Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Partial global warming roundup

Way too much stuff happening, but here's a few interesting items:

Ethanol: President Bush says "America is addicted to oil" and to his limited credit, doesn't just say addicted to foreign oil. He adds that we should work on clean coal, and on ethanol from wood chips, with a goal "to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years." Good luck with that.

Mike at Same Facts puts it together, saying that even ethanol that produces less energy than the energy inputs used to create it can still reduce greenhouse emissions "if the CO2 from burning the coal [used in ethanol production] were captured and sequestered." My translation: under most real world circumstances over the next 20-50 years, ethanol hasn't yet been shown to be a winner. Jonathan says the key is that the carbon sequestration is done effectively, but it also has to be done, period (which we're mostly not doing). I'm not saying that ethanol shouldn't be pursued, but we have to recognize some limits for how effective it will be.

Economics: via Mustelid, John Fleck writes about whether the economic forecasts used to predict CO2 emissions are accurate. Short answer from the comments: there may be some bad assumptions that don't affect "business as usual" forecasts but do affect potential impacts and mitigation, if we ever attempt to save ourselves. Science marches on. I especially liked Dano's tangential comment, "our economy depends on the ecosystem as it currently exists providing [benefits]". That answers the rightwing bleating "some warming good, more warming better!" argument that we'll be hearing more of.

Carbon cycle: The Oil Drum has another great post with nifty graphs and pictures that summarizes what's happening with CO2. Not necessary for the expert, maybe, but anyone starting at a lower knowledge level, like me, will find it very helpful.

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