Corralling carbons: long-term solutions
Counting and measuring carbon, although a daunting and remarkably puzzling undertaking, is a fundamental skill an increasing number of people will need to garner in the effort to understand and mitigate the effect of greenhouse gases and global warming. Especially so, since the world population continues growing by quantum measures and all of those folks are going to need survival basics such as heat and refrigeration, plus multitudes of electrical extras, such as mobile phone and computer power, broadband Internet capacity, etc.
We applaud the development of alternative energies but add this caveat for all supporters: it will be an extraordinary feat if the percentage of alternative energy powering the world’s grid comes anywere close to reaching five percent of supply in the next 20 years.
That brings us to the subject of power plants. Here are some power plant facts, according to the PowerPlantCCS website:
“There are over 50,000 power plants in the world. These power plants constitute the single largest emitting industry for CO2 emissions.”
One solution for solving this problem: carbon capture and sequestration, one of the reasons the PowerPlantCCS website was launched. The site provides a report, starting with CO2:
“Carbon dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas after water vapor. Burning fossil fuels, land clearing and other activities of modern industrial society have caused the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to climb from about 280 parts per million to 380 parts per million, causing warming and other climate changes.
“From 1991 to 2000, CO2 accounted for 82% of total U.S. GHG emissions in terms of its global warming potential. About 96% of these carbon emissions resulted from the combustion of fossil fuels for energy. With the increased emphasis on GHG abatement, it is imperative that these power plants undertake serious efforts to cut down their CO2 emitted and sequester it.”
Now comes an argument for carbon capture:
“Energy efficiency improvements and switching from fossil fuels toward less carbon intensive energy sources were once seen as the only realistic means of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. In recent years, however, analysts and policymakers have begun to recognize the potential for a third option—the development of “end-of-pipe” technologies that would allow for the continued utilization of fossil fuel energy sources while significantly reducing carbon emissions. “
Whether pro or con, there are numerous developments in this field — some that appear to provide plausible solutions that may help abate global warming. To help with the development of technologies like these, one of the best tyools available will be active involvement from a population that understand far more about global warming than it presently does.
Glenn Meyers is a business journalist, former publisher, and documentary producer of social responsibility content. Founder of Green Streets, LLC and the EILI Network, Glenn's goal is to reach business and individuals with important content -- using engaging methodologies and mediums -- in building a new social network.