CO2 is in the atmosphere- in which .04% of atmosphere is CO2. Or 99.9 percent of atmosphere lacks
      the CO2 impurity. If CO2 were less than .01% we probably would be dead- plants won’t very successful getting that low of a trace gas in order to live. [though maybe they could somehow get higher concentration even if global average was so low- such as local condition could higher concentration than global.]

    • Canman,

      On my rough calculations above (awaiting moderation: http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/24/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic/#comment-232278) energy accounts for 63% of the total cost of sequestration. If nuclear was substituted for wind generation the total cost of CO2 sequestration in Antarctica (based on this proposal and my rough calculations) would be roughly halved. And I am making allowance to the higher cost of nuclear in Antarctica and that the excess heat has to be more widely dissipated.

  74. “I am amazed at how many people can’t figure out that the dude is joking.”

    As in:
    “A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burden on Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick, commonly referred to as A Modest Proposal, is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729. Swift suggests that impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies. This satirical hyperbole mocks heartless attitudes towards the poor, as well as Irish policy in general.

    In English writing, the phrase “a modest proposal” is now conventionally an allusion to this style of straight-faced satire.”

    But who is joking. The title paper is:
    “CO2 Snow Deposition in Antarctica to
    3 Curtail Anthropogenic Global Warming”

    http://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/co2_snow_deposition.pdf

    But yes it is outlandish and seems like a straight-faced satire.

  75. the curmudgeon

    Okay, so we’re still trying to figure out how to sequester carbon dioxide on the planet to save us from global warming and we’re not willing to change our agricultural practices to lock up the extra carbon in places like plants and topsoil. We’ve got to remove it directly as carbon dioxide and hide it somewhere. It cain’t be done. If all you’re going to do is try to store it somewhere on the planet then, sometime in the future, it’s going to get loose again. If you really, really, really think this is the substance that is going to kill us all, Kill Us All, KILL US ALL, then you’d best think of ways of getting it off planet. How about setting up the windfarms and using part of their energy to remove the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and create blocks of dry ice. Wrap them in a small amount of regular ice to shield them from a high speed passage through the atmosphere and then use the energy from the other part of the windfarms to power a mass driver and simply throw the stuff off into space. Could just sail off into space, no problem. Could land on another planet, no problem. Could fall into the sun, no problem. Could fall back on the Earth, won’t do any damage and we’ll just repackage it and throw it off planet again.

    Anyway, the refrigeration plant and the mass driver could probably be built with good old fashioned over-engineered boiler plate technology so that the only intervention it would need would be for someone to visit it once a year and pour some fresh lubricating oil into the works.

    • “How about setting up the windfarms and using part of their energy to remove the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and create blocks of dry ice. Wrap them in a small amount of regular ice to shield them from a high speed passage through the atmosphere and then use the energy from the other part of the windfarms to power a mass driver and simply throw the stuff off into space. Could just sail off into space, no problem. ”

      Why send the source of CO2 off planet. Source being, living human being?
      Now if send humans off planet, not only will you remove something that would generate 30 tons of CO2 per year per person, but these guys could do something about all the nasty CO2 on other planets. Mars has thin atmosphere with ~2.5 x 10^16 kg. Or about 2.5 x 10^13 tonnes of CO2
      or 25 trillion tonnes of CO2. These off world human might want some oxygen and converting few trillion tonnes of CO2 into O2 could be in their self interest. Also the planet Venus with ~4.8 x 10^20 kg. Or about 5000 times more CO2 than Mars. And they wanted to live on surface of Venus they have figure out how rid of about 10^20 kg of the CO2, somehow.

      So in bigger picture, we get rid of thousands of trillions of tonnes of evil CO2 molecule. Or somewhere around 1 trillon tonnes per year over next few centuries.

  76. Isn’t it amazing what lengths some people will go to to avoid nuclear power. They’d be prepared to advocate all sorts of nutty schemes rather than accept that nuclear power can avoid CO2 emissions at <$0/tonne CO2 – if we are allowed to remove the impediments that have been imposed by 50 years of irrational anti-nuclear protests which have resulted in mass radiation phobia and hysteria.

    From this comment (awaiting moderation):

    http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/24/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic/#comment-232278

    Estimate for sequestration of 4 billion tonnes CO2 snow per year = $339/tonne CO2

    To put this abatement cost in perspective:

    – Current EU carbon price = $10/t CO2
    – Estimated abatement cost with renewable energy in Australia = $300/t CO2 [3]
    – Estimated abatement cost with nuclear energy in Australia = $65/t CO2
    – Nordhaus ‘Low-cost backstop’ technology (assumes) = $270/t CO2 [4]
    – CO2 Abatement cost if/when we allow low-cost nuclear = <$0/t CO2 [5, 6, 7, 8, 9]

    References:

    [1] Ernest Agee, Andrea Orton and John Rogers (2012) CO2 Snow Deposition in Antarctica to Curtail Anthropogenic Global Warming

    http://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/co2_snow_deposition.pdf

    [2] Peter Lang – preliminary estimate of CO2 sequestration cost http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/24/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic/#comment-231960

    [3] Peter Lang (2012) – Renewable electricity for Australia – the Cost (Figure 6) http://bravenewclimate.com/2012/02/09/100-renewable-electricity-for-australia-the-cost/

    [4] William Nordhaus (2008) A Question of Balance http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf

    [5] Why CO2 pricing won’t work: http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/17/learning-from-the-octopus/#comment-231855

    [6] Alternative to Carbon Pricing – Costs and benefits of ‘Cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels’ policy compared with ‘Optimal carbon price’ policy: http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/17/learning-from-the-octopus/#comment-231857

    [7] How to achieve cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels: http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/17/learning-from-the-octopus/#comment-231861

    [8] Why we need to focus on small modular factory built and refuelled nuclear power plants: http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/17/learning-from-the-octopus/#comment-231865

    [9] Nuclear power is about the safest of all electricity generation technologies – nuclear would avoid 1 million fatalities per year by 2050 compared with coal:

    http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/17/learning-from-the-octopus/#comment-231867

  77. Isn’t it amazing the lengths some people will go to to avoid nuclear power. They’d be prepared to advocate all sorts of costly schemes rather than accept that nuclear power can avoid CO2 emissions at <$0/tonne CO2 – if we are allowed to remove the impediments that have been imposed by 50 years of irrational, anti-nuclear protests which have resulted in widespread radiation phobia and hysteria in the western democracies.

    From this comment (it's awaiting moderation):

    http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/24/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic/#comment-232278

    Estimate for sequestration of 4 billion tonnes CO2 snow per year = $339/tonne CO2

    To put this abatement cost in perspective:

    – Current EU carbon price = $10/t CO2
    – Estimated abatement cost with renewable energy in Australia = $300/t CO2 [3]
    – Estimated abatement cost with nuclear energy in Australia = $65/t CO2
    – Nordhaus ‘Low-cost backstop’ technology (assumes) = $270/t CO2 [4]
    – CO2 Abatement cost if/when we allow low-cost nuclear = <$0/t CO2 [5, 6, 7, 8, 9]

    References:
    [Wait for the linked comment to be released from moderation]

    • I find this proposal interesting. If my cost estimates are anywhere near realistic it means we have at least one fall back option to pull CO2 from the atmosphere (admittedly at high cost), without much risk to the biosphere.

      What I also find interesting is that the cost (based on my estimates) is much the same as many of the other completely irrational schemes we are being forced to implement.

      The estimated cost of the proposed scheme reveals, again, how irrational is the objection to nuclear power. We are prepared to pay just about any cost to avoid going nuclear. How irrational is that?

      If the cost estimates are anywhere near realistic it means we do not have to go ahead with high-cost, economically irrational mitigation policies (like CO2 taxes and cap and trade).

      So the EU can drop their ETS and get on with trying to rebuild productivity and repair their economy.

      When the ‘Progressives’ stop blocking progress on nuclear power we can develop low cost nuclear power to substitute for fossil fuels.

      I see this proposal as potentially valuable for these reasons. I’d suggest it should be given more consideration and more constructive analysis/criticism

  78. Robert I Ellison

    This latest missive by FAN is quite clearly merely rhetorical flourishes based on a loose citing of references and appeals to the infallibility of Jim Hansen. Every missive is indeed a global denialist gotcha from which it is impossible to distil any meaning at all – other than that denialists are in some sense or other lacking in cognitive skills, good faith or table manners. (Much like Anders Brevik – not quite insane but nonetheless too dangerous to be allowed out ever again.) So the handle itself is ironic in intent as the intention is to shut down discourse.

    The US DoD report on fuels (breaking the tether) discussed both efficiency (hybrid Hummers?) and the building of a domestic synthetic fuels capacity. Your EIA have most recently predicted an increase in liquid fuels to 2035 as synthetic fuels come to the fore. This is a predictable and predicted market response to fears of oil supply pressures. Nothing that has any relevance in the current context – merely a hook to hang the rhetoric from.

    FAN is more and more sounding like a wild eyed extremist with a familiar rhetoric on free markets. Free markets, democracy and the rule of law are here to stay despite any and all assessments of market failures from politically marginalised extremes. The world is moving slowly and fitfully in the direction of free markets and free peoples – it is not a process that a few neo-socialists can stop.

    Earlier I linked to a World Bank Institute video on African Farming. The numbers are very simple – we can by increasing the organic content of agricultural soils by 1% remove 500 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – and at the same time decreases costs, increase food production and build resilience to drought and flood. This is 500 times the carbon sequestering potential of the subject of this post. This is the new and unstoppable green revolution based on rational science and rational solutions to a range of human development problems.

    Too simple? It illustrates 2 things – the ability of markets to transform productive systems rapidly and the fundamentally important organisational principles in societies that go beyond both markets and government. Going beyond the tragedy of the commons to polycentric governance in the language of the late, great, Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom.

    Polycentric governance depends on good faith and good quality information – something FAN seems to lack in fundamental ways either deliberately or delusionally. The science of Hansen is incorrect as well which leaves FAN hoisted on his own petard as anomalies accumulate. Hansen subscribes to the wrong scientific paradigm. In theory the climate system is complex and not linear – so there is abrupt change and not ‘global warming’. The satellite data shows that changes in cloud cover was the cause of all recent warming. Although I agree that there should be some greenhouse warming – planetary cooling in the infrared in both ERBS and ISCCP-FD doesn’t do anything to confirm the greenhouse gas theory. Finally – ocean circulation changes have impacts on global hydrology, clouds and surface temperature. The last suggests a cooling influence for another decade or three. As FAN repeats ad nauseum – nature has decided.

    Frankly – I think the inability to process these anomalies is suggestive of group think rather than rational cognitive processes. But sometimes I can’t help thinking that the so called great moral problem of our age is a smokescreen for some people to seek root and branch changes to social systems. A big lie power play to impose the irrational views of a few on the trajectory of human development. The suspension of democracy and the rule of law, governance by decree of an elite and economic ‘degrowth’. These ideas seem at the core of a modern and potentially dangerous social movement. The ideas gain momentum only with fear and guilt at the core of the climate narrative – ramping up the fear and guilt is the only way the movement can succeed. What the sensible and practical middle ground of society must do is defuse the fear and frame a positive social narrative in favour of healthy and wealthy human societies and environmental conservation and restoration.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Chill, dude … `cuz didn’t Publius say it far better???   :!:   :grin:   :!:

      • Robert I Ellison

        ‘It has been frequently remarked, that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not, of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend, for their political constitutions, on accident and force.’

        Dude – you will find that I am chilled – :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool:

        And that the problem is defining the qualities and substance of good governance. Times have moved on since the Federalist Papers – and it is a question for every new generation and the world at large to determine. Is this century one of growth, scientific progress, peace and environmental conservation? Or one where the new barbarians inside the gates of our hard won citadel of enlightenment bring down the walls of civilisation? Do we suspend democracy and the rule of law, institute elite command and control and engineer economic degrowth? Your founding fathers are spinning as hard in their graves as hard as you are whilst still alive and kicking – dude.

        As for saying it better in a blog than in a honed essay – I am a humble man but with a great love of literature, physics, philosophy, economics and social theory and with training in engineering and environmental science. In reflective moments – I regard myself as natural philosopher, a gleamer in the vineyard of knowledge. In moments such as now I am a poor Diogenes – who when asked why he was punishing the tub he lived in by pushing it around the city explained that while the citizens were preparing for war it were best that he busied himself in some manner calculated to add to the martial air and general tumult. I guess – like you – I like hearing myself talk. Just that I am cleverer and do it better than you.

        What puzzles me most is – if I am wrong in my analysis of the recalcitrance of the typical modern, pissant progressive – why are not both the simple solutions and the uncertainties of the science part of the narrative you accept? Frankly – dude – it all seems a little one sided, ill informed, ideologically negligent, hopelessly muddled, distinctly brutish and insensitive, lacking in vision and education, wasteful of time and energy, pedestrian in language and swaddled in gimmicks.

    • Robert Ellison,

      Good video thank you. I did not see the previous video you mentioned you’d linked
      @ August 25, 2012 at 11:59 pm

      we can by increasing the organic content of agricultural soils by 1% remove 500 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere

      @ August 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm

      A 1% increase in soil organic content matter captures approximately 100 tonnes per hectare of atmospheric carbon dioxide. For each 1% increase in organic content achieved on the 5 billion hectares of degraded farmland worldwide about 500 billion tonnes – some 64 ppm –- of carbon dioxide will be removed from the atmosphere.

      The figures are interesting. But what is realistically achievable. And what is the cost CSIRO seems to be poo pooing the idea.

      Can you point me to some authoritative figures for CO2 abatement cost based on actual results?

      • Robert I Ellison

        Hi Peter,

        I was speaking to a friend yesterday. He was told by a local farmer that if in the drought and with rising input costs they were still making money there would be no incentive to move to conservation farming when they did. About 15% of Australian farms are use ‘conservation farming’ – a mix of techniques ranging from rotational grazing, planting cover crops and no till direct seeding high tech approaches of GPS guided equipment and pinpoint ‘face recognition’ spraying of weeds. It is a cheaper and far more productive system. The costs depend on the applicable method – huge for high tech equipment in an agribusiness setting and minimal for an African smallholder implementing ‘permaculture’. The benefits in both cases exceed the costs.

        Organic contents of Australain soils have declined several percent in the past 200 years. World agricultural soils are in a similar dire state.

        http://www.sweet-soil.com/technology/sweetsoil-technology/carbon-farming/

        I think you are better looking at the farmers rather than the CSIRO. Check ‘carbon farmers of Australia’ and ‘carbon farmers of America’.

        It is a world wide movement.

        Cheers

      • Hi Robert,

        Thank you for this reply. Just to let you know, I am not totally ignorant of what you are posting. I grew up on the land (property owned since 1898 and still in the family; my brother owns it now). I also managed some Grains R&D Corp projects in the 1990s aimed at improving energy efficiency in many ways. So I’ve been around all this all my life.

        My question is about the costs and the practicability of achieving the quantities of carbon sequestration you are suggesting is theoretically feasible.

        You say:

        Organic contents of Australain soils have declined several percent in the past 200 years. World agricultural soils are in a similar dire state.

        I accept that. But that does not help me to understand what is the practicability and cost of reversing it. I am interested to see some solid evidence that demonstrates it is practicable and is a low cost way to sequester CO2 (and gain the other benefits you mention).

        I’m just a practical, once-upon-a-time farmer.

        “Show me the money”.

      • Robert I Ellison

        ‘The easiest way to sequester Carbon is in the soil. More specifically, perennial grasslands. Since these types of ecosystems usually contain the deepest soils, they have the most potential to store carbon. Furthermore, there are over 800 million acres of grasslands under management just in the US. Combine that with the 400 million acres of cropland in America. That’s a total of 1.2 billion acres we could utilize to sequester a phenomenal amount of Carbon.

        Dr. Christine Jones, leading Grassland Ecology Scientist from Australia, says a 1% Carbon increase in grassland and crop soils in Australia would offset their entire “legacy load” or total rise in Co2 over the last 50 years.

        So what exactly does that mean to us in the United States? Well, here in California, 50 years ago our Carbon levels in the soil were at 8 or 9%. Now they are down to 4 or 3%. Where did all that extra carbon go……atmosphere perhaps?

        The big question is how long does it take to build soil? In nature it takes at least a thousand years to build one inch. With modern techniques we have seen dramatic increases in soil formation. Abe Collins, Founder of Carbon Farmers of America, has documented 8 inches of soil depth in a single season! That’s more than enough to increase soil Carbon by 1% in less than a year.’

        That comes from the sweet soil link I provided. Christine Jones is the leading voice in Australia. These are several papers here. http://www.amazingcarbon.com/ – including the following comment.

        ‘Tim Wiley, Development Officer with Western Australia’s Department of
        Agriculture and Food, was quick to realise the great potential of soil arbon increases with perennials. Wiley has been supporting the ASCAS trials in the NAR of WA. ‘The trend is clear – perennial pastures sequester
        5 to 10 tonnes of CO2 per hectare annually.’

        Increasing soil organic contyent by 1% – i.e. from 3% to 4% of soil weight -sequesters 100 tonnes of carbon. That’s a simple calculation and seems to be a conservative target. Applying it to agricultural lands globally is also a back of the envelope calculation.

        Costs depend as I said on which one of the many techniques is being used. In Africa – very simple and cheap techniques bring a 10 fold increase in productivity.

        There is a great deal more – which is why I gave the key terms conservation farming, carbon farmers of Australia, etc. Systematic baseline carbon accounting has commenced in Australia – after all you do want to know how successful it is.

        Here is a US Agriculture Dept. attempt at costings. ‘At payment levels below $10 per metric ton for permanently sequestered carbon, analysis suggests landowners would find it more cost effective to adopt changes in rotations and tillage practices.’ http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/tb-technical-bulletin/tb1909.aspx

        I take it with a grain of salt – the farmer sources are more practical and carbon credits are merely icing on the cake.

      • Hi Robert,

        Thanks again. However, I am none the wiser because what you have said doesn’t answer my questions. What I want to know is how much will it cost the government / tax payer (or whoever is fingered to pay) to sequester (permanently) say 10 or 100 million tonnes of CO2 per year and keep going at that rate indefinitely?

