Democrats & Liberals Archives

Green Concrete

For years I have been skeptical of the whole idea of “clean coal.” Capturing the carbon from coal-fired plants and sequestrating it in the ground or in the ocean seemed expensive and foolhardy. But now I am a believer. I just read about a process for sequestrating the CO2 in the most unbelievable place: concrete!

Making concrete is the third largest source of CO2. According to the EPA making a ton of concrete makes about a ton of CO2. Terrible. But an outfit called Calera analyzed the concrete making process: Basically, concrete is comprised of rock and cement; the cement is obtained by removing the CO2 from limestone. They asked themselves: "Why not do the reverse: take CO2 in the air, combine it with water to produce carbonic acid and then a carbonate compound - cement. (A good article about the process appears in the Scientific American).

And this is what Calera did. Brent Constantz, founder of Calera says:

"We are turning CO2 into carbonic acid and then making carbonate. All we need is water and pollution."

We have both. Now we have a new way of making concrete. Instead of polluting concrete we have a green concrete, one that absorbs CO2. Instead of raving against concrete roads, we should convert as many roads as possible to green concrete. Instead of many home-building materials, we should use strong and insulating green concrete.

Calera's process may also be used to modify current production of concrete to reduce CO2 emissions

Green concrete has changed my mind about CO2 storage and sequestration. The recently House-passed climate bill favors it and I think the Senate should support it, as well.

I see a lot of green concrete in our future!

Posted by Paul Siegel at June 29, 2009 8:17 PM
Comments
Comment #283774

Maybe this means that global warming will turn out to be as much a non-problem as the population bomb, which was supposed to kill many of by now.

I cannot believe it could be that simple, but I am hopeful. Thanks for the link.

Posted by: Christine at June 29, 2009 8:36 PM
Comment #283775

Sure sounds like a great idea, but as the article notes getting this product accepted in the market may be a long route. Civil engineers are conservative for a reason. They want durability and performance from their materials. Cement has been around since Roman times. Standards are slow to change. We currently have some issues with foreign cements, but the same standards are applied to them as US producers.

I note that no performance qualities were reported. Does this stuff make good quality concrete?

Locally, in the 40’s and 50’s waste oil was used to stabilize soils for roadways. Now they call it toxic. The EPA currently won’t let you even dump excess or washed concrete on the ground. Never mind that tons of concrete is placed on the ground in the form of paving and foundations, and cement is used to stabilize soils.

Posted by: gergle at June 29, 2009 8:43 PM
Comment #283779

Not being a scientist, I have no idea if this would work or not or if this company is on the up and up, but at least some people suspect this might be hogwash.

Who’s right? Don’t ask me, but I thought it would only be right to mention what else is out there.

Posted by: Paul at June 29, 2009 11:45 PM
Comment #283782

“a non-problem as the population bomb, which was supposed to kill many of by now.”
Well, actually it has. Tens of Thousands are starving to death even as you write your smug little letter from your food-filled house while sitting on your overweight American butt. And they are multiplying like rats even so. The slums of India, of Brazil, the barrios of Venezuela (a formerly prosperous nation), the teeming millions and billions of Pakistan and China, eating, polluting, and breeding…. The oceans are rapidly losing their fish populations, the rainforests are being destroyed, the soil is being depleted or filled with chemicals. Just because this didn’t happen in 30 minutes between commercials doesn’t mean that it is not happening. The population of the planet was about 2 1/2 billion when I was in High School, it’s over 6 billion now. You think the “population bomb” is a myth? Open your eyes and look!

Posted by: capnmike at June 30, 2009 11:35 AM
Comment #283784

So a private company is working towards “green” solutions? Even without the earth saving holy govt climate bill to punish people and business into compliance?
Thats impossible!

Posted by: kctim at June 30, 2009 12:37 PM
Comment #283786

Yes, Christine, the population explosion has resulted in famine, war, and horrible crimes against humanity. It is an ongoing tale as our political, production, and distribution systems fail to provide for 10’s of millions of people in the world today, resulting in their deaths that would otherwise not have occurred as a result of demand exceeding the supply of humanitarian government, production, and the largest factor, distribution capacities.

The human race has always had to face shortages for a percentage of its population. But, it wasn’t until the rise of philosophy in Ancient Greece and Egypt, that the expectation and mandate to civilization to provide life’s necessities to the population even became a consideration.

