The problem with capturing CO2 with photosynthetic biomass is that most of the carbon is not removed long-term from the atmosphere. When the plants die and decay or otherwise oxidize the reverse reaction converts the carbohydrates back to CO2 and water. Only by changing the sustained plant matter can one significantly affect atmospheric CO2 levels. This would involve, for example, increasing or decreasing total forested land.
If we're to do something about increasing CO2 levels, it had better be something effective, is the main point. Trying to bury what might amount to 0.1 percent of CO2 released to the atmosphere daily is hardly sensible policy. On the other hand, as I suggested previously, reforestation would be.
And too, there may be other gases we are emitting that are far more harmful than the rather benign and natural CO2.
One thing we should all ask ourselves, as engineers who are supposed to understand these things, is whether this CO2 content in the atmosphere is totally open-loop, like your fish tank analogy, or whether it has built-in feedback loops. If the ecosystem is open-loop, then how is it that greenhouse operators know to inject CO2 in the greenhouse, to increase plant growth? If plant growth is enhanced by CO2, why doesn't that hint that just maybe that same mechanism should operate in the larger ecosystem?
I'm all for being prudent. Increasing the effciency of our machines is just plain good policy. Reforestation is also good policy. Can't be harmful, it beautifies the planet again, and it would tackle the whole CO2 regulation mechanism. Assuming of course that CO2 really is the cause of global warming, as opposed to the outcome of global warming. Point it, it would be a benign change with all good side effects.
Thanks for reference. It demonstates how amazing the current more or less steady state condition of our planet has been for more than thousands of years. Its an amazing balance, the dynamics of which we understand poorly. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Carbon_Dioxide_400kyr.png You can't deny CO2 concentrations are increasing.
So we have a system that to oversimplify is like a recirculating fish tank water filtering system in your dining room. It has maintained a balance for many, many cycles.
Now add 3% of the recirculation rate per hour, and then do it 20 or 100 times over. Your going to finsh up with a real mess on your dining room floor.
I'm worried for your and my kids and grandkids and the messed up climate that we are going to leave them in.
"That was news to me. Please provide all the links you have to the sources of that information"
Roger, did you try to look it up? With a search engine? The information has been available for years and years. It seems like the first question would would ask, no? Given that CO2 is produced literally by every living organism on the planet, as well as other non-organic sources such as volcanos, why isn't it imperative that we first obtain that human contribution number, before just "believing" the mantra as if we're in some religious cult? This is not something that regular people can't hope to grasp. Just now, I looked it up again, and came up with many sources. Here's just one:
The "measure of effectiveness" of politicians is how many votes they get at the next election. Period. They don't need to promote sound policies, they need to promote policies that get them elected or re-elected. In a democracy, it's up to people to educate themselves and refrain from being gullible.
One thing the alarmists like to quote is how much of an increase in CO2 emissions humans have generated, since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Sounds like a scary number. But we're supposed to be engineers here, aren't we? If you pour a glass of water into the ocean, you don't expect a huge change in sea level. If you DOUBLE the amount you pour into the ocean, to two glasses of water, would that be cause for alarm?
The fact that the comments have moved on to "peddle-powered TV sets" proves exactly what you are saying. The bigger picture is that by recycling plastic here in the U.S., we have created the world's most toxic mess in the villages and homes of many chinese and indonesian people. The drive to recycle has created thousands of small business opportunities that ultimately polute their local environment beyond reasonable hope of restoration. Closing these businesses actually makes the matter worse, because the demand for recycling continues to cause new businesses to open elsewhere, and spreads the polution even further. Taking the liberal american viewpoint that putting that plastic water bottle into the blue barrel is my responsibility does not even scratch the surface of the technical problem involved in safely eliminating that plastic from our world.
Sure, Junko, but 6 billion individual do-gooders would make a huge difference. I think the most important thing is to educate people about responsible behavior, so they not only behave that way themselves, but also demand it from those they do business with. As opposed to learning how to articulate nice-sounding rhetoric or demand that others take the responsibility for what we're too lazy or stupid to do ourselves.
I totally agree that individuals, just like governments, can squander resources on pointless causes, if there's no education process. One example would be sequestration and burying of man-made CO2. This is a ridiculous waste of time and treasure, which seems designed to make people feel like "they are doing something," even if it makes no sense. There's way too much of this "scientists say ..." stuff going on, as if we are genetically incapable of grasping these concepts and must just "believe." Sounds like some religious cult.
You say of CO2 "So, in the Internet era, information like this is easily available, and from multiple sources. The answer is about 3 percent. " That was news to me. Please provide all the links you have to the sources of that information.
Replay available now: A handful of emerging network technologies are competing to be the preferred wide-area connection for the Internet of Things. All claim lower costs and power use than cellular but none have wide deployment yet. Listen in as proponents of leading contenders make their case to be the metro or national IoT network of the future. Rick Merritt, EE Times Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, moderators this discussion. Join in and ask his guests questions.