        Put another way, what is the abatement cost in $/tonne CO2?

  79. Awful idea. The windmills and industrial activity will contribute to melting in Antarctica. Plus, we don’t know enough about the climate to do this. What if the warming we’ve induced is already irreversible? If it keeps warming, the ice is eventually going to melt and release mass quantities of “sequestered” CO2. In fact, I almost wonder if this could possibly trigger a runaway greenhouse effect sometime way in the future when humans no longer exist. I can imagine without humans to intervene, a natural warming trend that starts melting the ice would release massive quantities of stored CO2. The CO2 would be released too fast to be absorbed by the plant life or oceans, and instead rapidly increase to CO2 concentration in the atmosphere to more than 1000 ppm, causing a catastrophic warming of 5 degrees in a matter of years.

    • David L. Hagen

      Jim
      Please explain the physics behind “The windmills . . . will contribute to melting in Antarctica.” and the rate of sublimation “melting” of CO2 in an insulated container.

  80. I just received an email from a friend, that may be of interes:

    Peter,

    I applaud your efforts to inject some cost data. I haven’t checked your (or their) calculations, but it looks reasonable. However, it seems to me the whole idea is a non-starter for a couple of reasons:

    (1) Agee et al haven’t addressed the critical issue of how well you can insulate the storage. As you point out, there will be some leakage therefore some sublimation, and at some point the total sublimation from previous years of storage will equal snow-making effort of this year and therefore no more CO2 will be removed from that atmosphere. Until this issue is addressed, the whole thing is science fiction.

    (2) they are locating the plants in the most inaccessible place on earth (can you imagine the labour and material costs in Antarctica) for little thermodynamic advantage. It is all very well for Agee et al to talk about Vostok, but they suggest that the plants go on the coast. Temperatures here are relatively mild, e.g. Casey and Mawson have Mean Annual Temperature (MAT) of about -10C. This is only 7 degrees cooler than some quite accessible places in Canada, Alaska and Russia, which is nothing in terms of cooling to -140 degrees C.

    • These are the major concerns that occured to me, as well. How well can you insulate? Are you going to be dependant on refrigeration to maintain your stockpile? If you lost control, how long before all that CO2 was back in the atmosphere?

      Secondary, the problems of working in Antartica are obvious.

      • Robert,

        Yes to all. And there are some other excellent points in other email I received to (some are posted on the thread below). A 2011 paper by House http://www.pnas.org/content/108/51/20428.full makes the case that the the energy used to remove CO2 from the air in practice is about 9090 J/g as compared with the theoretical figure Agee used (400 kJ/mol = 617 J/g). That increases the cost I estimated earlier by a factor of 14.7 (from $339/t CO2 to $5000/t CO2) (roughly).

        Furthermore Agee confused C and CO2 in calculating the amount of CO2 that must be extracted from the atmosphere each year to balance the amount currently being released by fossil fuels. That would not change the cost per tonne CO2 removed, but would increase the total cost by a factor of 3.66.

        Just to keep the costs in perspective with alternatives here are the alternatives again:
        – Current EU carbon price = $10/t CO2
        – Estimated abatement cost with renewable energy in Australia = $300/t CO2 [3]
        – Estimated abatement cost with nuclear energy in Australia = $65/t CO2
        – Nordhaus ‘Low-cost backstop’ technology (assumes) = $270/t CO2 [4]
        – CO2 Abatement cost if/when we allow low-cost nuclear = <$0/t CO2 [5, 6, 7, 8, 9]

        References: (see previous comments)

  81. Another comment received by email:

    I’ve been reading the Agee et al manuscript again, and it strikes me as an early draft, so I wouldn’t take it too seriously. I think it will be quite different if and when it gets through peer review. A couple of other comments though:

    – I am not quite sure why they talk of 4 billion tonnes CO2. From memory, the atmospheric buildup rate is around 4 billion tonnes of C, not CO2.

    – I wonder why bother to freeze the CO2 and bury it to remove it from the atmosphere. We already have scrubbers which remove CO2 from the atmosphere and they come for free. They are called trees, of course; they need no energy input from us, store C at about 0.5 kgC/m2 (cf 0.4 for dry ice), and can be easily buried for long term storage. The engineering challenge involved in using trees seems minuscule compared with Antarctic dry ice production and storage.

    – One line caught my eye in Agee et al (line 252). They take a 100m cube of air and flush it every 10 seconds! I wonder what sort of heat exchanger they envisage that would cool this volume of air by 130 degrees in 10 seconds.

    – The proposal for wind generators seems to forget, as you noted, that these things operate part time. Apart from the fact you would need more capacity than they quote to make up for this, can any massive industrial process operate on an intermittent basis? I know you have proposed diesel backup, but the cost of this in Antarctica would surely rule it out.

    • “- I am not quite sure why they talk of 4 billion tonnes CO2. From memory, the atmospheric buildup rate is around 4 billion tonnes of C, not CO2. ”

      1 ppm of CO2 equal 8 billion tonnes of CO2 [as I recall].
      yearly increase:

      http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/

      Recently and on average is 2 ppm per year.
      So about 16 billion tonnes CO2 added each year.
      In terms carbon, there is 2 atoms of oxygen and 1 of carbon.
      atomic weight of Oxygen 15.99, 2 are about 32.
      And Carbon is 12. Or around 27% of mass is carbon
      16 B tonnes of CO2 is 4.36 billion tonnes of carbon.

      BUT what humans put into atmosphere in terms of just fossil
      fuel use is more than 32 billion tonnes of CO2.
      Wiki: ” The data only considers carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and cement manufacture, but not emissions from land use, land-use change and forestry.”
      Wiki 2010 total: 33.5 billion tonnes.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions

      Therefore if only half just fossil fuel [minor being cement production ] is added. It could possible only 1/2 CO2 removed will show up in global CO2 level. And It could be much less than 1/2. It could be possible that if removed 10 billion tonnes of CO2 per year that it’s not even measurable.
      Though I think if was much 100 billion tonnes in one year, it would be quite noticeable [easily measured].

      • Gbaikie

        Thank you for answering this question. If your figures are correct, it seems Agee et al. has underestimated the amount of CO2 that needs to be removed per year by a factor of 3.66. It would also seem (I haven’t thought this through fully) that the total CO2 sequestration cost would be 3.66 times higher than my estimate. The CO2 sequestration cost is still $339/t CO2 but we need to sequester 3.66 times as much CO2 to achieve the same result.

        I can’t see how we could build (in Antarctica) a thousand Deposition Plants per year (4468 every 5 years), let alone 3.66 times as many.

        I also wonder about the energy efficiency, the CO2 losses and, especially, the practicability of lowering the temperature of 1,000,000 m3 of air by 130 C every 10 seconds.

        It would seem the numerous ‘gut feel’ comments on this thread got it right.

    • “- I wonder why bother to freeze the CO2 and bury it to remove it from the atmosphere. We already have scrubbers which remove CO2 from the atmosphere and they come for free. They are called trees, of course; they need no energy input from us, store C at about 0.5 kgC/m2 (cf 0.4 for dry ice), and can be easily buried for long term storage. The engineering challenge involved in using trees seems minuscule compared with Antarctic dry ice production and storage. ”

      Yeah, that is true. But warmist want ignore this simple fact. Or from satellite US the areas where all industrial activity is shows little or negative net CO2. Whereas in certain areas in central Africa there unexplained hot spots or plumes of CO2. [no industrial activity to speak of in these areas].
      This would inform anyone who is rational, that we know squat about Earth carbon cycle.

      Next the religious warmers want store the CO2, rather use lumber for houses. So, if one cuts down trees, tows in log barges out to middle of Pacific, and the logs will sink if the water long enough- so they sink to bottom of ocean and be preserved for tens of thousand if not millions of years.
      The problem with such plan is everyone is knowledgeable enough to know that logs/lumber is valuable- so that would seem to be an obvious waste of money- though waste far less that other schemes.

    • Another email from friend re is the 4 B tons C or CO2?:

      IPCC AR4 WG1 Ch7 deals with the global C budget. Table 7.1 cites the atmospheric buildup rate as at 4.1GtC per year over the period 2000-2005, which accords with my memory of these things. In a footnote they note the conversion factor of “2.12 GtC yr-1 = 1 ppm” which works out to about 4 GtC a year given current buildup rates of around 2 ppmV. That all seems straight forward and consistent.

      In contrast, Agee et al line 267 says “1 ppmv of CO2 gas is 2.13 x 1012 kg of mass”. This is the same conversion rate as IPCC uses if it refers to C, not CO2. I suspect Agee has misread Trenberth and is getting CO2 and C confused.

      Re your comments to him, I totally agree with your suggestion that he drop references to windmills. He is shooting himself in the foot with that one. I also think he is unwise releasing his manuscript with so little work done on it – it comes across like a back-of-the-fag-packet calculation rather than a scientific paper.

    • Another comment from another (different) friend:

      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention. This is a really interesting idea, not one I’ve heard of before. Whether or not it turns out to be plausible I give it full marks for originality.

      My first, random thoughts on this are:

      * Obviously you don’t do this with a wind farm.
      * The efficiency of the process may be less than indicated by calculation based on the Clausius-Clapeyron equation. This only considers the energetics of the bulk phase change. In practice, there is an additional energy barrier of nucleation to overcome, in forming the initial CO2 particles from bulk vapour. That is, maybe supersaturation of CO2 means you have to work at a lower temperature, or at the same temperature but reduced recovery, especially given the low concentrations involved.
      * My first instinct is to redesign the infrastructure. I don’t think you do this with 100m cube settling chambers in the antarctic. There must be better ways to design it.
      * Long term storage as CO2 seems iffy, I’d rather see it fixed. eg. nuclear hydrogen + nitrogen -> NH3 (Haber Bosch), then react with CO2 to form urea. Its more stable and doesn’t require ongoing refrigeration or insulted storage. And its an alternative feedstock for chemical industry.
      * Maybe there are other chemical processes where the cold environment helps. eg. ammonia is a liquid at the prevailing temperature, maybe pumping air through a liquid (nuclear Haber-Bosch) ammonia scrubber becomes plausible?
      * The energetics become less favourable the lower the atmospheric CO2 concentration. So as your draw down more, each additional ppm reduction is more expensive. Here I’m being highly optimistic and imagining us in net drawdown mode rather than just offsetting some of our emissions.
      * A paper came out in December last year on thermodynamic limits to the energetics and the cost of direct air capture of CO2, and operational experience with industrial separation processes. While the thermodynamic limit is about 20 kJ/mol CO2 for air extraction, actual processes use around 400 kJ/mol. A cost of ~$1000 per tonne was estimated. But that was without the assistance of low Antarctic temperatures. Maybe doing this at the poles greatly improves the economics of the process. Anyway, its an interesting data point to compare to your $339/tCO2. The paper is here (free): http://www.pnas.org/content/108/51/20428.full . A summary is here: http://arstechnica.com/science/2011/12/carbon-capture-and-storage-too-expensive-for-all-but-powerplants/

  82. Elinor Ostrom had valuable things to say on polycentric governance depending on good faith and good quality information. Open society is about democratic rule of law and good quality information, not information screened by government bureaux, not gatekeeping and FOI avoidance by research organisations, show us yer data, show us yer workings.

    By the way, Robert I Ellison, I tried ter enter yr Photobucket site with a Robert Frost comment but didn’t pass the robot test, tho’ I think I copied several of the more readable codes correctly ) Hmm …what does this say about me, am i a …?

  83. Yep, gbaike, ‘ we already havce scrubbers that remove carbon from the atmosphere like trees’ (… and soil biomass and pond algae and…)
    Madness rules in the good ol’ climate science con sens us )

  84. This might work…but you do have one risk. Imagine a cooling failure at the CO2 landfill. If that happens, it’s possible to dump many billions of tons of C02 into the atmosphere at once. 50 years of global warming overnight!

  85. Mark B (number 2)

    “The coldest surface air temperature ever measured on Earth was at the Vostok Station in 1983 , a reading of T = -89.2C (or 184K), which is reasonably close to CO2 snow deposition temperature of 133K (1 bar)…”

    So 51 degrees C is “reasonably close”?

  86. Why scrub it from the atmosphere in Antarctica which has even more miniscule trace carbon dioxide than ‘average’, and not from a natural spewing-loads-of-it source?

    Is this being ignored because it would draw too much attention to the fact that natural sources of CO2 is some 97%, and this is probably seeing how all the volcanic sources have been deliberately downplayed so more likely 99.9%, which shows man-made insignificant?

    The figures exist…, how much carbon dioxide is really in the atmosphere around the Hawaiian Islands?

    How many billions tons could be scrubbed there with ease compared with this Antarctica proposal?

  87. If you want to improve your soil, dig in some charcoal.

    “Terra Preta
    Magic Soil of the Lost Amazon
    by Allan Balliett in Acres USA, February 2007
    It’s like finding a lost chapter from Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird’s Secrets of the Soil—terra preta (literally “black earth”) is a manmade soil of prehistoric origin that is higher in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and calcium than adjacent soils. It controls water and reduces leaching of nutrients from the rhizosphere. Rich in humus, pieces of pre-Columbian unfired clay pottery, and black carbon, it’s like a “microbial reef” that promotes and sustains mycorrhizae growth and other beneficial microbes, and it has been shown to retain its fertility for thousands of years.

    In university trials, terra preta has increased crop yields by up to 800%. It regrows itself when excavated. It is even possible to produce carbon-negative useable energy (such as diesel or hydrogen) while making the major input (bio-char) for terra preta on the farm.
    If these amazing properties haven’t convinced you that terra preta is important to eco-agriculture, then consider this: experts say that terra preta sequesters carbon at such a high rate that, in the near future, farming with this technique could be eligible for lucrative carbon credits.”

    Yeah, and find some way to continue screwing us with carbon credits..

    Anyway, that’s from: http://www.carbon-negative.us/soil/TerraPreta.htm

    And there’s John D Hamaker’s work on remineralisation of the soil:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_D._Hamaker

    “According to his writings, in 1976, Hamaker spread rock dust on part of his 10 acres (40,000 m2) in Michigan. The following year, his corn produced 65 bushels per acre, compared to yields of under 25 from other local farms, and also tested higher in many minerals. He calculated that remineralizing the soil with river, seashore, mountain and glacial rock dust, would enable American agriculture to produce four times as much food or the same amount with a 25% reduction in cost, without the need for pesticides or chemical fertilizers.”

    Wiki page on Terra preta:

    “Terra preta (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈtɛʁɐ ˈpɾetɐ], locally [ˈtɛhɐ ˈpɾetɐ], literally “black earth” in Portuguese) is a type of very dark, fertile anthropogenic soil found in the Amazon Basin. Terra preta owes its name to its very high charcoal content, and was made by adding a mixture of charcoal, bone, and manure to the otherwise relatively infertile Amazonian soil. It is very stable and remains in the soil for thousands of years.[1][2] It is also known as “Amazonian dark earth” or “Indian black earth”. In Portuguese its full name is terra preta do índio or terra preta de índio (“black earth of the Indian”, “Indians’ black earth”). Terra mulata (“mulatto earth”) is lighter or brownish in color.[3]
    ..
    Terra preta zones are generally surrounded by terra comum ([ˈtɛhɐ koˈmũ] or [ˈtɛhɐ kuˈmũ]), or “common soil”; these are infertile soils, mainly acrisols,[4] but also ferralsols and arenosols.[5]

    Terra preta soils are of pre-Columbian nature and were created by humans between 450 BC and AD 950.[6][7] The soil’s depth can reach 2 meters (6.6 ft). Thousands of years after its creation it has been reported to regenerate itself at the rate of 1 centimeter (0.39 in) per year[8] by the local farmers and caboclos in Brazil’s Amazonian basin, who seek it for use and for sale as valuable compost.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terra_preta

  88. And a p.s. for any farmers/gardeners/carbon credit scammers, good page on trials in Australia: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/enriching-soil-with-biochar/3010620

  89. Its a good idea, I think dough it would be more needed at the north pool. While it might be easier to build in Greenland the. I also wonder if it would be possible to combine windturbines and refrigerators into one machine so one machine subtracting co2, at windflow speed. A large tube of cooled blades using the rotation energy directly in cooling fluid pump, without need for electric generates.

  90. This comment got caught in moderation so I’ll repost it.

    CO2 Sequestration CO2 in the Antarctic – Cost Estimate

    Here I present a rough estimate of the CO2 abatement cost for the Ernest Agee et al. proposal ”CO2 Snow Deposition in Antarctica to Curtail Anthropogenic Global Warming”.

    http://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/co2_snow_deposition.pdf

    Inputs (for 100% energy efficiency in the Deposition Plant and no CO2 leakage)

    • CO2 to be sequestered per year = 4 billion tonne
    • Number of Deposition plants per year = 1,787
    • Electricity required per year = 2.47×10^18 J = 686,000,000 MWh
    • Assumed electricity cost (including, diesel back up generation, transmission, harsh environment and short plant life) = $500/MWh
    • Assumed density of CO2 snow in storage = 0.4 t/m^3

    Major unknowns:

    • Annual cost of ‘CO2 Deposition plants’ (including construction, operation and maintenance, accommodation facilities and fly-in-fly-out airports) – assume $100 million per plant per year.