Our civilized systems have never been fully able to meet the demand for life’s necessities, though the potential to do so was present at the turn of the industrial era. That potential is not even possible today, due to the growth rate in population, which now exceeds the cost effective distribution capacities of our civilizations, even if charity were sufficient to meet those needs, which it is not.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 30, 2009 1:09 PM
Comment #283787

The airborn particulate pollution in the immediate areas surrounding concrete production facilities is still an issue that needs to be addressed for many such facilities. Because concrete is used most in densely populated areas, and because the set time of mixed concrete is short, it is inescapable that concrete production facilities must be located in the densely populated areas.

It would be prudent for the House to pass air quality standards requiring ALL concrete production facilities to capture all their air born particulates. And we should, long ago, have legislated that all materials capable of producing dust, be banned from open bed truck trailers, and required to be hauled in closed trailers, instead.

Much of the raw material for making concrete (sand and stone aggregate) are shipped in open bed trailers where wind from vehicular motion disperses silicates into the air on our highways. Lime and portland cement, key ingredients, are shipped in covered containers as they are particularly toxic to mammalian lungs. We should go the last yard in insuring concrete production is air healthy from the mining pits to the mixing the facilities.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 30, 2009 1:19 PM
Comment #283796

Captain

Yes, parts of the world are overpopulated. But if you read the literature a generation ago about population (Such as the infamous “Population Bomb”) you would expect much worse. Populations in the industrial world have stabilized and are even dropping. Even in most developing countries, rates of population growth have declined. It is just not the catastrophe predicted. Open your own eyes about this.

My intent in making the population bomb comparison was not to say population is not a problem, but I hope that climate change becomes the kind of problem we can manage.

Most famine today is caused by local inefficiencies and corruptions. You mention Venezuela. It is just poorly run. That accounts for its decline. We could point to Zimbabwe as one of the worst cases, where corrupt and stupid leadership has destroyed the productive capacity of a once rich agricultural country.

I would personally opt for fewer people worldwide, but I am not willing to impose this on other people at this time. Do you propose more draconian measures? Your statement that “…they are multiplying like rats … eating polluting and breeding” implies that you advocate stern measures against them in order to find a final solution to the problem. Where have we heard such language before?

Posted by: Christine at June 30, 2009 8:02 PM
Comment #283800

Christine, it would have been vastly worse IF Deng Xioping had not installed the one child policy in China in 1979. BTW, China has extended it, yet again, from 2006 to, or thru, 2010. Thankfully, for humanity’s sake.

Starvation is a horrible way for children and the elderly to die.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 30, 2009 8:23 PM
Comment #283803

Christine, and btw, India installed a modest family planning policy back in the 1950’s, strictly voluntary with later financial inducements. It has been an abysmal failure in India compared to China’s record of actually curtailing previous growth projections.

One thing many who have served in the military learn is that some tasks can only be accomplished efficiently if they are sponsored by an authoritarian regimen, and no democratic choice, with severe consequences attending. Our own military observes this principle, as it has been observed by George Washington and every president in America since.

It always amazes me when folks look down their nose at China’s one child policy due to its authoritarian enforcement, and blithely turn their eyes to the entire military-industrial complex of an authoritarian nature right here in the U.S. practiced since the nation’s founding, and perpetuated and approved of to this very day by both our government, consciously, and the general public, a bit less so.

China’s policy is working. For the same reason our military works, effectively and efficiently, when private civilian contractors aren’t screwing up the regimen. (e.g. Haliburton, BlackWater, and KBR.)

What good is freedom if one dies of starvation, crime, or indifference by one’s own society at the ripe age of 5 years old?

There is a balance to things that work well. China’s economic prospects for its population are vastly improving very much as a result of China’s one child policy. Those who believe they can have total freedom of choice without enormous attendant costs, are not wise in the way and manner of life in human civilizations and other living systems.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 30, 2009 8:43 PM
Comment #283805

David

Good for Deng. His policies achieved almost as much as the EU (0.11%). The CIA factbook says that the Chinese population is growing at only 0.655%. It is lower than America’s at 0.975% but higher than Europe and their former communists colleages, the Russians, have “achieved” managed NEGATIVE 0.467%.

So for humanities sake, let’s thank the Europeans, Russians, Japanese etc for defusing the bomb.

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2002rank.html

Posted by: Christine at June 30, 2009 8:50 PM
Comment #283807

Statistically speaking, China’s reductions amount to all the other nation’s reductions, in raw numbers, added together. One cannot ignore the math of the situation. China has 1.2 billion people.

