Friday, January 12, 2007

Why is everyone so insufferably smug about global warming?
Every time you turn on Sky news it is a head talking about those hard steps of less air travel we have to take and the newscasters grin happily and slap each other on the back. Everyone suggesting changes to our use of carbon should stop sucking each others dicks for a moment and recognise
1. Wearing a jumper is pissing on a fire it will not stop global warming.
2. Putting solar panels onto your house is you trying to make yourself feel better for those weekend flights to cities with trendy wine bars.
3. Yes Fusion power and sea energy would solve the problem but so would magic pixie dust. As a general rule only solutions that involve things that actually exist tend to be realistic.

Why is everyone so happy about the idea of returning to 1950’s Ireland? This is a world with no foreign travel or even foreign food. Where the local food you do get is worse quality and more infested. Where you have to bicycle to work if you have a job. There are less jobs because things cost more so people buy less.
Changes will have to be made. We live in a society based on energy consumption. Energy which is rapidly running out and which is negatively affecting the planet. I am not disputing this just wondering why this fact gives us a warm fuzzy feeling inside rather then the abject terror it should illicit.

1 comment:

Erich J. Knight said...

After reading your site,I thought your readers would be interested in looking at these energy technologies.

Aneutronic Fusion: Here I am not talking about the big science ITER project taking thirty years, but the several small alternative plasma fusion efforts.

There are three companies pursuing hydrogen-boron plasma toroid fusion, Paul Koloc, Prometheus II, Eric Lerner, Focus Fusion and Clint Seward of Electron Power Systems

Vincent Page (a technology officer at GE!!) gave a presentation at the 05 6th symposium on current trends in international fusion research , which high lights the need to fully fund three different approaches to P-B11 fusion

He quotes costs and time to development of P-B11 Fusion as tens of million $, and years verses the many decades and ten Billion plus $ projected for ITER and other "Big" science efforts

"for larger plant sizes
Time to small-scale Cost to achieve net if the small-scale
Concept Description net energy production energy concept works:
Koloc Spherical Plasma: 10 years(time frame), $25 million (cost), 80%(chance of success)
Field Reversed Configuration: 8 years $75 million 60%
(Eric Lerner)Plasma Focus: 6 years $18 million 80%"

Here are the links:

A resent DOD review of EPS technology reads as follows:

"MIT considers these plasmas a revolutionary breakthrough, with Delphi's
chief scientist and senior manager for advanced technology both agreeing
that EST/SPT physics are repeatable and theoretically explainable. MIT and
EPS have jointly authored numerous professional papers describing their
work. (Delphi is a $33B company, the spun off Delco Division of General
"Cost: no cost data available. The complexity of reliable mini-toroid
formation and acceleration with compact, relatively low-cost equipment
remains to be determined. Yet the fact that the EPS/MIT STTR work this
technology has attracted interest from Delphi is very significant, as the
automotive electronics industry is considered to be extremely demanding of
functionality per dollar and pound (e.g., mil-spec performance at
Wal-Mart-class 'commodity' prices)."

Looks like Eric Lerner is moving down the road!!

U.S., Chilean Labs to Collaborate on Testing Scientific Feasibility of Focus Fusion

The learning curve is so steep now, and with the resources of the online community, I'm sure we can rally greater support to solve this paramount problem of our time. I hold no truck with those who argue that big business or government are suppressing these technologies. It is only our complacency and comfort that blind us from pushing our leaders toward clean energy.

However, short of a Energy "silver bullet" like fusion , Here is a fully DOABLE technology

Terra Preta Soils Technology:

Man has been controlling the carbon cycle , and there for the weather, since the invention of agriculture, all be it was as unintentional, as our current airliner contrails are in affecting global dimming. This unintentional warm stability in climate , has over 10,000 years, allowed us to develop to the point that now we know what we did and that now we are over doing it.

The prehistoric and historic records gives a logical thrust for soil carbon sequestration.
I wonder what the soil biome carbon concentration was REALLY like before the cutting and charcoaling of the virgin east coast forest, my guess is that now we see a severely diminished community, and that only very recent Ag practices like no-till have started helped to rebuild it. It makes implementing Terra Preta soil technology like an act of penitence, returning misplaced carbon.

Carbon Negative Bio fuels and Fertility Too

This new soil technology speaks to so many different interests and disciplines that it has not been embraced fully by any. I'm sure you will see both the potential of this system and the convergence needed for it's implementation.

The integrated energy strategy offered by Charcoal based Terra Preta Soil technology may
provide the only path to sustain our agricultural and fossil fueled power
structure without climate degradation, other than nuclear power.

I feel we should push for this Terra Preta Soils CO2 sequestration strategy as not only a global warming remedy for the first world, but to solve fertilization and transport issues for the third world. This information needs to be shared with all the state agricultural programs.

The economics look good, and truly great if we had CO2 cap & trade in place:

'Terra Preta' soils I feel has great possibilities to revolutionize sustainable agriculture into a major CO2 sequestration strategy.
I thought, I first read about these soils in " Botany of Desire " or "Guns,Germs,&Steel" but I could not find reference to them. I finely found the reference in "1491", but I did not realize their potential .

Nature article: Putting the carbon backBlack is the new green:

Here's the Cornell page for an over view:

This Earth Science Forum thread on these soils contains further links, and has been viewed by 13,000 folks. ( I post everything I find on Amazon Dark Soils, ADS here):

The Georgia Inst. of Technology page:

There is an ecology going on in these soils that is not completely understood, and if replicated and applied at scale would have multiple benefits for farmers and environmentalist.

Terra Preta creates a terrestrial carbon reef at a microscopic level. These nanoscale structures provide safe haven to the microbes and fungus that facilitate fertile soil creation, while sequestering carbon for many hundred if not thousands of years. The combination of these two forms of sequestration would also increase the growth rate and natural sequestration effort of growing plants.

This is the first I've seen of a pyrolysis process like Dr. Danny Day's at GIT, on the market:

As Dr. Lehmann at Cornell points out, "systems such as Day's are the only way to make a fuel that is actually carbon negative". and that " a strategy combining biochar with biofuels could ultimately offset 9.5 billion tons of carbon per year-an amount equal to the total current fossil fuel emissions! "

The upcoming International Agrichar Initiative (IAI) conference to be held at Terrigal, NSW, Australia in 2007. ( )
If pre-Columbian Indians could produce these soils up to 6 feet deep over 20% of the Amazon basin it seems that our energy and agricultural industries could also product them at scale.

Harnessing the work of this vast number of microbes and fungi changes the whole equation of EROEI for food and Bio fuels. I see this as the only sustainable agricultural strategy if we no longer have cheap fossil fuels for fertilizer.

We need this super community of wee beasties to work in concert with us by populating them into their proper Soil horizon Carbon Condos.

I feel Terra Preta soil technology is the greatest of Ironies.
That is: an invention of pre-Columbian American culture, destroyed by western disease, may well be the savior of industrial western society.


Erich J. Knight
Shenandoah Gardens
E-mail: shengar at
(540) 289-9750