    • Energy efficiency of the Depositional Plants (compared with the Agee et al estimate) – assume 50%

    • CO2 leakage rate per year – assume 20%

    • Cost of electricity (harsh environment, short plant life, diesel backup generators, transmission line problems) – assume $500/MWh

    Estimate for sequestration of 4 billion tonnes CO2 snow per year = $339/tonne CO2

    To put this abatement cost in perspective:

    – Current EU carbon price = $10/t CO2
    – Estimated abatement cost with renewable energy in Australia = $300/t CO2 [3]
    – Estimated abatement cost with nuclear energy in Australia = $65/t CO2
    – Nordhaus ‘Low-cost backstop’ technology (assumes) = $270/t CO2 [4]
    – CO2 Abatement cost if/when we allow low-cost nuclear = <$0/t CO2 [5, 6, 7, 8, 9]

    References:

    [1] Ernest Agee, Andrea Orton and John Rogers (2012) CO2 Snow Deposition in Antarctica to Curtail Anthropogenic Global Warming

    http://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/co2_snow_deposition.pdf

    [2] Peter Lang – preliminary estimate of CO2 sequestration cost http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/24/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic/#comment-231960

    [3] Peter Lang (2012) – Renewable electricity for Australia – the Cost (Figure 6) http://bravenewclimate.com/2012/02/09/100-renewable-electricity-for-australia-the-cost/

    [4] William Nordhaus (2008) A Question of Balance http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf

    [5] Why CO2 pricing won’t work: http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/17/learning-from-the-octopus/#comment-231855

    [6] Alternative to Carbon Pricing – Costs and benefits of ‘Cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels’ policy compared with ‘Optimal carbon price’ policy: http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/17/learning-from-the-octopus/#comment-231857

    [7] How to achieve cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels: http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/17/learning-from-the-octopus/#comment-231861

    [8] Why we need to focus on small modular factory built and refuelled nuclear power plants: http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/17/learning-from-the-octopus/#comment-231865

    [9] Nuclear power is about the safest of all electricity generation technologies – nuclear would avoid 1 million fatalities per year by 2050 compared with coal:

    http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/17/learning-from-the-octopus/#comment-231867

    • If nuclear is safe, then will you write me a $1 million insurance policy to cover loss of crops and farmland if there’s a nuclear accident? I think the major insurance agencies would disagree with you about safety. And if you are so convinced it is safe, then you have nothing to lose by giving me a lien on your property that is payable if my property ever loses value from a nuke plant radiation release.

      How would you like to arrange the specifics for this insurance policy, or are you afraid to back up your claims with your assets?

      • Troy,
        Here is a comparison of fatalities per TWh from the various electricity generation technologies:

        http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/06/deaths-by-energy-source-in-forbes.html

        You can access the authoritative sources from there if you want to follow through on it.

        Your question has more to do with the widespread radiation phobia and paranoia than an objective analysis. I’ll leave that type of discussion with you, Greenpeace and the like if that’s your approach the subject.

      • I quite understand the reported fatalities per TWh from various technologies is lower. My crop insurance carrier could care less what the reported fatalities per acre, TWH, or whatever are. You completely sidestepped my question. Would you please state, for the record, that Nuclear is the safest generation source, and then demonstrate said belief by entering into the following legally binding contract:

        I, Peter Lang, do hereby indemnify all farmland and crops owned by Troy Benjegerdes, in the field or in storage, from any losses of said crop or farmland if it is deemed ‘unfit for human consumption’, or the farmland loses value from nuclear contamination from any human made source. Said indemnification will be provided by a lien on any real property owned by Peter Lang.

        Signed:
        Troy Benjegerdes

        Signed:
        _______________

        Please let me know how to contract your lawyer if there are any modifications you would like to make to the above proposal.

      • Sure Troy,

        You pay me 5 times more for the damages the policies you advocate will cost us and I’ll provide you with the insurance policy you request.

        Please pay me $11.3 trillion* to compensate me for the irrational policies you advocate. Note, I do not accept any offsetting deduction because you have not demonstrated that the policies will work.

        * Nordhaus (2008), Table 5-3, (Limit to 2C increase) http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf

      • Peter,

        I said nothing of global warming policies. I asked about insurance. In what court jurisdiction do you propose we litigate these claimed $11.3 trillion damages for policies which I do not actually advocate? You have claimed that nuclear is safe and failed to even discuss the question about insurance. If you had a professional engineering certificate, and were discussing this with a paying client, I believe this might be grounds for a lawsuit.

    • Ernest Agee,

      Comments on Draft paper: “CO2 Snow Deposition in Antarctica to Curtail Anthropogenic Global Warming

      http://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/co2_snow_deposition.pdf

      I have read your draft paper and have some comments and suggestions:

      1. The energy calculations assume the deposition plant would be 100% energy efficient. It won’t be. (Refer to email from Friend #2 below). If it is 50% efficient that would double the CO2 abatement cost I’ve calculated ($239/t CO2 – see summary at end of this document and see attached spreadsheet for calculations). However it may be much less energy efficient than that, so the abatement cost would be higher still.

      2. Friend No1 said: “One line caught my eye in Agee et al (line 252). They take a 100m cube of air and flush it every 10 seconds! I wonder what sort of heat exchanger they envisage that would cool this volume of air by 130 degrees in 10 seconds.

      3. Is the calculation of 4 billion tonnes CO2 per year correct? It seems 4 B tons is the weight of carbon, not CO2, to be removed from the atmosphere per year. Friend #1 said: “IPCC AR4 WG1 Ch7 deals with the global C budget. Table 7.1 cites the atmospheric buildup rate as at 4.1 GtC per year over the period 2000-2005. ” That is, 15 Gt CO2 per year must be removed to achieve the same outcome.

      4. Mixing the calculations for 1 B tons and 4 B tons throughout the text is confusing. I’d suggest the whole paper focus on the 4 B tonnes (or should that be 15 Gt CO2?)

      5. There will inevitably be some losses due to sublimation. If 50% is lost by sublimation this would double the abatement cost again. However, I expect the losses will be much greater than that, both during burial and through leakage from storage over a period of 100 years or so. All the CO2 might escape in a much shorter time. In which case the exercise is futile.

      6. Wind energy would be extremely expensive. I’d recommend the paper does not attempt to specify the electricity generation technology and instead focuses only on the amount of energy required.

      7. The 100m cube deposition plants would seem to me to be a very costly engineering exercise. They’d have to be strong structures to withstand the high winds. And about 1,000 need to be manufactured and constructed per year.

      8. The workforce needed in Antarctica would be huge. The rate of fatalities would be high.

      • It seems I need to factor up the $339/t CO2 abatement cost by:

        15 Gt CO2 not 4.1 Gt CO2 – factor up by 3.666
        Energy requirements
        – cooling all the air not just CO2 – factor up by ???
        – 9090 J/g not 617J/g (Line 295) – factor up by 14.73
        Heat exchange efficiency – factor up by ???

        Anything else?

        “* A paper came out in December last year on thermodynamic limits to the energetics and the cost of direct air capture of CO2, and operational experience with industrial separation processes. While the thermodynamic limit is about 20 kJ/mol CO2 for air extraction, actual processes use around 400 kJ/mol. A cost of ~$1000 per tonne was estimated. Anyway, its an interesting data point to compare to your $339/tCO2. The paper is here (free): http://www.pnas.org/content/108/51/20428.full . A summary is here: http://arstechnica.com/science/2011/12/carbon-capture-and-storage-too-expensive-for-all-but-powerplants/
        Source: email from Friend #2

      • Vaughan Pratt

        Is the calculation of 4 billion tonnes CO2 per year correct? It seems 4 B tons is the weight of carbon, not CO2, to be removed from the atmosphere per year

        The Virgin Earth Challenge is for 1 GtC (the challenge wording is “carbon equivalent”), which is 3.7 gigatonnes of CO2.

      • Just to be clear, the Agee paper is talking about removal of two quantities of CO2: 4 B tons and 1 B tons CO2. But, I understand, these figures are (mistakenly) for C not CO2. He should have been talking about 15 Gt CO2 and 3.7 Gt CO2. That means the cost to sequester the amounts would be 3.66 times higher.

        However, I’ve revised the cost estimates and they are far higher than in my previous estimates.The inefficiencies in the cooling system mean that the cost per tonne CO2 removed would be around $5,000/t CO2 (based on a simple factoring up of my previous estimate to allow for the energy inefficiencies).

        The more we look at the engineering issues involved with the 100 m cube Deposition plant and the logistics of such an endeavour in Antarctica the more impracticable the scheme appears to be and the more the costs increase.

  91. While a nice idea, farmers can do this faster and at lower cost. When there’s a transparent carbon sequestration market, (not the rigged stuff that passes for carbon trading now), then farmers will plant stuff, the plants will uptake carbon, and we’ll leave some in the ground. If you want this done faster, then we can add biochar as well.

    • Troy,
      Here is a comparison of fatalities per TWh from the various electricity generation technologies:

      http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/06/deaths-by-energy-source-in-forbes.html

      You can access the authoritative sources from there if you want to follow through on it.

      Your question has more to do with the widespread radiation phobia and paranoia than an objective analysis. I’ll leave that type of discussion with you, Greenpeace and the like if that’s your approach the subject.

      • Peter Lang,

        It always amuses me how you ‘reference’ previous comments as if they were from some authoritative source when they are just your own. The good Aussie phrase “up himself” somehow just naturally springs to mind.

        As for a carbon trading market, you can’t know that it won’t work for the simple reason it hasn’t been properly tried yet. What you really mean is that you neither want it to be tried nor do you want it to be successful.

        Also you should at say try to say something to link this sort of comment to the title of the posting. You wouldn’t want us to think you were suffering from some sort of geriatric dementia and were incapable of stopping your mind from wandering, now would you? In this case, if sequestration of CO2 should prove to be successful, then that sequestration can be paid for as credits on the carbon market, as which is a good reason for it to exist.

    • There wont be a carbon trading market. It won’t work and won’t be implemented. http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/17/learning-from-the-octopus/#comment-231855

  92. Michael Hart

    “This paper is in press at the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology [link to abstract, full paper] which is behind paywall. ”

    Somebody actually tried to charge money for a paper like this??!!
    Their modesty underwhelms me.

    And they went to sea in sieve.
    In a sieve they went to sea.

    • It seems the people who want to avoid nuclear are prepared to advocate we go to any length and any any cost to avoid nuclear.

      We could have nuclear with a CO2 abatement cost of <0$/t CO2

      Nuclear power would provide many other benefits as well: energy security, reliable energy supply, reduce shipping costs and energy used in shipping coal by a factor of 20,000 to 2 million, provide fresh water, no need for carbon pricing, avoid 1 million fatalities per year by 2050, …

      http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/17/learning-from-the-octopus/#comment-231867.

      Why is it being avoided?

      • Why is it (nuclear) being avoided?

        Well, that’s partly because western governments have lied about the reason why they were at first enthusiastic about nuclear power, and then why they were later unenthusiastic. By and large people don’t understand the hazards involved in all types of energy generation, but they understand the hazards involved in nuclear the least. Nuclear power means using materials like enriched Uranium and Plutonium, exactly the same as are used in nuclear weapons, and that’s a scary thought.

        Nuclear power equals Chernobyl and Fukushima in the public mind.

        The economics of nuclear power, without any carbon pricing, are far from clear cut. When the UK privatised its power industry in the 80s and 90s the hard headed guys, who I very much doubt had any ‘green’ sympathies whatsoever, and who enthusiastically bought up conventional power stations wouldn’t touch the UK’s nuclear stations. They are still in the public sector I believe.

        There is a case for going nuclear, but it won’t be an easy one to sell to a wary public. There’s no chance of doing it unless its tied in with a clear message that this is necessary to prevent dangerous climate change.

  93. What problem does this solve, and what is an acceptable cost to solve the problem. Does this solution meet the cost?

  94. Robert Ellison –
    A great essay on the problems with AGW – and on the sinister motives behind it. Much appreciated.

  95. Basically storage in this proposal is active, rather than passive. You soon find yourself in the position of the sorcerer’s apprentice. There might be some possibility of storing under the ice cap at high pressure in a liquified state, where, although there can be leaks there would not be an energy cost in storage.

    Second, you have to account for the energy cost of separating out water vapor, which would probably substantially increase the actual amount of LN2 needed. For this and other reasons, the best time to separate out the CO2, would be, of course, the winter, which is the absolute worst time to try and do anything in Antarctica. Do they handle the water vapor issue in their paper??

    Separation might more efficiently be done by expansion, which is how LN2 is made.

    Eli suspects the most viable engineering solution to be iron fertilization, which itself is not problem free, but eliminates leakage and ocean acidification issues.

  96. The idea of tinkering with the earth’s climate system on a massive scale without even knowing how it works is the most foolhardy expression of anthropogenic hubris I have ever seen. CO2 levels aren’t even significantly influenced by humans. Yet.

    • Vaughan Pratt

      CO2 levels aren’t even significantly influenced by humans.

      Before 1850 the atmosphere contained some 600 GtC (gigatonnes of carbon), an amount that the Vostok ice cores showed had not previously changed significantly for several thousand years.

      Since then the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center estimates that humans have emitted some 560 GtC (counting land use changes).

      Currently the atmosphere contains some 840 GtC.

      You seem to be claiming that the 560 GtC had no impact, even though atmospheric CO2 increased by 240 GtC.

      1. Where do you think the 560 GtC we emitted went to?

      2. Where do you think the 240 GtC increase came from?

      • Lauri Heimonen

        Bartemis:
        ”CO2 levels aren’t even significantly influenced by humans.”

        Vaughan Pratt:
        ”You seem to be claiming that the 560 GtC had no impact, even though atmospheric CO2 increased by 240 GtC.
        1. Where do you think the 560 GtC we emitted went to?
        2. Where do you think the 240 GtC increase came from?”

        In the comment http://judithcurry.com/2011/08/04/carbon-cycle-questions/#comment-198992 I have written:

        ”As far as I am aware the CO2 content in the atmosphere is controlled together by both all CO2 emissions from sources to atmosphere and by all CO2 absorptions from atmosphere to sinks. After any change of CO2 emissions from sources or of CO2 absorptions to sinks makes the atmospheric CO2 content strive for a new level in order to reach a new dynamic balance between the CO2 emissions and the absorptions. As to the influence of human CO2 emissions on the atmospheric CO2 content it is determined by the proportion of the human CO2 emissions to the total CO2 emissions. Nowadays when the yearly total CO2 emissions are little over 200 GtC (CO2 as carbon) and the yearly human CO2 emissions are about 8 GtC, the influence of the human CO2 emissions on the CO2 content in atmosphere is approaching 4 % at the most. For instance, when the CO2 content in the atmosphere is 390 ppm, the manmade share of it is about 16 ppm at the most.”

        As you see, there is no essential need for any sequestration of CO2.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        It is correct, as you write, that atmospheric CO2 concentration has risen from an (estimated) 280 ppmv in pre-industrial time to a (measured) 392 ppmv today.

        Over the same time period, humans have consumed roughly 15% of ALL the fossil fuel resources that WERE EVER on our planet (based on WEC estimates of inferred possible total fossil fuel resources today and CDIAC estimates of fossil fuel use to date).

        This means that 85% are still in place. (There are many studies, which show much lower estimates for the remaining fossil fuel reserves.)

        If we assume (as IPCC does) that human CO2 emissions are the single cause of increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations, the we could asymptotically reach an absolute highest level of atmospheric CO2 of around 1,030 ppmv WHEN ALL FOSSIL FUELS ARE 100% USED UP.

        That’s it, Vaughan. Ain’t no more.

        So it’s relatively easy to figure out how much the absolute level of warming from AGW could EVER theoretically be, based on how much warming we have seen to date and accounting for the portion of the warming that was caused by factors other than human GHGs.

        I’ll save you the trouble, but one arrives at around 2C as an asymptotical maximum, thereby taking the “C” out of the “CAGW” postulation.

        Max

      • Vaughan Pratt

        I’ll save you the trouble, but one arrives at around 2C as an asymptotical maximum, thereby taking the “C” out of the “CAGW” postulation.

        While that’s very kind of you, Max, you didn’t show your work. Here’s my work assuming a starting level of 394 ppmv and the ending level of 1030 ppmv you suggested, together with the generally agreed on value of 3 C per doubling:

        log_2(1030/394) = 1.386
        1.386*3 = 4.16 C increase over today’s temperature.

        To arrive at 2 C you’d need less than 1.5 C per doubling. HADCRUT4 looks to me to be rising much faster than that.

      • ” Where do you think the 560 GtC we emitted went to?”

        Various sinks, which expand rapidly to accommodate the input.

        “Where do you think the 240 GtC increase came from?”

        The relationship is direct and obvious. Temperature determines the equilibrium level of CO2 in the atmosphere.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        Temperature determines the equilibrium level of CO2 in the atmosphere.

        Suppose that were true. Can it be said that CO2 is in equilibrium while we’re pumping it into the atmosphere at 10 GtC/yr?

      • Vaughan Pratt

        Temperature determines the equilibrium level of CO2 in the atmosphere.

        1. If that were true, why did the CO2 go up between 1958 and 1970 while the temperature was going down?

        2. The ice cores show that during the last million years, whenever the temperature rose 10 C the CO2 rose from 180 ppmv to 280 ppmv, a rise of 100 ppmv. More recently the CO2 rose from 280 ppmv to 390 ppvm, a further rise of 110 ppmv. By how much would you estimate the temperature rose in order to drive the CO2 up that much?

        Various sinks, which expand rapidly to accommodate the input.

        How does a sink “expand rapidly?” Is there some documented physical explanation?

      • “Temperature determines the equilibrium level of CO2 in the atmosphere.

        1. If that were true, why did the CO2 go up between 1958 and 1970 while the temperature was going down?”

        Perhaps ocean heat content was rising during this period.

      • peterdavies252

        VP your questions to Bartemis are reasonable and are worthy of his considered opinion. While I can see an obvious co-relation between temp and CO2 I am not convinced that there is a causal link between them – either way.

        I believe that something else is causing both series to move in concert. One thing though, it certainly seems that movements in CO2 FOLLOWS movements in temp, but I agree that downward movements in temp don’t seem to be reflected in the CO2 data between 1958 and 1970.

        I also consider that while temp data is momentary CO2 data seems to be more accumulative in nature and much slower to respond to any external stimulus. Hence the lag between the two series.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        @peterdavies252: While I can see an obvious co-relation between temp and CO2 I am not convinced that there is a causal link between them – either way.

        Peter, looking at either HADCRUT3 or HADCRUT4 between 1850 and 2010 inclusive (161 years), I see some oscillating components over about six octaves (2 years to 128 years), but none that seem to be trending anywhere.

        The only trend I see in those 161 years is one that correlates beautifully with all estimates of increasing atmospheric CO2 since 1850 assuming that 45% of emissions (as per CDIAC datasets) is retained in the atmosphere and, with a delay of around 15 years (possibly due to the ocean heatsink, aka Hansen’s “pipeline”), heats the surface by 2.8-2.9 C for each doubling of atmospheric CO2.

        This would establish only a correlation and not a causal link were it not for the fact that the 15-year difference is a delay from rising CO2 to rising temperature and not vice versa.