Again, your sarcasm is weird. Do you think you could have reduced China’s population growth rate better than Deng and those who followed him with a more egalitarian approach? Get real!

Getting folks to not procreate at will is no easy thing. Think about it. Getting more than 3/4 of a billion people to not procreate the way the Indians have, in just a couple decades, is truly remarkable. And a great thing for Americans.

Could you imagine what we would be paying for oil and gas if China’s population were 2 billion today? Would Taiwan still be independent of China? Could we have avoided a nuclear war with China if they had allowed their population to grow to two billion by this decade, forcing expansionist policy to house and feed 2 billion people to prevent another revolution?

Interesting questions to ponder, eh?

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 30, 2009 9:11 PM
Comment #283813

David

Deng’s draconian policy did the job. That is not sarcasm. I doubt China would have developed as it did had they not reduced their dependency ratio so drastically.

It is also true that billions of people in Europe, Japan, Russia and North America have also contributed to the flattening of population growth. Population growth is declining almost all over the world.

BTW - an interesting case is Iran. The Mullahs tried to keep population rising, yet the birth rate is dropping like a stone. The Iranian growth rate is now below ours in the U.S. These things are hard to predict.

Posted by: Christine at June 30, 2009 10:36 PM
Comment #283817

David,

What exactly do you propose? Putting domes over any and all construction facilities? How is one going to control the dust created when erecting these domes? Construction is dusty and dirty work. Yes, controlling dust is important, but it is foolish to believe that one can completely contain it in a cost efficient manner. I can’t wait to see high rise domes. Of course, by containing it, you intensify the hazard to the workers, unless you also propose all construction workers wear self contained breathing apparatus. That’ll be wonderful in 100 degree weather.

Great idea, just not very real world.

Posted by: gergle at July 1, 2009 12:16 AM
Comment #283818

Christine,

Population growth is declining almost all over the world.

Ummm…..nope.

Posted by: gergle at July 1, 2009 12:18 AM
Comment #283821

gergle, construction facilities aren’t the problem, until the construction has reached the end of its life, and they demolish it.

The problem is the hauling in open bed trucks and the mixing plants for the liquid concrete in densely populated areas. And yes, there are very real world solutions for these: cover the open beds against wind blow on the highways, and capture filters on the mixing units at the mixing plants.

Mining and quarrying of aggregate are not usually conducted in populated areas, and therefore don’t pose a significant health risk to densely or sparsely populated areas.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 1, 2009 3:41 AM
Comment #283822

Christine said: “It is also true that billions of people in Europe, Japan, Russia and North America have also contributed to the flattening of population growth.”

Well, let’s look at some actual real world data shall we:

China (1.338 billion people)
India (1.156 billion people)
——————————————
Total 2.494 billion people


Now for the countries you mention:
Japan (.127 billion)
N. America (.451 billion)
Russia (.140 billion)
Europe (.830 billion)
————————————
Total (1.58 billion)

Which means: the greatest contributor nations to global population growth numbers will be coming from China and India. Yes, the rates of growth are dropping. But, the population numbers will increase as far as can be reasonably projected (2050). America’s population growth continues to increase dramatically, NOT because of fertility rate alone, but, because of births and immigration.

World population was at 3 billion in the late 1950’s, and is approaching 7 billion today. Projections place growth at over 9 billion before 2045, only 36 years from today. In 2050, the U.S. census bureau estimates, despite falling growth rates, more than 40 million people will be added to the world population annually.

But while China’s Total Fertility Rate has fallen sharply to about 2.4 in 1990 and no doubt lower today, India, with voluntary family planning since the 1950’s still has a TFR above 4 children per woman in 1990 and likely, little changed today.

That is the difference between the Chinese authoritarian approach and India’s more democratic approach. And its an enormous difference when calculating world population growth and diminishing resources to support those populations.

To make matters far worse, wealth concentration is inverse to population growth. The more the world’s population grows, the fewer persons will own more of the world’s wealth. This inverse relationship is already spelling war, famine, lethal poverty, economic crises, and / or falling real wages in some of the faster growing population areas of the world like S. America, Africa, India and the U.S.. Yes, even in the U.S. this inverse relationship has been seen since the 1970’s.