        This is not an argument you will find in any IPCC report, or in any paper in the literature, so I would not blame you at all for taking it with a grain of salt. I’ve submitted it to this year’s Fall Meeting of the AGU—if they reject it you may assume it was rubbish. :)

      • peterdavies252

        I will await further developments without bating my breath :)

        15 years seems a long time for temperature to respond to CO2 movements and we all know that there would be other external factors that influence temp as well. In the complex system we have it seems to me to rather naive to ascribe causation based on movements in two data series alone.

      • David Springer

        There’s been an underlying warming trend since the end of the Little Ice Age. It’s riding atop cycles of various frequency and then there are non-cyclical events once in a while like volcanoes, asteriods, supernova, and God knows what else coming along to stir the pot. The non-cyclical events hit the system and make it ring like a bell with their own diminishing amplitude oscillations. Recent warming might have reasonably been viewed as unprecedented if it continued unabated for several more decades. But it didn’t. There hasn’t been any significant increase global average temperature for 14 years and counting. Meanwhile in those same 14 years atmospheric CO2 increased 8%. It really doesn’t appear to the unbiased observer at this point in time that there is strong evidence of a causal connection between CO2 rise and global temperature rise that halted and reversed 14 years ago. In the past two years the temperature drop is dramatic. We’re in big trouble if that’s the new normal for the next 20 years.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        There hasn’t been any significant increase global average temperature for 14 years and counting. Meanwhile in those same 14 years atmospheric CO2 increased 8%.

        Exactly the same thing could have been said
        17 years ago. Why is what you’re claiming now not applicable to back then?

      • peterdavies252

        Hi VP

        http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/co2-in-ice-cores/

        and

        http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11659-climate-myths-ice-cores-show-co2-increases-lag-behind-temperature-rises-disproving-the-link-to-global-warming.html

        There are numerous other articles on this co-relation between temp and CO2 as well, but there seems to be broad agreement that initial changes in temperature are followed by changes in CO2 levels, but once CO2 changes feeds back into the system any subsequent temperature increase may well be magnified.

        Estimates of lags of CO2 seem to range from 800 years to about 1500 years, which is suggestive of oceanic upwellings and downwellings as being a prime cause of CO2 changes in the atmosphere. The measurement of the effect of human activity on CO2 levels is always very difficult to ascertain and that begs the question as to whether this effect may be too small to distinguish from natural causes.

      • peterdavies252

        Further to my previous post, the thought has just occurred to me that if the lags of CO2 are indeed in the range of 800 to 1500 years, one wonders whether the present CO2 abatement policies would continue to have the political support they currently enjoy.

      • According to the relationship (dCO2/dt = f(Ta)), temperature determines the ‘equilibrium’ change in atmospheric CO2, not the absolute level.

      • Edim, you are a putz. How can that be an equilibrium change when your differential equation describes a transient? Or from what you are and your buddy Bartemis are saying is that as long as temperature is elevated, then CO2 will keep on increasing indefinitely? A differential equation in the hands of an incompetent nincompoop is dangerous.

      • Hi Webby, you insinuate too much, always adding something, attacking a strawman, distracting… I don’t know about Bartemis, but I point to the very interesting correlation, namely between annual temperature anomalies and annual changes in atmospheric CO2. That’s all. If the correlation holds in the future, we can predict any accumulation in CO2 only knowing the temperature. For example at the global temperature of the last decade the annual change is ~2 ppm/year. For this decade I predict lower global temperatures and no more than ~1.5 ppm/year in average. Like I said the relationship tells you it will depend only (or mostly) on temperature.

      • The problem with you Edim is you are a pea-brained contrarian with zero interest in learning anything.

        Of course [CO2] will respond to temperature, but the yearly increase in the concentration is way too big to be explained by this.

        Talking about correlation, I can correlate your intellect with a sack of rocks.

        I will add your name to the climate clown report. Your theory will be described as a random contrarian’s view. Take whatever some scientist says, and state the exact opposite.

        Perhaps you do not care, as it is possible as that someone, say from Heartland, is paying you off to spread FUD. Whatever, you are a royal nutjob.

      • Webby, again you prove my point. Too big? Compared to what? Your belief in A(GHG)GW? The correlation is clear – since we have the observations (~1960), the accumulation in atmospheric CO2 is dependent on the global temperature integral.

      • Edim, WHT pointed out that your equation implies for a fixed temperature, the CO2 will continue to rise ad infinitum. You may need to rethink the formula, or do you think this will happen? Where does that CO2 come from? The more sensible solution is the dCO2/dt=A-B(T), where A is anthropogenic input and B(T) is the natural sink that becomes less effective as it gets warmer. This formula would also show your correlation while making physical sense as a bonus.

      • Actually dCO2/dt=A-B(A,T)
        works better because the sink relies on the source being there too.

      • Jim, CO2 will not rise ad infinitum – climate changes and at some point it’s cool enough for CO2 to start decreasing.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        Milivoje, either submit your plot to MOMA as a work of art or explain its significance as a work of science.

      • Dr. Pratt
        By miracle of modern communication my very short comment ‘Bart, temperature wins by a nose’ got (probably justifiably) gobbled up by WordPress.
        Unusually, that is a rare graph not from my own art pallete, or as ‘Croc Dundy’ would put it :‘that is no art, this is art mate’

        http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/Sun-Earth1.htm

        title: Tides, Earth’s core oscillations, temperature anomaly and Japan’s earthquakes
        As work of contemporary art here is a brief note from the (…)artist:
        Deep within the Earth, is the outer core, which extends to a depth of around 3000 miles beneath the surface. It is believed to be super-heated liquid molten lava made mostly of iron and nickel. This is the area where the Earth’s magnetic forces are generated, strength of field is estimated to be about 25 Gauss, about 50 times greater than that on the Earth’s surface.
        The author speculates that since it is liquid the outer core is also affected by gravitational tidal forces, in a similar manner to the oceans, but also it can be assumed that the magnetic field generating would act as a brake on its movement.
        Combining the effects from the known gravitational and magnetic oscillations the graphic result is visually unexpected and may be somewhat disconcerting on the discerning viewer.
        Note: the subtle blue ‘brushstroke’ was delayed by few years, which could wrongly imply the artists predictive power. Somewhat dissonant pink is inserted so the casual viewer may not conclude existence of any long term implications for a possible correlation.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        We may be thinking along very similar lines, Milovoje. What do you think about the angular velocity of the crust vs. that of the core? How smoothly do they track each other?

      • To account for effect of changes, in the article I wrote some months ago (still in revision mode) I used the acceleration as the governing component.
        Sun and the Earth play the climate’s ‘Der Ring des Nibelungen’ :)

  97. Judith Curry writes :
    “This is the most interesting idea I’ve encountered in awhile.”

    Where has she been for the last decade? Sequestration of atmospheric CO2 as dry ices was adduced as a joke in 2003

    It will likely remain one if carbon capture continues to rival the cost of fuel.

  98. Judith Curry writes :
    “This is the most interesting idea I’ve encountered in awhile.”

    Where has she been for the last decade? Sequestration of atmospheric CO2 as dry ices was adduced as a joke in 2003

    It is likely to remain one for as long as carbon capture rivals the cost of fuel.

  99. From the conclusions here:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/108/51/20428.full

    Our assessment indicates that air capture will cost on the order of $1,000/t of CO2. Through 2050, it is likely that CO2 emissions can be mitigated for costs not exceeding about $300/t of CO2 (33). However, at some point in time, air capture conceivably could be a useful tool to mitigate emissions from distributed sources, and may even be deployed to reduce atmospheric concentrations of CO2 below current concentrations. Air capture for negative net CO2 emissions would follow the decarbonization of our electricity system and other large anthropogenic point sources and assumes abundant and inexpensive non-carbon energy sources.

    Points to note:

    1. “assumes abundant and inexpensive non-carbon energy sources“. What does that mean? [Hint: it certainly does not mean renewable energy: http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/04/22/ifr-fad-4/ ]

    2. Air capture unlikely to be viable until all electricity generation is by near zero emissions technologies (i.e. nuclear).

    3. The cost is estimated at around $1,000/t CO2 (in places where people can work and live)

    4. It would be much higher cost in Antarctica (my guess, perhaps 5 times higher).

  100. Effect of increase in CO2 on the global mean temperature for the last 8 years:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:2004/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:2004/plot/esrl-co2/from:2004/normalise/trend/plot/esrl-co2/from:2004/normalise

    This observation shows increased CO2 concentration is accompanied by decrease in global mean temperature.

    As a result, how does the AGW camp hold on to its theory when AGW is contradicted by the observation?

    • AGW has been, and continues to be confirmed by observation.

      What is it about the last eight years you believe “contradicts” the theory of AGW?

      • Robert

        What is it about the last eight years you believe “contradicts” the theory of AGW?

        Nothing.

        But there is also nothing that “supports” the theory of CAGW.

        Right?

        Max

  101. Judith Curry

    You ask for comments.

    A key quotation from the study:

    much of Antarctica has been getting colder

    But, aside from that, how realistic is the Antarctic CO2 storage proposal?

    It is probably technically feasible. Humans have figured out how to do very challenging things under extremely unfavorable conditions, and this would be no exception.

    Would it be economically feasible? (By this I mean could one show a perceptible impact on our planet’s future climate at a reasonable cost per degree C global warming averted a) at an estimated 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3C or b) at a CS of 1C?)

    Other specific proposals made to date show that, even at IPCC’s estimated CS a theoretical saving of 0.5C global warming by 2100 would cost around $16 trillion today (too expensive for my “vote”, even if Robert and lolwot would gladly “pay the price”).

    Would this proposal be more “cost effective”? (N.B.One would probably need to multiply the cost of any facility by 10 to account for the harsh climate and great distances.)

    Would it be environmentally acceptable? (With all the “green opposition” to allowing exploration or development of oil reserves in the “pristine Arctic”, I cannot imagine that “greens” – or the general public, for that matter – would allow this proposal to be realized in the even more pristine Antarctic.)

    Then there is the political question: who “owns” the Antarctic? (Despite the fact that seven countries have staked territorial claims, no national government has internationally-recognized jurisdiction over any part of Antarctica.) So who would build and operate this facility? As it would ultimately be funded by “taxpayer funds”, which nations’ taxpayers would pick up the tab? Ouch!

    Judith, I would like to see some specific answers to your question of theoretical technical/economical feasibility, but to me it looks like a “dead duck” (or “dead penguin”?) from the start.

    Max

  102. Judith Curry

    A quickie “back-of-the-envelope” cost/benefit assessment of the Antarctic CO2 air capture and storage project.

    “Normal” air capture costs:

    Our assessment indicates that air capture will cost on the order of $1,000/t of CO2.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/108/51/20428.full

    Let’s be optimistic and only multiply by 2 for including the “storage” part and installation in the interior of Antarctica (Peter Lang figures 5x – see above post).

    At $2,000 per ton of CO2 removed and stored we have to avert 0.5C of warming by 2100.

    How “cost effective” is this compared to other proposals?

    Let’s assume that by year 2100 atmospheric CO2 will have reached a concentration of 600 ppmv without this project (somewhat higher than IPCC “scenario and storyline” case B1 (and lower than case A1T).

    Using the IPCC 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3°C and the logarithmic relation, we would have had warming of 1.8 °C with no air capture project.

    To avert 0.5 °C warming by 2100 will require that atmospheric CO2 is reduced by 65 ppmv (from 600 to 535 ppmv) or 99 ppm(mass); this equals a reduction of 510 Gt CO2. Since only around half of the CO2 emitted by humans ends up “remaining” in the atmosphere, this means a cumulative reduction of 1,020 Gt CO2 emitted by humans (or air captured and stored).

    At a cost of $2,000 per ton CO2 air captured and stored in Antarctica, this equals a cumulative cost of $2,040 trillion (or $2.04 quadrillion) to (maybe) reduce global warming by 0.5 °C by 2100.

    Ouch!

    Anyone want to challenge the numbers?

    Max

  103. Judith Curry

    There have been no challenges to the above very rough cost/benefit analysis for the “modest Antarctic proposal”.

    Since the figures show that it would cost around $2 quadrillion to theoretically avert 0.5 degC of global warming by year 2100 (as compared to an absurd but less exorbitant $16 trillion for other specific schemes proposed to date), and in view of the other reservations stated by me and others here, I think we can lay this idea to rest.

    Let it RIP – it sounded good at first, but upon closer examination, it turned out to be a loser.

    Max

    • Max,

      I would agree with you on the economics of this which is why its better not to release the CO2 so that it is not necessary to sequestrate it later.

      The $2 quadrillion, or whatever the true cost of sequestration turns out to be, does of course represent the true cost of burning fossil fuels in the first place. I’m not sure what level of carbon tax would be necessary to eventually raise such an amount but I suspect that it would be orders of magnitude higher than any tax proposed so far.

      Maybe you would like to do one of your back-of-envelope calculations and work out what you think it might be?

  104. Update:

    Ernest Agee,

    <b<Re: Comments on Draft paper: “CO2 Snow Deposition in Antarctica to Curtail Anthropogenic Global Warming”

    http://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/co2_snow_deposition.pdf

    I have read your draft paper and have the suggestions referenced by line number below. Below that, I include four emails from two engineer/scientist friends. Last, I present an estimate for the cost of CO2 abatement.

    But first, here is a summary of my main points about the draft paper:

    1. Friend No1 said: “One line caught my eye in Agee et al (line 252). They take a 100m cube of air and flush it every 10 seconds! I wonder what sort of heat exchanger they envisage that would cool this volume of air by 130 degrees in 10 seconds.”

    2. The energy calculations assume the deposition plant would be 100% energy efficient. It won’t be. (Refer to email from Friend #2 below). You have calculated the energy required is 617 J/g. From House (2011) http://www.pnas.org/content/108/51/20428.full a more realistic figures is 9090 J/g (400 kJ/Mol). Therefore, we need to increase the energy consumption and the number of Deposition Plants by a factor of 14.7 (9090/617).

    3. Is the calculation of 4 billion tonnes CO2 per year correct? It seems 4 B tons is the weight of carbon, not CO2, to be removed from the atmosphere per year. Friend #1 said: “IPCC AR4 WG1 Ch7 deals with the global C budget. Table 7.1 cites the atmospheric buildup rate as at 4.1 GtC per year over the period 2000-2005.” That is, 15 Gt CO2 per year must be removed to achieve the same outcome.

    4. Mixing the calculations for 1 B tons and 4 B tons throughout the text is confusing. I’d suggest the whole paper focus on the 4 B tonnes (or should that be 15 Gt CO2?)

    5. There will inevitably be some losses due to sublimation. I expect the losses will be significant, both during burial and through leakage from storage over a period of 100 years or so. All the CO2 might escape in a much shorter time. In which case the exercise is futile.

    6. Wind energy would be extremely expensive. I’d recommend the paper does not attempt to specify the electricity generation technology and instead focuses only on the amount of energy required.

    7. The 100m cube deposition plants would seem to me to be a very costly engineering exercise. They’d have to be strong structures to withstand the high winds.

    8. With deposition plant energy efficiency of 6.8% (i.e. 617/9090) we’d need around 7,000 plants to be manufactured and constructed per year (33,000 in operation per year, each with a 5 year life).

    9. The workforce needed in Antarctica would be huge. The rate of fatalities would be high.

    Summary of cost estimates to sequester 4 B tons CO2 per year:

    Scenario 1: 100% energy efficiency in deposition plants, no sublimation losses = $143/t CO2

    Scenario 2: 6.8% energy efficiency in deposition plants, 20% sublimation losses before burial, no CO2 losses thereafter = $2415/t CO2

    Comparison with other CO2 abatement costs

    – Current EU carbon price = $10/t CO2
    – Estimated abatement cost with renewable energy in Australia = $300/t CO2
    – Estimated abatement cost with nuclear energy in Australia = $65/t CO2
    – Nordhaus ‘Low-cost backstop’ technology (assumes) = $270/t CO2
    – CO2 Abatement cost if/when we allow low-cost nuclear = <$0/t CO2

    • tempterrain

      The problem with the “modest Antarctica plan” is, indeed, the very high cost of removing CO2 from an atmosphere that only contains a few hundred ppmv CO2 (i.e. “air removal”). Others have estimated that this would run around $1,000 per ton of CO2 recovered in a normal location, without storage cost.

      Doubling this number to include storage and the very high costs one could expect for doing all this in Antarctica (probably an underestimate) brings it to $2,000 per ton CO2. Peter Lang cites a similar figure of $2,415 per ton CO2, although I’m not sure exactly what is included and where.

      To reduce global warming by 2100 by 0.5 degC will require the removal of a calculated 1,020 Gt CO2 from the atmosphere (to arrive at 535 ppmv by 2100 instead of the “base case” of 600 ppmv). This means a cumulative cost of $2 quadrillion.

      NB One could argue that only half this amount – or only 510 Gt CO2 would need to be removed, since “removing it from the atmosphere” give a direct 1:1 effect, whereas “not emitting it into the atmosphere” only gives a 0.5:1 effect, as only around half “remains” in the atmosphere. In that case the cost to (maybe) reduce global warming by 2100 by 0.5 degC would “only” require $1 quadrillion.

      No matter how you slice it, you are right – it is the poorest of several very poor investments aimed at reducing global warming and can be discarded as such.

      The fact of the matter remains that (for practical purposes) we are unable to change our planet’s climate, no matter how much taxpayer money we throw at it.

      Max

    • Peter Lang

      Cost per ton of CO2 removed (or not emitted) does not tell us very much.

      One should calculate the cost per tenth of a degree C warming averted by 2100 (isn’t that what we are trying to achieve?)

      To achieve a (theoretical) reduction of 0.5 degC warming by 2100 will require that a calculated 510 Gt CO2 are removed from the atmosphere by 2100 (compared to the “base case” of CO2 increase to 600 ppmv by then); with the current 50% of the emitted CO2 “remaining” in the atmosphere, this would mean not emitting 1,020 Gt between now and 2100.

      So, as a rule of thumb:

      “Not emitting” CO2 to the atmosphere requires around 1,000 Gt CO2 “not emitted” between now and 2100 to arrive at a (theoretical) reduction of global warming of 0.5 degC by then.

      “Removing” CO2 from the atmosphere requires only half that amount or 500 GtCO2 “removed” between now and 2100 to arrive at a (theoretical) reduction of global warming of 0.5 degC by then.

      These estimates are based on the IPCC estimates for 2xCO2 CS of around 3 degC.

      Max

      • Manacker,

        You make an interesting point here:

        One should calculate the cost per tenth of a degree C warming averted by 2100 (isn’t that what we are trying to achieve?)

        Well, yes, it is what is argued as the reason for carbon pricing. However, the connection between reducing CO2 emissions and the amount by which that will change the average global temperature at some time in the future is fraught with uncertainties. Furthermore, those advocating carbon pricing assume the connection is established and have moved on to arguing that CO2 emissions is the problem we have to deal with. They have moved on from dealing with the consequences of CO2 emissions to assuming that CO2 emissions is now accepted and the problem is to deal with CO2 emissions. Carbon pricing is about CO2 emissions, not global temperatures. Therefore, in arguing policy, I suggest we should compare policy options on the basis of the ‘CO2 abatement cost’ of different policies.

        When we look at this objectively, one policy is head and shoulders above all others. That policy is to remove the impediments that are making nuclear power too expensive. Once we have removed those impediments we can have nuclear power cheaper than fossil fuels* (over time). Then we can all have what we want. ‘Progressives’ can have their low emissions energy supply, and the world can have uncurtailed improvement in human wellbeing.

        * If electricity is low cost and low emissions, it will, over time, substitute for gas for heating and some fossil fuels for land transport – either directly as in electric vehicles or indirectly by producing synthetic fuels (or more correctly energy carriers).

      • Manacker,

        I am not sure I am convinced this is correct:

        So, as a rule of thumb:

        “Removing” CO2 from the atmosphere requires only half that amount or 500 GtCO2 “removed” between now and 2100 to arrive at a (theoretical) reduction of global warming of 0.5 degC by then.

        It seems to me, not emitting 100 t CO2 has the same effect as emitting 100 t and at the same time removing 100 t somewhere else.

    • Peter Lang

      You ask

      Is the calculation of 4 billion tonnes CO2 per year correct? It seems 4 B tons is the weight of carbon, not CO2, to be removed from the atmosphere per year.

      Humans currently emit around 30 Gt CO2 per year into the atmosphere. Of this roughly half is absorbed by the biosphere (oceans, plants, soils, etc.) and the other half “remains” in the atmosphere.

      IPCC estimates that atmospheric CO2 levels will increase from today’s 392 ppmv to around 600 ppmv by 2100 with a modest “business as usual” scenario (somewhere between case B2 and A1T). Using the IPCC 2xCO2 CS of 3°C this would result in 1.8°C warming from today until 2100.

      If we wish to reduce the warming by 0.5 °C, i.e. to only 1.3°C by 2100, we will need to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by around 500 Gt below the IPCC BaU case. Since only half of what we emit “remains” in the atmosphere, this means we would need to reduce CO2 emissions by a cumulative 1,000 Gt..

      Removing 4 Gt CO2 per year over the next 88 years, will only “remove” 350 Gt by 2100, so will not give us a 0.5°C (theoretical) reduction in warming by 2100.

      Removing 4 GtC per year would be equivalent to 14.7 GtCO2 per year (about half of the amount humans are emitting in total today).

      Artificial “carbon costs” (such as those quoted in Europe, etc.) are meaningless. What is meaningful are the costs required to replace carbon emissions with alternate sources of energy or to physically remove carbon from flue gases or from the atmosphere.

      And these appear to lie between around $16 trillion and $1,000 trillion per 0.5°C warming (theoretically) averted by 2100 for the various specific actionable proposals, which have been made to date.

      Max

      • Manacker,

        Artificial “carbon costs” (such as those quoted in Europe, etc.) are meaningless. What is meaningful are the costs required to replace carbon emissions with alternate sources of energy or to physically remove carbon from flue gases or from the atmosphere.

        I agree. And here are some examples:

        – Estimated abatement cost with renewable energy in Australia = $300/t CO2
        – Estimated abatement cost with nuclear energy in Australia = $65/t CO2
        – Nordhaus ‘Low-cost backstop’ technology (assumes) = $270/t CO2
        – CO2 Abatement cost if/when we allow low-cost nuclear = <$0/t CO2

        There is an alternative that is blocked. It is the last one on that list. Those blocking Progress need to objectively reassess their opposition to it.

      • Manacker,

        And these appear to lie between around $16 trillion and $1,000 trillion per 0.5°C warming (theoretically) averted by 2100 for the various specific actionable proposals, which have been made to date.

        I calculate these costs from Nordhaus (2008) “A Question of Balance

        I’ve used the present value abatement costs and the projected global temperature change for the mitigation policies listed in Table 5-1 to calculate the cost per °C temperature change avoided. The costs are in Trillions of 2005 U.S. $. The temperature increase is from 1900.

        Policy Trillions $/°C avoided
        No controls
        – 250-year delay
        – 50-year delay 4.71
        Optimal 4.89
        Concentration limits
        – Limit to 1.5xCO2 18.79
        – Limit to 2xCO2 6.81
        – Limit to 2.5xCO2 4.89
        Temperature limits
        – Limit to 1.5°C 17.36
        – Limit to 2°C 10.66
        – Limit to 2.5°C 8.12
        – Limit to 3°C 5.92
        Kyoto Protocol
        – Kyoto with United States 4.83
        – Kyoto w/o United States 7.00
        – Strengthened 8.76
        Stern Review
        – discounting 18.01
        Gore proposal 21.59
        Low-cost backstop 0.22

        Once again, the ‘Low cost backstop’ policy (i.e. cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels) is by far the least cost policy.

      • I should have made clear that the Nordhaus estimates are based on academic assumptions that cannot be met in practice in the real world.
        The the abatement costs would be far higher than Nordhaus’s estimates and the benefits would not be realised: http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1325#82373. Therefore, Manacker’s estimates for the cost to reduce global temperatures bu 0.5 C are probably more realistic than these.

      • Peter Lang

        Not to quibble, but at the heading of your listing of abatement costs I see:

        The temperature increase is from 1900.

        [I assume this is not simply a typo.]

        1900?

        Huh?

        Why not 2012?

        Did we have a better “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature anomaly” in 1900 (-0.142C) than today (+0.339C in 2011)?

        If so, sez who?

        And on what basis (i.e. better for WHOM)?

        Assuming this is not simply a typo, this is the kind of warped logic that lies behind the thinking of many of the mitigation proponents.

        Max

      • Max,

        The 1900 is not a typo. That is the figure used as the base for temperature increases in all the Nordhaus RICE and DICE modelling. I have forgotten what the reason is. See, for example Table 5-1 (p81, not p80) here: http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf

      • Peter Lang

        Thanks for clarification.

        Using 1900 as a temperature “baseline” is so absurd it makes the whole rest of the report suspect.

        – We cannot control the 0.45C warming that occurred between 1900 and 2011

        – We cannot say with any certainty that X% of this warming was caused by humans

        – We have no reason to believe that the 1900 temperature was any “better” for humanity than that of today – and significant reason to believe just the opposite

        Max

      • Max,

        I don’t think that was Nordhaus’s reason for using 1900 as the base. I think the reason is because he is also comparing it with pre-man-made global warming CO2 concentrations. I find Nordhaus’s work very useful, and more objective than the alarmists who have tackled these types of analyses. Therefore, I’d urge us to make use and become familiar with what he’s done rather than attempt to dismiss it.

        He explains what he’s done and why here: http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf
        For those interested in this it is worth having his book at hand.

        You can also download his RICE 2012model in Excel.

        This explains how he has calibrated his model: http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Accom_Notes_100507.pdf
        Not what he says about the “Impacts and damages function::

        The major issue at this stage is that the database for impact studies continues to be relatively small.

        I urge that the “impacts and damages function” is where the research effort should be focused. If the impacts and damages of warming are positive or only mildly negative, what’s the concern?

  105. I should have made clear that the Nordhaus estimates are based on academic assumptions that cannot be met in practice in the real world. The the abatement costs would be far higher than Nordhaus’s estimates and the benefits would not be realised. Therefore, Manacker’s estimates for the cost to reduce global temperatures bu 0.5 C are probably more realistic than these.

    • Peter Lang

      Yes.

      We agree.

      Now to nuclear fission as a viable option.

      First, let’s define what we are talking about.

      I would agree 100% that building nuclear power plants using today’s best technology to cover a majority of future electrical energy needs or to replace old fossil fuel plants that are being decommissioned anyway makes sense. In almost all locations of this world (except on top of a coal mine, as in Australia) today’s nuclear fission technology competes with new clean coal plants with no carbon tax figured in.

      I would not agree with proposals (such as that of Hansen et al.) to forcibly shut down all coal-fired plants by a certain date and replace these existing plants with new nuclear plants. This would be simply pouring money down a rat hole.

      Today’s nuclear fission faces great political challenges, largely caused by the same green knuckleheads that are now screaming about carbon dioxide, but taken up by the general public and politicians in many countries. These make it very difficult for nuclear power to compete on a level playing field.

      In addition, there are concerns about the spent fuel disposal/containment that complicate the political acceptance of today’s nuclear fission technology.

      Finally, there are many nations with unstable governments where non-proliferation concerns preclude the installation of nuclear power plants.

      Fast-breeder reactors (using thorium ?) offer a solution to most of the spent fuel problem; this technology exists today and is being prototyped in at least two locations. I have not seen the relative economics compared to conventional nuclear fission with spent fuel costs included, but I must assume that this new technology will be economically (as well as politically) competitive in the long run, and therefore also competitive with new coal-fired plants.

      Over the longer term there is even nuclear fusion (but I can already imagine the Greenpeace posters of the Bikini blast with the statement “nuclear fusion – no thanks”).

      IMO the energy problems we face are not technical – they are political creations, from angst about CO2 to nuclear phobia.

      Max

      • Max,

        Yes. We agree on just about everything you’ve said in that comment. I’d like to emphasise this point you made:

        I would not agree with proposals (such as that of Hansen et al.) to forcibly shut down all coal-fired plants by a certain date and replace these existing plants with new nuclear plants. This would be simply pouring money down a rat hole.

        and this point:

        Today’s nuclear fission faces great political challenges, largely caused by the same green knuckleheads that are now screaming about carbon dioxide, but taken up by the general public and politicians in many countries. These make it very difficult for nuclear power to compete on a level playing field.

        I’d disagree slightly on the margins about a couple of points with respect to the management of used fuel and proliferation issues.

        Regarding “spent fuel”, that description is misleading (although I agree it is commonly used). It is actually “once used fuel” with 99% of its useable energy still retained. This will be used to fuel some of the next generation of reactors such as the IFR. In fact, the IFR needs it.

        On proliferation, I do not share the widely held concerns. The material for weapons is (and will be) made in dedicated military reactors that are designed and operated to produce weapons material. Weapons material is not produced in reactors designed to produce electricity. The isotope mix is not suitable and would be extremely difficult to extract from the spent fuel from civil reactors (including breeder reactors designed for electricity generation (so I understand) http://bravenewclimate.com/integral-fast-reactor-ifr-nuclear-power/). It is far cheaper for the military to build their own purpose designed and built, dedicated reactors.

        However, from my perspective these two issues are down in the weeds compared with:

        1. the economics of nuclear power versus the economics of all other options dor significantly reducing global GHG emissions

        2. The heath and safety benefits of nuclear power compared with all other types of electricity generation: http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/06/deaths-by-energy-source-in-forbes.html

        3. The benefits for the developing world of cheap, clean electricity (when that is allowed by those opposing it)

  106. David Springer

    You boys are missing some important 411.

    The air in the Antarctic interior is already cold enough to freeze CO2. The problem is that at a partial pressure of 400ppm CO2 sublimates faster than it freezes out.

    The answer to this to have an environment where CO2 partial pressure is far higher than 400ppm and you mix the already cold enough air into that environment and then the CO2 freezes out and stays frozen.

    So how do we get that environment? Easy peasy. Generate a small pile of CO2 snow that’s deep enough so the air in the interior doesn’t exchange quickly with the atmosphere. The interstices in the interior of the that CO2 snowpile will have a very high partial pressure of CO2. Then simply force atmosphere through the interior of the pile and it will freeze out more CO2.

    So you see there’s no need to use brute force cooling or compression just getcha a starter pile of CO2 snow and away you go!

    I’m surprised no one here figured this out. Presumably the authors of the paper did.

    This IN NO WAY makes the idea practical. There are a million other things wrong with it not the least of which is any industrial operation in the Antarctic interior is prohibitely costly and dangerous. It would be easier to grow trees and build wooden ships out of them and then sink the ships in the Marianis trench where they’d never decay and release the carbon fer crying out loud.

    • “You boys are missing some important 411.

      The air in the Antarctic interior is already cold enough to freeze CO2. The problem is that at a partial pressure of 400ppm CO2 sublimates faster than it freezes out. ”

      So get big hole, dump 100 tons of Liquid Nitrogen in hole.
      Makes air colder, also makes air denser- CO2 should freeze
      out in such conditions.

      “So how do we get that environment? Easy peasy. Generate a small pile of CO2 snow that’s deep enough so the air in the interior doesn’t exchange quickly with the atmosphere. The interstices in the interior of the that CO2 snowpile will have a very high partial pressure of CO2. Then simply force atmosphere through the interior of the pile and it will freeze out more CO2.”

      Make big enough hole, don’t need force it.
      You need vast, vast volume to hold enough CO2
      to make this begin to have any effect upon global
      CO2- hundreds of cubic km of volume.
      If make the hole first, then the hole contain a “micro atmosphere”
      of cold dense air.
      Next question is how much would snow CO2 in a year.
      Suppose it was 10 cm per year or 1 meter per decade.
      Hopefully it would be more than this.
      1 km square hole at 10 cm per year is about 100,000 tons per year.
      A 10 Km square hole is 10 million tons per year.
      10 cm per year seems like lower limit. Perhaps 2 cm a day
      might on higher side: or 7.2 meter per year.
      Probably having 100 1 km deep holes better than
      one 10 km square hole.
      The deeper the hole the less refrigerant needed, plus more storage
      volume and one should probably buried once finished fill up, quite deep.
      Deeper fill it, more pressure and need kept as cold

    • Vaughan Pratt

      I’m surprised no one here figured this out. Presumably the authors of the paper did.

      That was part of my design of three years ago. Similar principle to how clouds form: if a molecule of water vapor hits a water droplet it has an excellent chance of sticking to it instead of bouncing off it. The bigger the droplet the less it loses to evaporation. With high humidity and a nucleus (not necessarily itself water), water droplets form easily and build up from there. Same principle with dry ice, just as David describes.

    • David Springer

      The mechanism you describe for removing CO2 from the atmosphere at very low temperatures sounds interesting in theory.

      But the question remains whether or not it will in practice be less costly than some of the other less exotic specific actionable proposals made to date (i.e. at a cost of less than around $16 trillion for 0.5 degC warming theoretically averted by year 2100) or more costly by at least one order of magnitude.

      These are already extremely poor investments, and anything with an even less attractive cost/benefit analysis would be even worse, without even considering the environmental and political problems associated with doing something like this in the pristine Antarctic.

      According to data cited by Peter Lang, other “air removal” proposals (not located in Antarctica) apparently cost around $1,000 per ton CO2 removed (or $1,000 trillion for the same 0.5 deg C warming (theoretically) averted.

      No matter how one slices it, we are talking about a huge amount of (taxpayer) “bucks” for an imperceptible “bang” (or rather “pop”).

      Max

      PS A much better deal, that involves no premium cost at all is simply switching most new electrical power generation from coal to nuclear fission, using existing technology (see separate post below).

      • David Springer

        The method described for the Antarctic won’t be less expensive than other means. I already pointed out it would be cheaper to grow trees, build wooden ships from them, and sink the ships over the Marianis Trench where the wood will never decay on the bottom. It would probably be cheaper to build floating islands out of wood and grow more trees on the islands to make the islands continually larger. I’m serious about biology being the most cost-effective solution but it would be synthetic organisms designed for the job not natural organisms. In fact those synthetic organisms can pull carbon out of the atmosphere and store it liquid forms that could, if we so desire, be put into the fuel tanks of extant internal and external combustion engines like trains, planes, automobiles, and electrical generation plants. How cools is THAT for a solution?

      • David Springer

        How cools is THAT for a solution?

        (Genetically modified fast-track fossil fuel bio-generators).

        I like it!

        Max

      • David Springer

        Nuclear generation is expensive, dangerous, and leaves toxic byproducts that we don’t know how to safely store or destroy. It also doesn’t generate power in the critical form we need which isn’t electricity but rather combustable liquids and gases. Nuclear isn’t the answer.

      • David Springer

        You seem to know something about biochemistry and biological processes.

        Currently, sugar cane alcohol is the best example of a practical “bio-fuel”.

        Data from various sources tell us that:

        Sugar cane yields up to around 5 tons sugar per acre

        This can produce up to 2.6 tons ethanol, which is roughly equivalent to 2 tons gasoline.

        The USA consumes around 3.3 billion bbl of gasoline per year, or roughly 0.37 billion tons.

        To grow this amount of motor fuel via sugar cane would require 0.17 billion acres or around 700,000 square km (this is roughly the total land surface area of Texas and equivalent to around 40% of all agricultural cropland in the USA).

        Will your “bio-engineered fossil fuel generator” need less surface area to generate an equivalent amount of motor fuel?

        Will it require 1/10th the surface area of sugar cane?

        (If so, how can I invest in your venture?)

        Max

      • “Excerpts from a Toledo Blade guest column by Julia Olmstead, a graduate student in plant breeding and sustainable agriculture at Iowa State University and a graduate fellow with the Land Institute, Salina, Kan.

        The United States annually consumes more fossil and nuclear energy than all the energy produced in a year by the country’s plant life, including forests and that used for food and fiber, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Energy and David Pimentel, a Cornell University researcher.
        To produce enough corn-based ethanol to meet current U.S. demand for automotive gasoline, we would need to nearly double the amount of land used for harvested crops, plant all of it in corn, year after year, and not eat any of it.” continued on:

        http://www.toledotalk.com/cgi-bin/tt.pl/article/1350/Hempoline_bio-fuel

        This page on the advantages of hemp to other bio-fuels, but still, this doesn’t seem to be at all viable if this researcher is correct.