Ergo, it is prudent for the world’s nations to address the dire trends and consequences of ever increasing the world’s population density, for purely humanitarian reasons. And make no mistake, China’s one-child policy is addressing this inverse relationship in China, resulting in greater wealth sharing per capita and quality of life improvements resulting from that, while significantly slowing their population growth rate from over 4 to above 2.4 in very short period of time for demographic change.

The Chinese government is likely not maintaining the one-child policy for humanitarian reasons, but political instead. But, it is having a very humanitarian outcome, nonetheless. Which prudence and responsibility usually engender, or what Adam Smith referred to as ‘enlightened self-interest’.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 1, 2009 4:39 AM
Comment #283823

Christine, I think you left out the word, rate, when saying: “Population growth is declining almost all over the world.”

The rate of growth is dropping. The population is still growing as I pointed out above. And that is going to mean a huge lot more Green Concrete in the future. Two billion additional people will mean a whole lot more demand for everything that is in demand right now. .

My data sources btw are:

US Census Bureau

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

TheFreeLibrary.com

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 1, 2009 4:47 AM
Comment #283831

Green concrete sounds like a great idea until you look at the cost. I couldn’t help but notice you didn’t mention the cost, nor did Calera on their web site, nor did SciAm in the article. That’s because, although the process seems like a god-send, it’s cost-prohibitive in anything remotely resembling a free market.

I predict that in 20-25 years, we’re going to look back at the climatic stats for the previous 100 years and realize that although we were in a warming cycle during the current time period, the cycle will have reversed without any substantive human effort.

At current prices, by the way, concrete is cost-prohibitive as an alternative to wood. I should know because here in the tornado-prone midwest USA, when I was researching building a house, I looked into building the exterior entirely out of (ordinary, non-green) concrete. I’m just not rich enough to afford it.

Posted by: Greg House at July 1, 2009 3:18 PM
Comment #283833

Greg,
Unless you have some magical way of stopping CO2 from being a greenhouse gas, your prediction is fantasy.

Posted by: phx8 at July 1, 2009 4:56 PM
Comment #283834

Greg, in 1958 we had less than 320 parts per million co2 in the atmosphere, now it’s over 390 parts per million co2. This has been trending up for a long time. If you think global warming is going away by itself, than you’re in disagreement with most all the scientists that have studied the problem.

Posted by: Mike the Cynic at July 1, 2009 4:56 PM
Comment #283838

Greg House-
There’s been no warming cycle anything like this since the last ice age. We are not experiencing normal climate shifts for our current interglacial period, but a substantial spike in temperatures. Scientists have proven that the only reasonable source for the CO2 is manmade activity.

And no, it doesn’t take that much to alter climate. Just that trace amount makes the difference between temperatures being subzero all the time, and our warm, habitable planet.

Let’s keep in mind that CO2 represents 1/25 of 1% of the atmosphere. With the disproportionate effect it already has, what’s unreasonable about a substantial increase causing a prfound difference in climate? And given how little there actually is in the environment, how is it impossible that humans couldn’t raise it, especially when we’re putting 27 gigatons of it in the atmosphere every year?

As for Calera being cost prohibitive? The cost argument could be used to argue against every major technological advance in the last hundred years.

As for the economics? People have been saying these things have been too expensive for a long time. And the problem gets worse. And so the solution gets even more expensive. So the question becomes, why are we waiting? The quicker we handle this problem, the less we have to spend cleaning up the mess from it.

The problems that folks claimed would fix themselves haven’t. The arguments for inaction are discredited.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 1, 2009 5:28 PM
Comment #283844

“Scientists have proven that the only reasonable source for the CO2 is man-made activity.”

No, this has not been proven. There is a great deal of circumstantial evidence that shows some correlation, but there is no causal proof. If you think otherwise, provide documentation of the proof. I have yet to see it.

“Unless you have some magical way of stopping CO2 from being a greenhouse gas”

Greenhouse gas is merely a label people have placed on CO2 and a number of others, so I have no power to stop it from being that.

“Greg, in 1958 we had less than 320 parts per million co2 in the atmosphere, now it’s over 390 parts per million co2.”

So, in 51 years the concentration of CO2 has risen by some 22%, but the average temperature worldwide, on any scale has risen but a fraction of a percent. If this was any causal evdence of global warming, the temperature rise should have been much better.

Calera is a hoax. See Paul’s post above.

Posted by: Greg House at July 1, 2009 7:04 PM
Comment #283845

Correction to my previous post:

If this was any causal evidence of global warming, the temperature rise should have been much greater.