      • Myrhh

        Corn to ethanol yields per acre are around 40% of sugar cane to ethanol yields, so I calculate that it would take 100% of all the agricultural cropland of the USA to generate its current gasoline demand.

        Your article says 200%.

        I’ll not quibble (it’s a loser either way).

        Max

  107. There are a number of things that can close GHG production sources that we all can agree upon would be a Good Thing [tm].

    1) Double or triple the efforts to extinguish burning coal mines. There are literally hundreds of burning coal seams in the world that add CO2 to the atmosphere.

    2) Close the known methane leakage sources.

  108. David Springer

    Vaughan Pratt | August 29, 2012 at 3:04 am | Reply

    Temperature determines the equilibrium level of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    1. If that were true, why did the CO2 go up between 1958 and 1970 while the temperature was going down?
    ————————————————————————————–

    Very good. Now the flip side. If it’s true that CO2 causes global warming then why did the earth’s temperature not rise in the past 14 years while CO2 increased 8%?

    Pointing out periods lacking correlation between between temperature and CO2 is a sword that cuts both ways.

  109. Peter Lang

    You mention that replacing new coal-fired electrical generation capacity with nuclear fission is a no-cost approach to reducing CO2 emissions.

    How much could this “nuclear option” actually bring us?

    We currently use around 140,000 TWh/year electrical power or around 20,000 kWh/year per person on average.

    UN estimates (mid-range) that population will grow from today’s 7 billion to around 10.5 billion by 2100.

    Wiki tells us that per capita energy consumption increased by 10% from 1990 to today. Let’s assume it increases another 50% from today to 2100.

    And let’s assume that 50% of all new power plants will be coal-fired under a business-as-usual scenario, but that 2/3 of these will be replaced by new nuclear capacity under the “nuclear option”.

    We then avert a calculated cumulative 1620 GtCO2 over the next 88 years. Of this, around 50%, or 810 GtCO2, would have “remained” in the atmosphere.

    These 810 GtCO2 represent a reduction of 104 ppmv in the atmosphere by 2100.

    IPCC “business as usual” case (between “scenario and storyline” B1 and A1T1) estimates a CO2 level in 2100 of around 600 ppmv, so with the “nuclear option” we would only have 496 ppmv CO2.

    Using IPCC’s 2xCO2 CS of 3 degC, we would have warming by 2100 from CO2:

    – Business-as-usual (no “nuclear option”) = 1.8 degC
    – With “nuclear option” = 1.0 deg C

    So the “nuclear option” gives us a (theoretical) reduction of global warming by year 2100 of 0.8 degC at no added cost.

    Looks like this is the only “mitigation proposal”, which makes any sense at all.

    Max

    • lurker, passing through laughing

      manacker,
      Interesting.

    • Max,

      I missed this comment earlier.

      If nuclear is allowed to be cheaper than coal, the result would be even better than you have explained. Because, if nuclear is cheaper than coal, it will displace gas for heating and some oil for land transport. When coal, gas and oil are replaced not only the emissions from direct combustion are avoided, but also the fugitive emissions associated with the extraction of the fossil fuels.

  110. David Springer

    Your objections to current nuclear fission technology are valid – in fact, they make the “nuclear option” politically impossible today.

    But there are new technologies in the wings, which can resolve most of the valid objections.

    And, the truth of the matter is that there are no specific actionable mitigation proposals that make any economic sense at all (including the “modest Antarctic proposal” in the lead post here).

    Max

    • David Springer

      The the only “new” technology with any promise is LFTR (liquid flouride thorium reactor). It’s been around for 60 years and so have its problems which are 1) liquid flouride is too corrosive and 2) managing the chemistry to keep the fissionables fissioning is difficult. Less informed proponents point to the great abundance of thorium for fuel. What they don’t say is that there’s no shortage of uranium and fuel for conventional reactors is just a very small fraction of the operating cost. Don’t bet on it. Word.

  111. GFC silver lining.Loony scientists do not get to spend trillions on trying to alter the atmosphere.

  112. “Calculations demonstrate that this project is worthy of consideration, whereby 446 deposition plants supported by 16 1200-MW wind farms can remove 1 B tons (1012 kg) of CO2 annually (a 32 reduction of 0.5 ppmv), which can be stored in an equivalent “landfill” volume of 2 km x 2 km x 33 160 m (insulated to prevent dry ice sublimation).”

    If we assume that atmospheric CO2 will ramp up to around 400 ppm before the extraction plant becomes operational, this means that the plant must process 2.5e12 tons of atmosphere annually with 100% extraction efficiency to meet its 1e9 ton annual extraction target, or around 80 kilotons of air/sec. It would probably be a good idea to keep the discharge side of the plant well separated from the intake side (10 miles? 100 miles? how far?), so that the CO2 free exhaust won’t dilute the CO2 in the intake air and reduce the processing efficiency.

    So if I understand the basic flow chart, the plant will suck in 80 kilotons of air per second, cool it enough to cause the CO2 to precipitate out, and pump the 80 kilotons (minus 32 tons of CO2) of CO2 free air far enough away to prevent it from mixing with the intake. The 32 tons of dry ice produced per second will be transported to the storage areas and held at dry ice temperature indefinitely. The whole process must continue 24/7/365 while being operated at the South Pole.

    Sounds exciting, engineering-wise.

    • Vaughan Pratt

      It would probably be a good idea to keep the discharge side of the plant well separated from the intake side (10 miles? 100 miles? how far?), so that the CO2 free exhaust won’t dilute the CO2 in the intake air and reduce the processing efficiency.

      That was one of the considerations when I was designing my Californian counterpart of this Antarctic scheme three years ago. My approach was to put the intake upwind of the discharge. 10 yards is then no different from 10 miles.

      For regions where the wind isn’t consistent, one can run an extension tube from the intake to the opposite side of the discharge and use the wind direction to decide whether to incorporate the extension tube as part of the intake.

      Even better than wind direction is to monitor the CO2 level at the intake and at the discharge of the extension tube and switch to whichever has more CO2.

      All wildly impractical, but fun to theorize about.

  113. David Springer:
    @ August 30, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Nuclear generation is expensive, dangerous, and leaves toxic byproducts that we don’t know how to safely store or destroy. It also doesn’t generate power in the critical form we need which isn’t electricity but rather combustable liquids and gases. Nuclear isn’t the answer.

    Let’s pars that

    Nuclear generation is:

    1. “expensive,” – Current nuclear is roughly cost competitive with coal. It’s more in some countries and cheaper in others. However, we are talking about what can be done over the decades ahead, not what is the situation now. The development of the current generation of nuclear power has been severely constrained by nuclear phobia. Regulatory ratcheting is estimated to have increased the cost by a factor of four to 1990 and I expect it has doubled again since. Al for virtually no benefit. It has not improved safety compared with where we would be now. So there is potential for very significant cost reductions if and when we remove the imposts (to the extent appropriate).

    2. “dangerous,” – The evidence shows clearly that statement is wrong. That is paranoia, not objective statement of the facts. Nuclear is about the safest of all electricity generation technologies:http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/06/deaths-by-energy-source-in-forbes.html

    3. “leaves toxic byproducts that we don’t know how to safely store or destroy.” – That statement is misleading and unwarranted scaremongering. The quantities of used nuclear fuel are miniscule when compared with other technologies and other industries. The materials are contained, unlike the toxic byproducts from other industries. It is already safely stored as evidenced by the fact there have been very few accidents or fatalities in over 50 years and 15,000 reactor years of operation. It is a valuable energy source and should not be disposed of. Why should we require we spend much more money on managing nuclear fuel when we do not enforce sugh requirements on the many other more hazardous chemical products we releas to the environment on a routine basis

    4. “It also doesn’t generate power in the critical form we need which isn’t electricity but rather combustable liquids and gases.” – so what does and what is the cost? Does it require energy to produce it? Would it be cheaper if it had cheap energy to produce it?

    Nuclear isn’t the answer – if nuclear isn’t a major part of the answer what is? What is a cheaper way to cut CO2 emissions from energy? Provide the costs for nuclear and the proposed alternatives in comparable form.

    • Peter Lang

      I agree with every word of your post.

      The problem for nuclear today is purely political (and emotional, i.e. irrational).

      Greenpeace and other green lobby groups have done a good job of scaremongering, so that the general public in many countries (such as Germany) is totally brainwashed and motivated by the strongest emotion of all: fear. As a result, politicians are caught up in a wave of mandating the shutdown of all nuclear pants and chasing windmills and other impossible “clean energy” schemes. The Germans (who love to give “movements” grandiose names) call this sorry state of affairs “die Energiewende” (and it is already causing shortages).

      So we can blame electrical power shortages and blackouts on these environmental lobby groups.

      It is also no exaggeration to say that these enviro lobby groups have done more to exacerbate the so-called “CO2 problem” than the “oil lobby” ever did.

      Max

    • “Nuclear isn’t the answer – if nuclear isn’t a major part of the answer what is? What is a cheaper way to cut CO2 emissions from energy? Provide the costs for nuclear and the proposed alternatives in comparable form.”

      Nuclear is the answer, particularly if one thinks CO2 emission is a problem and you want to reduce CO2 emission in short term [within 10 to 20 years].

      But CO2 emission isn’t a problem and if could be problem in future it doesn’t need a short term remedy.
      So your focus could be not increase CO2 significant and/or reduce CO2 by a significant amount. Therefore since there is a vast amount of natural gas, you [in terms of govt] could focus more on natural gas production and use. Which the clever free market is already doing.
      But what the clever free market isn’t doing is using ocean methane hydrates, and government policy could start getting more engaged laying the ground work for allowing the free market to begin to use ocean methane hydrates. This technology will be best developed by the private sector, but rudimentary prototype type technology could valuable role for
      government. And if government gets involved in early part of this, there chance government may have better grasp of what regulations should be involved. And have proper laws regarding this kind of activity would be the most important role of the government.

      For long term goals regarding global energy needs, it seems solution could involve further use of space environment. It is possible that within a timescale of a century significant quantities energy could be harvested in the space environment.
      The major problem with increased use of space environment is related to cost of leaving Earth. And this problem is resolvable. And way this can resolved is economic issue rather technological. Or in simple terms, we have applying socialist type model and we need a capitalist- or model which is concerned about markets, rather mostly as issue of space as a job program.
      With proper government leadership the space environment could evolve
      to place where energy is produced in space which involved energy being used in space, which after some time the cost making energy in space, is lower to point energy made in space could exported to Earth surface.
      Such energy production in space is near infinite in terms of potential.
      And getting energy from the space environment is ultimately the direction human probably going towards. If seems to me unlikely that 1000 or 2000 years in the future this will not be occurring.
      But there is no reason why we to wait 1000 years. We could began along path decades ago.

    • Max,

      I agree with all that.

      I’d quantify your last paragraph as follows:

      If not for the anti nuclear campaigns for the past 50 years, CO2 emissions would be 10% to 20% lower now than they are and we’d be on a much faster trajectory to reduce emissions from now on. We’d be in a much better position to do so.

  114. Make a proof of concept on a scale controlled to prove the efficiency.
    Simple and efficient.

  115. Max, Vaughan Pratt, Steve Milseworthy, Pekka Pirilla.

    A timely article is in today’s “Weekend Australian”. It is particularly opportune given our discussion on this and previous threads about the CO2 emissions avoided by wind farms.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/hopes-of-slashing-greenhouse-emissions-just-blowing-in-the-wind/story-fn59niix-1226462745494

    Hopes of slashing greenhouse emissions just blowing in the wind

    Unfortunately it is behind a paywall, so here are some extracts:

    Alongside the politics of the carbon tax, a floor price, a linking to Europe or whether a direct investment scheme would be better than a market-based scheme, the bottom line surely must be whether any carbon emissions actually are being saved.

    The early signs are that a $23 carbon tax has displaced some marginal high-cost generation in South Australia and Queensland, but it is too soon to say whether this is a trend or coincidence.

    But any gains are swamped by the findings of a two-year analysis of Victoria’s wind-farm developments by mechanical engineer Hamish Cumming.

    His analysis shows that despite receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from green energy schemes driven by the renewable energy target, Victoria’s wind-farm developments have saved virtually zero carbon dioxide emissions in the state.

    That is consistent with what is being found virtually everywhere: Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, UK, Canada, USA (references provided in comments on this and previous threads).

    Even in SA, which uses gas, not coal, for base-load power and makes much greater use of wind, Cumming estimates the cost of greenhouse gas abatement at $1484 a tonne.

    Cumming used data published by the Australian Energy Market Operator, which tracks power sector generation every five minutes.

    The results showed fossil fuel generators, in the same periods when wind turbines had been operating, fluctuated their output to match demand but did not reduce their rate of coal consumption.

    Cumming says his investigation demonstrates how green energy theories do not always match the facts.

    A two-year email exchange between Cumming and energy companies and government regulators shows how the industry would prefer to rely on models than real-world data.

    Sound familiar?

    Cumming references an AEMO presentation to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission where the AEMO showed that for the wind farms in SA in 2009 the greenhouse gas abatement was only 3 per cent of the total capacity of the wind farms installed.

    This equated to a 0.6 per cent reduction of greenhouse gases for the entire state’s electrical generation from fossil fuels.

    Since then Cumming says he has established that even with the continued expansion of wind farms in South Australia, the AEMO figures show the abatement has risen to only about 4 per cent of the installed capacity, or just more than 1 per cent greenhouse gas abatement.

    This is the same figure that was established in the past three months in The Netherlands and presented to the Dutch parliament. The Netherlands report suggests the greenhouse gas used to build and maintain a wind farm will not be abated even across the total life of the wind farm.

    What is clear from this article is that if you want to replace the emissions from baseload coal power stations you need to replace the coal power stations with an alternative baseload technology. The obvious choice (if we would allow it to be cheap enough) would be to replace brown coal with nuclear. You can replace with combined cycle gas, but that does not cut emissions as much as nuclear and the risk of gas price increases cause a high risk of increases in cost of electricity in the future. Nuclear does not have that risk, since nuclear fuel is only 3% to 5% of the cost of nuclear generated electricity.

    To allow nuclear to be cheaper than coal we need to remove the impediments to low cost nuclear. That process needs to start in the USA.

  116. Nuclear has in fact started in the USA, although the raison d’etre was more connected to collecting enough fissile material for their military requirements rather than civil power generation. They have done that now so they have gone cool on the idea.

    It hasn’t started in the Australia at all so you could direct your efforts there too.

    The reason both countries, who have large readily available coal reserves are so heavily reliant on fossil fueled electricity generation is because, without carbon pricing, it’s slightly cheaper than nuclear power.

    Add in the carbon tax and it would be slightly dearer. That causes the utility companies, who don’t like paying taxes any more than you or I, to reduce their use of coal and to switch over to less polluting fuels which should include nuclear power.

    That’s the rationale for a carbon tax. Maybe a carbon fine would be a better term. It’s to provide an economic motive for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. What’s hard to understand about that?

    • TT asks “What’s hard to understand about that?”

      He will never understand because he doesn’t want to. The world is not going to commit to a carbon price, and not should they. It’s that simple. So if you want low emissions energy, you must put your efforts into removing the impediments to low cost nuclear – that is the impediments than have been put on nuclear as a result of the 50 years of anti-nuke advocacy and protests by (mostly) those who share your ideological beliefs.

      What’s so hard to understand about the?

    • TT asks “What’s hard to understand about that?”

      He will never understand because he doesn’t want to.

      The world is not going to commit to a carbon price, and nor should it. It’s that simple.

      So if TT and his mates want low emissions energy, they’ll need to put their efforts into removing the impediments to a cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels (low cost nuclear is the obvious first priority).

      The ‘Progressives’ will need to get broad agreement to remove the impediments that have been put on nuclear as a result of the 50 years of anti-nuke advocacy and protests by (mostly) those who share the ‘Progressives’ ideological beliefs.

    • David Springer

      The US doesn’t have a problem generating electricity. It has a problem with gasoline and diesel for the transportation fleet. Electricity isn’t going to solve that problem. Aside from misplaced concern by the loony left about CO2 and climate change there’s no incentive to change how electricity is generated and consumed. The CO2->climate change linkage has already been falsified by observation. It’s just a matter of time until the travesty is fully exposed. Another 10 years of increasing CO2 and no commesurate increase in global average temperature will kill it for all but the most loony of the loons. Kiss your CO2 boogeyman goodbye – he’s dead, Jim.

      • David Springer,

        Now I see where you are coming from. You are one of those who believe there is no issue (political, economic or otherwise). You think the CAGW Alarmists do not exist. You think the EU ETS and Australian carbon taxc and ETS don’t exist. You think the Kyoto Protocol was a figment of someone’s imagination. You think that the IPCC and the annual conferences like Copenhagen, Cancun, Durban, Rio+20 didn’t happen.

        You think that just because you don’t agree with AGW, the political issue doesn’t exist.

        And you called me naive, eh?

  117. The Moon has diameter of 3475 km
    Earth has diameter 12,756 km
    Total mass of Earth: 5.97 10^24 kg
    Moon: .073 10^24 kg
    The Moon is less than 1/80th of mass of Earth.

    http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/

    The only reason earth is difficult to leave is because
    of the relative high mass of planet Earth.
    If Earth had same mass as the Moon, we would
    not fly in the atmosphere if going from LA to New York-
    it would be stupid to do this. It would be easier
    to fly into orbit and de-orbit when reach NYC.
    Despite our gravitation mass, we may in the future
    do such a “sub-orbit hop” from LA to NYC.
    We can’t do it now, because it is too expensive,
    but with a moon like gravity it would be cheaper and
    faster- an obviously better way to go such distances.
    A fundamental nature or reason we develop technology
    is to lower cost. Market and technology could reduce
    the cost of doing something like a suborbital hop
    from LA to NYC.
    But it wouldn’t be so expensive and therefore hard to
    do if Earth had same gravity as the Moon, this what
    mean by “only reason earth is difficult to leave is because
    of the relative high mass of planet Earth”.

    Earth large gravity is not a significant challenge in term
    coming from space to the earth surface. Or it’s not expensive
    to land on Earth- it’s leaving which is the main problem.
    Or in terms of cost it’s a 1/10th [or less] the cost to land
    on earth as compared to cost to leave earth. Or with Earth’s
    atmosphere it’s easier to slow down than increase velocity.

    The only reason the Shuttle or Apollo spacecraft was very
    hard to do, is that there is no gas stations in space. Your
    design would completely different if the were gas stations
    in space. The engineering challenge of sending
    humans to orbit or to the lunar surface is largely dealing
    with the problem of lack of available rocket fuel in space.

    And what is important to understand is that to make it a lot
    easier the availability of rocket fuel in space doesn’t need to be particularly cheap. Or rocket fuel fuel in space which was
    1000 times the price on earth is cheap enough. If you manage
    to provide rocket fuel at only 100 times the cost rocket fuel on Earth,
    that is VERY cheap- a very exciting bargain. But if is 1000 times
    it’s also exciting in terms of lower cost of *getting* humans into space.

    Those involved in climate matters may be aware the a gallon of gasoline
    [about 6 lb of fuel] makes about 20 lbs of CO2. Or around 2/3rd the mass to make CO2 comes from the oxygen in the air.
    With chemical rockets [what we use mostly] they need the fuel and the oxidizer- there is no air up there.
    If instead of providing the oxidizer and fuel components of rocket fuel,
    one simply provided one of them, oxidizer or fuel, this would also make
    getting to space easier. Or both is better or just one of them would be a
    significant improvement.
    So most chemical rocket use oxygen [and oxygen is the most massive component] so if one had gas station which just provided oxygen “fuel”
    this would drastically lower cost. On earth liquid oxygen is about 5 cent a kg. 1000 times this would be $50 per kg. Liquid oxygen could 10,000 times this price [$500 per kg] and be very cheap. Selling liquid oxygen on the Moon for $500 per kg, would be giving it away for free- it’s hugely cheap. Investment tip, anyone selling 100 tons of liquid oxygen on the Moon for $500 per kg, buy it.

    So on earth if you split water, what you normally want is the H2- the oxygen is next to worthless. Splitting water to make hydrogen is expensive- there are cheaper ways to get hydrogen. And cost making hydrogen is directly related to cost you pay for electricity.
    If you split water on the Moon, the oxygen and the hydrogen is valuable.
    Depending supply and demand [if you are sole provider one has other factors to look at] oxygen may worth $1000 per kg and hydrogen may worth $4000 per kg. It’s worth more just gasoline is worth more than $4 per gallon, if there is no cheaper gasoline available.
    What controls the price of Liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen is the size of the market- the bigger the market, the lower the price. Lefties can’t grasp this simple concept because live in world in which they regard to is shortages of resources.
    On the Moon there is no shortage of Oxygen- 40% of the mass of the Moon surface is oxygen. Though getting oxygen from rock could rather expensive. But if mining and making aluminum on the Moon- oxygen is a “waste” product or by product. But if don’t have market for lunar aluminum, and you want oxygen for rocket fuel, water is best [cheapest in terms of energy] way getting oxygen. And of course you also get the Hydrogen from water.
    When split water you get 2 hydrogen atoms for every oxygen atom, and the atomic mass is 2 H and 16 O. Or in terms of mass you get 8 times the oxygen as compared to hydrogen. Or 9 kg of water turns into 8 kg of oxygen and 1 kg of hydrogen. With oxygen at $1000 per kg, it’s
    $8000 of oxygen and H @$4000 per kg, it’s $4000 of Hydrogen per the 9 kg of water split. So most money is from selling the oxygen.
    So on earth spitting water is to mostly get H2 and on the Moon it is mostly to get the oxygen.
    Or one could say it’s more economical to split water on the Moon- because you need [or there is a demand for] the oxygen.
    Of course the Hydrogen is also very valuable on the Moon- other than rocket fuel it’s also useful for mining almost everything. Hydrogen is also the best rocket fuel for space transportation in space. One could about it’s value for leaving earth, but clearly best beyond earth [it’s isn’t energy dense fuel- but best energy per mass chemical fuel]

    Now, we live on water planet. In comparison to Earth, the Moon has very little water. But for purposes of using water for making rocket fuel, the moon is very rich in water- it has more water than we could optimistic use within a century or two of massively using this lunar resource.
    Another issue if one is of the mind that shortage of resource is a desperate problem we concern ourselves with centuries into the future, is that the space environment has no shortage of water- there is more relatively easy to extract/mine water in space than on the planet Earth- depending how assess it, there hundreds or thousands [or more] earth oceans of water in our solar system. One moon of Jupiter probably liquid ocean of water 50 km deep- though not example of best or most abundance place to get water in our solar system.

    So in terms of water on the moon, what is important is not total amount, but the amount which minable. There may be 10 billion tonnes of water at lunar polar region, but more important is the amount minable within a certain time frame- say, within period of 20 years.
    This is not well known, or very poorly known, as NASA has failed since the 1960’s to adequately explore this issue. An issue critical for what NASA is suppose to be doing, but because the socialist mindset of government agency, has failed to think of the economic potential of such a resource- or even be aware of the existence of such a resource.
    Instead what could describe as the groupthink since the days of Apollo is that the Moon is a very dry place. Which is true, the Moon is a very, very dry places.
    Since the 1990’s the groupthink of NASA has shifted slightly. One could say there is some awareness that the Moon could have “wetter” areas in polar regions. But not much grasp of the significant of there being minable water on the moon. There are notable exceptions, basically true experts on the Moon are more aware of the significant. An example being:

    http://spudislunarresources.blogspot.com/

    But the agency is poorly lead, and has “more important issues” to be focused on. And they are certain more important in regards to their world view, but not more important in regards to the charter purpose in which they are suppose to regard as reason why they are funded by the public- why they exist as government agency.

    So we don’t actually know if there is minable water on the moon, because it has not been explored adequately up to the present time, but in terms of guessing, it could easily be tens of millions of tonnes, and short term need would less than hundreds of thousands of tons.
    Or lots of water.
    Or in terms of dollar amount as one assess say oil or mineral deposit, there trillions of dollars of water on the Moon.
    If 9 kg of water makes $8000 O2 and $4000 H2. Or 1 kg equals $1000,
    than a ton is million, and million tonnes is trillion dollars. But
    in first decade one is looking at ten billions of dollars worth of a water resource, which may be the amount in one fairly small crater or football field in small crater. So trillions of dollars is broad picture and billions dollars worth is the starting point.
    In general picture one has trillions of dollar of lunar water and one must have hundreds of trillion of dollar of other resources and activity.
    So lunar resources of trillions of dollar is value recovered over centuries of time, as would other activity which is hundreds of trillion of dollars.
    And what I am talking about isn’t tax dollar, but rather private sector investment dollar- which get return on the investment costs. Or hundreds trillion cost, times 2 or 3 hundreds trillions dollar profit.
    Or basically one has has investments on the order of tens of billion,
    the investment get return [they are profitable] and you have a sector
    which growing at 5 to 10% per year. So within say decade or two one is getting perhaps hundreds of billions being invested in a single year and tens of billion in profits in the same year [which high growth rate- so within decade a hundred billion in profits, and after this point the Moon may become sector of less growth- and investment dollar are less at risk and less return- it become a more mature market. And after decades of mature market a 1 trillion dollars worth water may be mined. And as was saying something other than rocket fuel would value exceeding 10 trillion dollars of combined and total value.

    First let’s look at what we are currently spending. The satellite business is roughing 100 billion dollar industry- we are spending about 100 billion dollars worth product connected to space [this low number]. So in a decade 1 trillion dollars is spent, or 1 trillion of product is bought.
    Or how much has public spent in tax dollar related to space. Well for US, you have NASA’s budget since 1960, and you military space budget which roughly double NASA’s budget. Without any any detail, in some fixed dollar amount, say 2012 dollars, one spending 30 to 40 billion per year. Say $400 billion per decade, and so trillions have been spent.
    So not huge difference. In terms NASA budget a continuation. And in terms private sector modest growth in entire space sector, rather than stagnation or reduction. Or said differently other nations are getting increasing growth in space sector, this result in US having smaller percentage share, if US were be involved with mining lunar water etc, it would add some and continue as leading the space related activity.
    Continue current trajectory- decline, change direction and possible significant economic growth in the sector.

  118. The neo-religious belief in CAGW – as expressed eg lolwot above – neatly captures the entire debate. And it certainly seems more than coincidence that this belief takes hold disproportionately in individuals with totalitarian (leftwing) political beliefs.

  119. Summary of important conclusions for this thread:

    Costs for CO2 abatement (at a scale that can make significant cuts ($/t CO2 abated):

    o CO2 snow sequestration in the Antarctic = >$2,400

    o Renewable energy = $300 [1]

    o Nuclear (Gen 3) = $65

    o Nuclear (if we allowed the impediments to be removed) = <$0

    A policy that delivers a ‘Cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels’ (for everyone) is by far the best and cheapest way to cut global CO2 emission [2}

    How much better is the ‘Cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels’ policy than the “Optimal carbon price policy’?

    The analyses published in Nordhaus (2008) [2] show the ‘cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels’ policy (called ‘Low-cost backstop policy’) is far better than the ‘Optimal carbon price’ policy. In fact, it is better by 3 times, 5 times, 5 times and 49 times for Benefits, Abatement Cost, Net Benefit, and Implied Carbon Tax rate. Details summarised below. Table numbers refer to Nordhaus (2008). (Costs are in 2005 US $ trillion)

    Benefits (reduced damages), ($ trillion) (ref. Table 5-3)
    Optimal carbon price policy 5.23
    Low-cost backstop policy 17.63
    ratio 3

    Abatement cost, ($ trillion) (ref. Table 5-3)
    Optimal carbon price policy 2.16
    Low-cost backstop policy 0.44
    ratio 5

    Net Benefit, ($ trillion) (ref. Table 5-3)
    Optimal carbon price policy 3.37
    Low-cost backstop policy 17.19
    ratio 5

    Implied carbon tax, ($/ton C) (ref. Table 5-1)
    Optimal carbon price policy 202.4
    Low-cost backstop policy 4.1
    ratio 49

    CO2 emissions in 2100, (Gt C/a) (ref. Table 5-6)
    Optimal carbon price policy 11
    Low-cost backstop policy 0

    CO2 concentration in 2100, (ppm) (ref. Table 5-7)
    Optimal carbon price policy 586
    Low-cost backstop policy 340

    Global temperature change in 2100, (°C from 1900) (ref. Table 5-1)
    Optimal carbon price policy 2.61
    Low-cost backstop policy 0.9

    Abatement cost per $/°C avoided

    The cost per °C temperature change avoided is calculated from the present value abatement costs and the projected global temperature change for the mitigation policies listed in Table 5-1. The costs are in 2005 U.S. $ trillion. The temperature increase is from 1900 to 2100.

    Policy Trillions $/°C avoided
    No controls
    • 250-year delay
    • 50-year delay 4.71
    Optimal 4.89
    Concentration limits
    • Limit to 1.5xCO2 18.79
    • Limit to 2xCO2 6.81
    • Limit to 2.5xCO2 4.89
    Temperature limits
    • Limit to 1.5°C 17.36
    • Limit to 2°C 10.66
    • Limit to 2.5°C 8.12
    • Limit to 3°C 5.92
    Kyoto Protocol
    • Kyoto with United States 4.83
    • Kyoto w/o United States 7.00
    • Strengthened 8.76
    Stern Review
    • discounting 18.01
    Gore proposal 21.59
    Low-cost backstop 0.22

    Clearly, the ‘Low-cost backstop’ policy (i.e. cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels) is the least cost way to reduce emissions by far.

    [1] http://bravenewclimate.com/2012/02/09/100-renewable-electricity-for-australia-the-cost/ , Figure 6.

    [2] http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf Table 5-1 and 5-3

  120. Summary of important conclusions for this thread:

    Costs for CO2 abatement (at a scale that can make significant cuts ($/t CO2 abated):

    o CO2 snow sequestration in the Antarctic = >$2,400

    o Renewable energy = $300 [1]

    o Nuclear (Gen 3) = $65

    o Nuclear (if we allowed the impediments to be removed) = <$0

    A policy that delivers a ‘Cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels’ (for everyone) is by far the best and cheapest way to cut global CO2 emission [2}

    References:

    [1] http://bravenewclimate.com/2012/02/09/100-renewable-electricity-for-australia-the-cost/ , Figure 6.

    [2] http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf Table 5-1 and and 5-3

  121. Vaughan Pratt | September 2, 2012 at 11:44 pm |

    By far the most important input factor on is the damage cost function

    That’s the difference between economists and scientists. If scientists had focused all their effort on costs they wouldn’t be scientists, they’d be economists. Scientists study nature, not money.

    Well, they would be engineers, actually.

    There is relationship between science and technology.
    One could called it symbiosis.
    Technology is all about costs.
    Science and engineers get a paycheck because they
    lower costs for society. Without this element of value
    science would not be supported by the public.
    Basic science, science not directly tied to technological
    application are valued because it is hoped they someday
    will lead to some technological application.

    Science is connected to costs. Chained to economic reality.
    Whereas, priests could study nature, and they could be regarded doing
    good works as priests [having spiritual importance].
    But a world without exploration, and world which doesn’t
    consider advancement in technology as important, has no
    use for science.
    Priests, maybe.

  122. The “Summary” here http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/24/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic/#comment-234611 didn’t attract any comments so I’ll present a different summary of key points.

    1. “The CO2 deposition in Antarctica” is a very high cost way to reduce emissions – at least $2,400/ tonne CO2 sequestered.

    2. High cost abatement policies will not be adopted, and nor should they be.

    3. Renewable energy is also a very high cost policy when all costs are properly accounted – at about $300/tonne CO2 abated. So, mandating and subsidising renewable energy is bad policy.

    4. Carbon pricing is also bad policy. It will not work in practice – for reasons explained here: http://jennifermarohasy.com/2012/06/what-the-carbon-tax-and-ets-will-really-cost-peter-lang/

    5. Most of the growth in emissions this century will be in developing and underdeveloped countries unless there is a cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels. They will not pay more for energy than they have to, nor should they and nor should the developed countries expect them to. Therefore, they will not implement carbon pricing. Therefore, carbon pricing cannot achieve what its proponents expect it to achieve.

    6. Decarbonisation of the global economy cannot be achieved by improving energy efficiency. Energy efficiency can have only a minor and slow effect. See Kaya Identity discussion here: http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/reality-check.html

    7. Therefore, the only realistic option is to provide a cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels.

    8. Since renewable energy is not a realistic option, only nuclear power is a realistic option.

    9. But nuclear power is too expensive, and the current plants are too large, for most countries.

    10. Therefore, to cut emissions we need cost competitive small nuclear power plants

    11. The small nuclear plants need to have good quality control so they need to be factory built, shipped to site, installed, run for life on a single fuel load or returned to factory for refuelling (e.g. once a decade or so). Some examples of such plants, currently going through the nuclear regulatory process are listed here (there are many others): http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/advanced/hyperion.html

    12. The block to progress is the widespread anti-nuclear sentiment, bordering on paranoia. It is often referred to as radiation phobia. This has been caused by 50 years of anti-nuclear advocacy, and massive misinformation. Since it is a social problem it can be changed by education.

    13. However, as long as the Greenies, ‘Progressives’ and Warmists remain opposed to nuclear power, it will be a very slow rate of unwinding the problems

    14. Therefore, it really is up to the Greenies, Progressives, and Warmists to change tack, be objective, learn the facts about nuclear and become enthusiastic advocates of a genuine, low cost way to reduce global CO2 emissions. It has to be a global solution, not just aimed at the developed countries.

    15. Once there is a much higher level of support for nuclear, especially in US, UK, EU, then there will be the political environment to allow removal of the impediments that are blocking low cost nuclear power for the world.

  123. Here is how we could get to low cost nuclear:

    We need as much competition as possible. Competition improves the technology and reduces costs. Wee need competition from companies in the manufacturing countries – USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Russia, China. Korea, Japan – building small modular nuclear power plants on production lines like aircraft. Small is essential for several reasons:

    a. only small power plants can fit easily into most electricity grids around the world
    b. small units can be ordered ‘just in time’, once demand is assured
    c. small can be constructed and installed quickly, thus reducing investor risks
    d. small can be built in factories, shipped to site, returned to factory for refuelling
    e. small can be manufactured on production lines like aircraft, turned out rapidly and with good quality control
    f. small leads to faster rate of improvement because more are manufactured and lessons learned are built into the next model more quickly.
    g. More competition between more manufacturers leads to faster rate of improvement

    Examples of small modular nuclear reactors here (see also the ones accessible from the left margin): http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/advanced/hyperion.html

    • David Springer

      Are you naive enough to think that small units are not and have not always been the highest priority for R&D? The commercial nuclear power industry is a spinoff from military nuclear power research for ships and submarines and if it was feasible for nuclear powered aircraft. As well every CO of every military base in the world would give his left nut to have his own electrical grid not reliant on diesel fueled generators with a defensible small nuclear power plant.

      Wake up and smell the coffee. Nuclear isn’t coming to anyone’s rescue and it certainly is not for lack of trying. It’s just plain prohibitively expensive and absent constant source of cooling water like submarines and ships at sea have, as well as a cost-is-no-object because there are no real options for a diesel navy to compete with a nuclear navy, there is simply no economically or technologically justifiable way for nuclear to significantly expand in the commercial market.

      • David Springer,

        You’ve clearly missed a lot but the tone of your comments suggests there’d be no point discussion the subject with you.

        I’d be interested in your answer to this question though. How much cooling water does a nuclear power plant need compared with coal, geothermal and solar thermal plants (per MWh)?

      • David Springer

        Yeah, there’s not much point in discussing nuclear energy realities with a pie-in-the-sky cheerleaders like you either. We’ll have to wait and see what the future brings, eh?

      • Thank you for the comment.

        Extract from a comment by Rod Adams

        http://bravenewclimate.com/2012/03/17/economist-nuclear-view-impractical/#comment-154175

        Nuclear is an incredibly simple way to boil water once the engineers have done their magic.