Posted by: Greg House at July 1, 2009 7:06 PM
Comment #283846

“The cost argument could be used to argue against every major technological advance in the last hundred years.”

What a ridiculous thing to argue, even for you, Stephen. In fact, nearly all technological advances, ever, had an immediate promise of optimization of utilization of some resource, which could in some way be measured in cost, whether it be energy or time or life.

The ability to sequester carbon is nothing new. Stack scrubbers available for decades capable of removing all chemicals from emissions. The problem has always been that the cost to remove the pollutants exceeded the value of whatever the factory produced. The same is true with so-called “green concrete”.

Posted by: Greg House at July 1, 2009 7:14 PM
Comment #283847

“So the question becomes, why are we waiting?”

And the answer is because even if there was incontrovertible evidence that doing something like this would affect the outcome at all (which there’s not), there’s even less evidence that doing something like this would have enough of an effect to matter.

Posted by: Greg House at July 1, 2009 7:18 PM
Comment #283848

Greg,
You write: “Greenhouse gas is merely a label people have placed on CO2 and a number of others…”

The greenhouse effect is well understood. A greenhouse gas is not merely a ‘label,’ it is a gas which traps heat and causes warming. We talk about CO2 because it is abundant and persistent. There are others. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, but not persistent. Sulfur Dioxide has the opposite effect in the atmosphere, which is why there is measurable cooling when a volcanic eruption introduces it into the atmosphere.

The amount of CO2 introduced by mankind into the atmosphere is measureable. There are man-made carbon isotopes which can be detected in CO2, so there is proof mankind is increasing CO2 in the atmosphere. This increase is measureable.

The evidence indicates humanity is causing most if not all of the global warming which is occurring. Every credible scientific institution in the world agrees with conclusion, regardless of that country’s religion or political system.

Posted by: phx8 at July 1, 2009 7:52 PM
Comment #283854

David & Gergle

I think “population growth is declining” is an accurate use of the language. If you look at the sentence, it says that GROWTH is declining. It doesn’t say populations are declining. IMO it means the same thing as saying the rate of growth is declining, but if you want to add some extra words, it is okay with me.

David

I don’t disagree with you re the importance of China and India. It is just that besides China, Europe, Japan, North America, Australia and even parts of South America are no longer problems either from the population growth point of view.

In fact, if you want to center the problem geographically, you could say that Africa, most of the Middle East and South Asia are still problems. So what do we do?

Re use of language, I would also like to clarify the statement that fewer people own more of the world’s wealth. Wealth is spreading to more people, but since the poor are multiplying much faster, the % of people controlling the wealth is shrinking. I don’t think this is a trivial difference in terms. It presents a different sort of ethical problem. On the micro level, it is the difference between you taking your neighbor’s wealth versus not choosing to share your wealth with him when he insists on moving more people into his house (against your advice)

Rocky and Gergle

All cultures are actually equally old. We all emerged from Africa in the deep past. Some of us continue to live near ancient ruins, but all of us are heirs to the accomplishments and troubles of the past. We all also only live a short time on this earth. My parent’s culture is very different from mine, and I would hardly recognize the lives of my great grandparents. Culture is passed imperfectly from generation to generation. It only is an illusion that it continues. And there are sometimes some pretty significant cultural breaks.

America is lucky to be rid of some of the baggage of the past centuries. It is not because we are such a new country, but rather because we just don’t care. The U.S. is in fact the second oldest government in the world. Only the UK has had a longer history unbroken by radical change.

Posted by: Christine at July 1, 2009 8:46 PM
Comment #283856

“The greenhouse effect is well understood.”

On a small scale, yes; on a global scale, not so much. Again, I ask the question: why, if the amount of CO2 has increased by 22%, has the global temperature on the kelvin scale not increased by 22%? Obviously, there is more going on than merely the increase in the CO2 in the atmosphere which may be causing global warming.

“A greenhouse gas is not merely a ‘label,’ it is a gas which traps heat and causes warming.”

Your original statement was “Unless you have some magical way of stopping CO2 from being a greenhouse gas, your prediction is fantasy.”, and there is no way to “stop CO2 from being a greenhouse gas” because this is merely what you and others have chosen to call it. Had you instead said “Unless you have some magical way of stopping CO2 from causing global warming, your prediction is fantasy.”, I would have instead addressed YOUR fantasy that it has been proven that a) CO2 causes warming on a global scale, b) the miniscule increase in temperature was caused by the large increase in CO2 and c) we could ever hope to (for example) produce and use enough “green concrete” to absorb the 22% increase in CO2 that supposedly caused the miniscule temperature rise. But you didn’t, so I didn’t. I merely addressed your rote use of the term “greenhouse gas”.