        My advantage in this discussion is that I once spent some intense years learning to operate small, flexible nuclear reactors and training others to operate them. I can bear testimony to the fact that they can be extremely simple and robust power sources that need very little support from external infrastructure.

        If people look at a gas plant and see a low cost capital investment, they are only looking at a small portion of the overall cost because someone else had to invest the capital into the fuel delivery system that moves the vapor from the deposit to the plant. Methane does not carry much energy per unit volume, so it is not easy to move from place to place.

        In contrast, the submarines on which I used to deploy could be loaded with 14 years worth of fuel (1970s vintage technology). These days, we load subs with a lifetime fuel supply – Virginia class boats deliver with a core rated for 33 years worth of operations and no provisions for refueling.

        What is stopping us?
        Regulatory ratcheting: http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter9.html

        Which was caused by 50 years of anti nuclear propaganda.

        Block nuclear and you can whistle all your life to cut GHG emissions. It just won’t happen. We are not going to go back to low energy society.

      • David Springer

        You think the nuclear energy regulatory environment was a burden in the Soviet Union? You cheerleaders never stop to think these things through. Heavy regulatory burdens inarguably exist in the Western world but western democracies where the green lunatics are free to roam and foam at the mouth are not the only game in town. Stalin, Kruschev, Putin, even Gorbachev would line them up and shoot them in the back of the head. So why isn’t Russia tripping all over itself producing and selling cheap nuclear power technology to all the countries in world whose rulers aren’t constrained by inconvenient mobs of green protesters and lobby groups?

      • David Springer,

        So why isn’t Russia tripping all over itself producing and selling cheap nuclear power technology to all the countries in world

        Did you think of answering that question yourself?

        Nuclear power is much cheaper in Russia than in the Western democracies. That is demonstrated by the fact they are building nuclear power plants for smelting aluminium to sell on the world market. Smelting aluminium is done where electricity is cheapest because the cost of power is a large component of the cost of aluminium. They wouldn’t even think of building new nuclear plants to smelt aluminium if they were not confident they could sell it on the world market cheaper than other producers. This demonstrates Russia’s nuclear power is cheap compared with world prices for power. Nuclear power in Korea is about half the cost of nuclear power in USA. And we are all still sing the monstrous Gen 3, thermal (water moderated) reactors. Russia has also sold two BN800 fast breeder reactors to China and is building two itself. Their BN600 has been running of 28 years. They are now building a BN1200. Jimmy Carter shut down the US IFR for political reasons.

        However, I think you should ask yourself the equivalent question.
        Why isn’t Russia tripping all over itself producing and selling cheap synthetic fuels?” In fact, why aren’t they using it already instead of oil, hmmmm?

        Who’s naive and gullible?

  124. David Springer

    Peter Lang | August 31, 2012 at 7:38 am | Reply

    “1. “expensive,” – Current nuclear is roughly cost competitive with coal.”

    No, it isn’t. It’s 12% more expensive that conventional coal according to US DoE.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source#US_Department_of_Energy_estimates

    “However, we are talking about what can be done over the decades ahead, not what is the situation now. The development of the current generation of nuclear power has been severely constrained by nuclear phobia.”

    Utter dreck. Nuclear power R&D has always been and continues to be first and foremost for military use and the demand for it there has no slackened.

    “Regulatory ratcheting is estimated to have increased the cost by a factor of four to 1990 and I expect it has doubled again since. Al for virtually no benefit. It has not improved safety compared with where we would be now. So there is potential for very significant cost reductions if and when we remove the imposts (to the extent appropriate).”

    Nobody wants one in their backyard and they certainly don’t want one with relaxed safety standards. Things that look safe on paper have a nasty habit of being derailed by wear and tear as they age, by human error, and by greedy operators trying to cut operating costs to fluff up the bottom line. Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and now Fukushima are testaments to the best laid plans of mice and men oft going astray.

    “2. “dangerous,” – The evidence shows clearly that statement is wrong. That is paranoia, not objective statement of the facts. Nuclear is about the safest of all electricity generation”

    Tell that to the residents who once lived and worked near or at Fukushima or Chernobyl. Imagine if those plants had been in Los Angeles or New York City.

    “3. “leaves toxic byproducts that we don’t know how to safely store or destroy.” – That statement is misleading and unwarranted scaremongering. The quantities of used nuclear fuel are miniscule when compared with other technologies and other industries. The materials are contained, unlike the toxic byproducts from other industries. It is already safely stored as evidenced by the fact there have been very few accidents or fatalities in over 50 years and 15,000 reactor years of operation. It is a valuable energy source and should not be disposed of. Why should we require we spend much more money on managing nuclear fuel when we do not enforce sugh requirements on the many other more hazardous chemical products we releas to the environment on a routine basis”

    Yeah right. We read about terrorists targeting coal mines and building dirty bombs out of coal slag all the time. /sarc

    “4. “It also doesn’t generate power in the critical form we need which isn’t electricity but rather combustable liquids and gases.” – so what does and what is the cost? Does it require energy to produce it? Would it be cheaper if it had cheap energy to produce it?”

    Synthetic biology. It will be far less expensive than any other energy source. It can produce drop-in replacement fuel for the transportation fleet and fuel to run the boilers for steam-turbine electrical plants. Before anyone could possibly develop, test, certify, and build next-generation nuclear it will be rendered uncompetitive by cheap synthetic replacements for fossil fuels. Most people don’t understand this and can’t think past ethanol from corn. Think instead of open ponds of brackish water on non-arable land teaming with microbes that produce an oil film that floats on the surface that is easily removed and can be put straight into the fuel tank of oil-burning vehicles. This is what the future of energy production will be. There’s nothing that is even remotely cost-competitive with it all things considered. For any alternative energy one has to look not only at the cost of production but the cost of consumption as well. If electricity was free to produce it still wouldn’t be able to power the transporation fleet because the cost of distribution, cost of production of electric vehicles, and great limitations on the fitness for purpose of electric vehicles are show-stoppers. The smart money, read private sector money, is going into to synthetic biology. Exxon just recently sunk $600 million into a joint venture with a spinoff of the J.Craig Venter Institute which is arguably the leader in synthetic biology.

    • David Springer

      The smart money, read private sector money, is going into to synthetic biology. Exxon just recently sunk $600 million into a joint venture with a spinoff of the J.Craig Venter Institute which is arguably the leader in synthetic biology.

      Oh yea!. That’s what all the renewable energy advocates say too, and have been for at least 20 years. Who’s naive now?

      You quoted one DOE report that says nuclear power in USA is 12% higher than coal. I don’t deny that. I recognise nuclear is too expensive now, as I’ve stated repeatedly. We need to remove the impediments that are making it too expensive.

      But if you use the argument that nuclear is too expensive because it is 12% higher cost than fossil fuels, can you tell me how much more expensive is the synthetic biology fuel you are advocating than current fuel prices (delivered to the consumer)?

      Also, how long could we supply a world of 10 million people consuming energy at the per capita rate the USA currently consumes oil?

      • Springer thinks 12% more expensive is significant? Gasoline prices can rise by that much in a week with barely a ripple.

        When numbers make sense, no need to quibble.

      • Compare to 60 years of unrealized pie-in-the-sky for nuclear energy. It was supposed to be “too cheap to meter”. Guess what, dopey, it’s still being metered and it ain’t too cheap. It ain’t due to regulatory burdens either, nitwit. Russia and China don’t have excessive regulatory burdens and they also don’t have any more nuclear power generation than anywhere else. Nuclear energy is no panacea. It isn’t price competitive at this point in time with NG, coal, hydro, or even wood-burning furnaces and there is nothing in the pipeline that promises to make it competitive.

      • David Springer,

        You claim that algae fuels are a viable option to reduce CO2 emissions but nuclear is not. Those assertions are not supported by the facts..

        Nuclear is already providing about 15% of world electricity and algae is providing no fuel (less than 0.000001%).

        Nuclear is cost competitive for generating electricity in most of the world (by population). Algae fuels are not cost competitive anywhere. In fact, algae fuels are not even close to being viable.

        It seems you have about the most extreme case of advocacy for a cause I’ve come across.

        Compare to 60 years of unrealized pie-in-the-sky for nuclear energy.

        Nuclear is generating 15% of world electricity and doing so cost competitively almost everywhere. If it wasn’t cost competitive the plants would be shut down.

        It was supposed to be “too cheap to meter”. Guess what, dopey, it’s still being metered and it ain’t too cheap.

        I accept people have made statements in the past which were exaggeration and these get frequently repeated by advocates for a cause.

        However, your comment is not a display of objectivity. You haven’t mentioned examples such as the extremists’ claims about algae as a cost competitive replacement for fossil fuels. Nor have you mentioned the extreme calains made by the renewable energy advocates. For example, ever since the 1990’s Professor David Mills and Dr Mark Diesnedorf have been making statements like:
        – solar power is cost competitive with nuclear power now as a baseload generator, if the government would just give us some more money to demonstrate it
        – wind power is cheaper than nuclear and because the wind is always blowing somewhere wind can provide baseload generation.
        Bothe statements are clearly wrong on all counts, yet you don’t mention these and many like them. But you bring up the 1950’s claim by a US admiral that nuclear power would be too cheap to meter. Is that objective? Is that balanced? More important, is it helpful?

        It ain’t due to regulatory burdens either, nitwit.

        I doubt you’d know much about this matter.

        http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter9.html

        Russia and China don’t have excessive regulatory burdens and they also don’t have any more nuclear power generation than anywhere else.

        Wrong! I refuted the point when you raised it earlier on this thread. http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/24/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic/#comment-235432 Do you ignore what you don’t want to hear?

        Nuclear energy is no panacea.

        That’s a strawman argument. Who said it is a panacea. Nothing is a panacea, but nuclear can make a greater contribution than can what you are advocating. You didn’t answer my questions earlier on this thread when I asked how much of global energy could algae provide and at what cost.

        What I’ve been saying, and repeatecly substantiated, is:

        1. nuclear is by far the least cost way to make large cuts to global CO2 emissions
        2. it could be far cheaper if we removed the many impediments to low cost nuclear
        3. in that case it could, potentially, provide power for much of the world by 2060
        4. if cheap, low emissions electricity will substitute for some gas used for heating and some oil used for land transport
        5. If that happens, nuclear could be responsible for cutting global emission by 50% by 2050 (or conceivable more if we really wanted to; see this explanation by Professor Barry Brook here : http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/10/11/tcase3/ )

        It isn’t price competitive at this point in time with NG, coal, hydro, or even wood-burning furnaces and there is nothing in the pipeline that promises to make it competitive.

        No substantiation for that statement, let alone anything authoritative, so I’ll simply dismiss it as the ramblings of a closed minded, ideologue

        In summary, nuclear is nowhere near as cheap as it could and should be. However, it is cost competitive in most markets. Importantly it has the capacity to provide much of the worlds energy needs (as explained here: http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/10/11/tcase3/ and also by David Mackay). The cost of nuclear can be reduced enormously as explained in other comments in this and other threads

        Conversely, algae is not a viable option. It is totally unproven commercially. And even if a few small demonstration plants are developed, its potential is tiny compared with what the world needs now and will need this century.

  125. Email from Ernie Agee:

    Judy, – I am attaching some comments, in response to
    some of the criticism received on our paper. Also, we are grateful for
    the many positive comments and emails received, which are encouraging.
    Feel free to post the attached on your blog. Ernie

    Rebuttal to some Blogosphere Comments on the CO2 Sequestration paper by Agee, Orton and Rogers
    1. Folks working in the Antarctic have commented that 6 months is a more likely working window than the 12 months used in the calculations. (Ok, double the de-sublimation units.)
    2. CO2 snow can be compacted into the landfills, and not simply placed in storage as loose snow. 3. Once CO2 has been formed at 133K, it can be maintained in storage at 195K. 4. Please note that 1200MW turbines are NOT being proposed (e.g.400 x 3MW wind farms). 5. Refrigeration units could be placed in a series to allow continuous discharge of CO2 snow.
    6. Energy costs can be engineered down, and efficiency engineered up (above 20%). The concept is scientifically sound, and as stated, the engineering details were not provided.
    7. Excess heat generated can be used to support more controlled environment facilities.
    8. How does the CO2 get to the Antarctic? The same way it does now, and probably more so, as
    a CO2 hole is created.
    9. Steel becomes brittle at -130C (143K) and iron at -196C (77K). Again this is an engineering problem, and an appropriate alloy could be used.
    10. Too expensive..! Compare the cost to the economic losses with continued global warming.
    11. Confusion between 1B tons of Carbon and 1B tons of CO2 has been clarified in the galley proof.
    12. A prototype facility should be planned and constructed in Antarctica asap. Given that the top 5
    oil companies in the USA made $137B last year, it would be appropriate that they finance the effort.

    • “12. A prototype facility should be planned and constructed in Antarctica asap. Given that the top 5 oil companies in the USA made $137B last year, it would be appropriate that they finance the effort.”

      I see. So money from “big oil” is okay so long as the use has a green stamp of approval on it. You’re a real piece of work. Pay for it your damn self.

    • Please replace ‘modest’ with the word ludicrous, just for the sake of accuracy regarding this posting.

    • Mark B (number 2)

      Thanks Ernie for replying to the criticism. Some of my own comments were to harsh, and I apologize for those.
      However, I can still see some snags:
      For instance if we are only working in the 6 warmer months, the temperature will be around 250K. Now the carbon dioxide snow will be at 133K. A temperature difference of 117 degrees. Just imagine trying to compress normal snow in an environment with an air temperature of 117 C (not F), and then trying to burying it in landfills. My guess is that it would melt/evaporate before you could do it.

    • Ernie Agee,

      Thank you for posting your response here. But I must say, I am very disappointed.

      I suggest this response discredits you and your team. I’d suggest you should have had some engineers review your proposal. It is a ridiculous proposal. What’s more, it helps to further discredits CAGW alarmists.

      1. Folks working in the Antarctic have commented that 6 months is a more likely working window than the 12 months used in the calculations. (Ok, double the de-sublimation units.)

      And triple or quadruple the cost. Instead of $2,400/t CO2 sequestered (assuming no leaks, ever), the cost would be $7,000 to $10,000/t CO2 sequestered. Compared with potentially <$0 – $70/t CO2 abated using nuclear power. Agee’s proposal is the sort of irrational nonsense that CAGW alarmists are advocating. Surely it’s time to ignore everything the CAGW alarmists say.

      2. CO2 snow can be compacted into the landfills, and not simply placed in storage as loose snow.

      How? At what cost?

      3. Once CO2 has been formed at 133K, it can be maintained in storage at 195K.

      How? For how long? For 100 years? For 1000 years? How long will the disposal site remain unaffected by erosion from the high winds. A week in winter? How will you protect it for 100 or 1000 years? What will be the energy demand for the refrigeration systems? What will be the operation and maintenance cost? Without doing any number crunching I expect the numbers above $10,000 t CO2 should be increased by a factor of 100 – say $1 million/tonne CO2 abated.

      Without the slightest thought to the cost of such an idea, the professor of climate change wants money for his idea. There is no end to these guys.

      4. Please note that 1200MW turbines are NOT being proposed (e.g.400 x 3MW wind farms).

      Well that’s one improvement to the concept.

      5. Refrigeration units could be placed in a series to allow continuous discharge of CO2 snow.

      The design assumes that all the CO2 from a 100 m cube of air is frozen and removed from all that air every 10 s, 24/7/365 for the 5 year life of each deposition plant. What is the design for a plant that would work? What is the cost per tonne of CO2 removed?

      6. Energy costs can be engineered down, and efficiency engineered up (above 20%). The concept is scientifically sound, and as stated, the engineering details were not provided.

      If that was true, I wonder why commercial practice demonstrates that the efficiency in the real world, is about 6% – and that’s not in a 100 m cube!

      7. Excess heat generated can be used to support more controlled environment facilities.

      So what? What difference does that make to the cost per tonne CO2 sequestered?

      9. Steel becomes brittle at -130C (143K) and iron at -196C (77K). Again this is an engineering problem, and an appropriate alloy could be used.

      How much would that add to the cost? Double it? Triple it?

      10. Too expensive..! Compare the cost to the economic losses with continued global warming.

      Done! See my comments up thread and in the email I sent you. In that email I provided my detailed line by line comments (some of it is posted on this thread). I also compared the cost of sequestration with the damage cost estimates in Nordhaus “A Question of Balancehttp://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf

      11. Confusion between 1B tons of Carbon and 1B tons of CO2 has been clarified in the galley proof.

      Good. But a surprisingly simple mistake by a professor. And no sign of admissions of the mistake. Thiis further diminishes my trust in climate scientists.

      12. A prototype facility should be planned and constructed in Antarctica asap. Given that the top 5 oil companies in the USA made $137B last year, it would be appropriate that they finance the effort.

      Reveals an ideological agenda

      This response discredits Professor Agee and his team. It is clearly one of the most ridiculous proposals for reducing CO2 emissions ever put forward. And to think he wants money for a demonstration shows how irrational are the Green extremists. Many people realise that the high cost, useless mitigation policies proposed by Greenies – like wind and solar power and CO2 taxes – are irrational. But then a climate researcher makes a proposal like this and expects to be funded. No wonder we’ve wasted over 100 billion on irrational climate control policies so far and the rate of waste is escalating.

  126. Hey there are using WordPress for your blog platform?

    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and
    create my own. Do you require any html coding expertise to make your own blog?
    Any help would be really appreciated!

  127. Driving time is a major factor behind the rapid rise in the space of three months.

    Gareth Kloet, the site’s head of %Anchor-Text%, and he backed The Mail on Sunday’s efforts to expose the scandal.
    The %anchor-text% industry is heading for
    the most almighty crash and much of it looks to establish if there are there any mandatory excesses for accidental or malicious damage.

  128. The fraud in County Durham, where the customer has
    to pay a certain amount towards any accident costs, can lower the premium and vice versa.
    You need %Anchor-Text% because its mandatory its the
    law.
    motor trade insurance :: http://www.uforadio.
    com.tw/ :: motor trade insurance best broker for trade insurance

  129. I’m now not sure the place you are getting your info, however good topic.
    I must spend some time studying much more or working out more.
    Thank you for wonderful info I was looking for this info for my mission.

  130. Cet аrticle est remƿli de bon sens