“The evidence indicates humanity is causing most if not all of the global warming which is occurring.”

Nope. Wrong. Incorrect. Some evidence points to a correlation but there is no causal proof, especially since we should have had a much larger global warming due to the increase in amount of CO2, CH4, SO2, etc. that has occurred during the warming trend.

“Every credible scientific institution in the world agrees with conclusion, regardless of that country’s religion or political system.”

Nope. Wrong. Incorrect. In fact, there is still a great deal of disagreement between institutions and even within institutions, depending on the evidence that is examined.

There is no question in my mind that global warming is occurring. There is also no question in my mind the concentration of so-called greenhouse gases has increased and is still increasing. However, it has not yet been proven that greenhouse gas concentration increase has caused global warming, that the increase has been caused by man or that a reduction in the concentration of greenhouse gases would reduce the rate of global warming any more than it naturally would.

You have provided no proof of these three points because you cannot provide proof because they have not been proven. Anyone who wants to undertake massive actions to try to counteract greenhous gas concentrations does so with no good scientific support for their actions.

Posted by: Greg House at July 1, 2009 9:30 PM
Comment #283860

Greg House-
The Isotope mix for Carbon would be different if this was from modern, rather than fossil sources. The only reasonable explanation for a whole bunch of fossil CO2 showing up is our burning of fossil fuels.

Greenhouse gas is merely a label people have placed on CO2 and a number of others, so I have no power to stop it from being that.

CO2’s absorbtion and reradiation abilities are not a matter of debate. They were well documented, even in the earliest part of the last century. It forms a significant part of the Greenhouse effect, whose existence is not a matter of debate. Which is to say, we do know that the gases in the atmosphere keep warmth from escaping back to outer space that would otherwise be on its way out to the stars.

One thing I should point out to you is that the relationship between CO2 amounts, and the increase in heat absorption that results are nonlinear. In otherwords, 22% increases in the amount of CO2 doesn’t create 22% increases in Kelvin degrees.

It is not a matter of debate whether Carbon Dioxide Increases, though, are increasing the heat retained in the atmosphere.

The questions all have to deal with feedback effects, effects that might sequester carbon or add more of it from carbon sources, counteract the warming or augment it. So far, the models are saying that the added heat is going to lead to temperatures going up, when all is said and done.

As for the cost of every technological advance? Thirty years ago, three frame buffers would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to make. We have them in home computers now in even the cheapest graphics cards and motherboard graphics chips, and of much better quality. Forty years ago, what you’re writing your posts on would have been called a microcomputer. A minicomputer would be the size of a fridge, a regular computer the size of a room. Now we mount much more powerful hardware for much less money in much less space.

As for the idea that Climate is somehow cleanly cyclical, and this is just some gradual rise of temperature under that?

No. If you knew the science you would know that the evidence points to climate change being much more severe, much more abrupt than people once thought. The Sahara dessicated in the space of a couple of hundred years, Ice ages have come to an end in as little as nine.

You repeatedly appeal to the complexity of climate to refute the notion that heat trapped from CO2 would have an effect. The complexity of the climate, though, doesn’t allow for your picture of nice, neat little predictable climate shifts. It has manifested itself in some rather abrupt shifts, as described above.

What you might begin to realize, if you look at the science, is that regardless of what happens, increased CO2 means increased heat trapping in the atmosphere. Which means the heat sticks around longer, which means it has to go somewhere, do something. That doesn’t mean just making the air warmer. It means making it harder for moisture to saturate air as increased heat increases water vapor carrying capacity. It means enabling the air to carry more water for when it does rain. Have we seen an increase in both droughts and torrential downpours? Yes.

We’ve seen hotter nights, hotter high altitudes, hotter Arctic and Antarctic weather. These are the predicted consequences of the models. Where heat is supposed to escape, it is not.

No complex real world system like the weather can simply dropped into a lab and studied with exact experiments. It has to be studied in the wild, so you don’t get proof. Rather, you get a preponderance of the evidence. You get models whose predictions agree with actual outcomes, or as Climate modellers often do, accurately predict the course of events that followed when old weather data is plugged in.

Those who know their stuff are saying this theory is correct. If you want to wait for proof, be my guest, but by the time the proof arrives, the effects will be impossible to reverse.

I want you to notice something: most of you language is language not of alternative explanation, but of doubt, not of a competing scientific consensus, but more or less fringe studies.

To put it plainly, you’re being sold delay and deferral. If people really knew what they were talking about, though, they could tell you outright what was actually going on, and provide you with an explanation that wouldn’t be contradicted by observed findings.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 1, 2009 11:10 PM
Comment #283863

David,

Most mixers are truck mounted mixers. The dust is created by moving piles of aggregates and the dust created by the addition of cement to the mixer trucks. Currently a boot is required to help contain the cement dust. Fixed mixers are unusual, but have the same issues as truck mounted mixers.

I’m not convinced that open container aggregate trucks are really the issue you seem to make them. Much more dust is created by unloading them and moving materials in stockpiles.

I’m not sure what “filter system” you are referring to, or how the current standards could be improved in a cost/benefit efficient manner.

Posted by: gergle at July 1, 2009 11:48 PM
Comment #283864

Aren’t we missing the big picture on this issue with all of this scientific debate? It never seems to go anywhere as Exxon has paid enough to counter any “greenhouse effects” science being produced today.

For us non scientific types this is much easier. Put your car in the garage, leave it running, sit in it and you die because the CO2 produced by the vehicle has displaced the O2 in the garage.

A 22% increase in CO2 would mean a 22% decrease in O2 in the air we breathe. Unless of course our atmosphere has increased by the same 22%. What is the upside to a man made increase in CO2 and a corresponding decrease in O2? It only takes less than a 2% drop in O2 for us humans to fall over yet we watch the CO2 concentration in our atmosphere continue to go up as we argue over “global warming”.
What is wrong with breathing clean air? The cost of products will go up to pay for scrubbing the pollutants out prior to releasing them into the atmosphere? Our free market economic system has devolved us into morons who would rather get a TV set cheaper than be able to breathe real air?

What am I missing here?

Posted by: j2t2 at July 1, 2009 11:52 PM
Comment #283865

Christine,

You don’t consider a change from a Royal Kingdom to a Parliament a radical change? I don’t know about your history book, but wasn’t King George the guy that opposed the American Revolution? How does that make the UK government older? I’ll agree with the culture being older, or more precisely, different branches of the same culture.

Population growth over all may be declining, but not “all over the world”. There are some areas with horrendous population growth issues. The bomb may not have been precise in outcomes or timing, but to say that population growth is no longer a problem is absurd. It is the main issue in our dwindling finite resources. I’m guessing this is coming from some think tank BS. Jack tried to foist the same argument a while back.

Mexico 1.142%

http://www.npg.org/forum_series/neighbors_problems.htm

I suggest it IS the problem we thought it was and still is.

Posted by: gergle at July 2, 2009 12:08 AM
Comment #283866

Christine,

Saying all cultures are the same because we all descended from “Lucy” is missing the point. Unless you have some sort of primordial memory, I doubt any culture can claim prehistoric roots.

Cultures are different, and people are easily aware of that. Yes, we are self evidently all equal, just not the same.

Posted by: gergle at July 2, 2009 12:18 AM
Comment #283869

Greg,
Stephen covers the bases in his comment, especially when he notes that Climate Change is non-linear.

Here is an article listing scientific institutions:

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

Can you provide a link naming a single credible scientific institution which does not reach the same conclusion as those listed in the article?

‘Some guy’ within an organization disagrees… and that means what? Come on. One person disagreeing does not leave scientific institutions incapable of reaching conclusions and forming policies unless that dissenting person can support their case with evidence.

Posted by: phx8 at July 2, 2009 12:52 AM
Comment #283871

Gergle, you have never seen a mixing plant take delivery of its raw materials, have you. And that boot over the mixing truck chute is about as good as cheesecloth for a prophylactic. But, it is the delivery of the materials to be mixed both to the plant and the mixing trucks, that is documented to produce enormous amounts of harmful dust in populated areas. We endured a number of NIMBY law suits in San Antonio over this issue, and the evidence collected from air samples along the highway running near the plant and in neighborhoods nearby, was compelling.

And on a windy day, that dust can travel many miles and hang in the air for many hours to be continuously inhaled by those nearby. There’s a reason those living in Middle Eastern deserts wear face wraps, you know, and it has nothing to do with hiding their identity. Our own cowboys knew the value of a good kerchief tightly bound around nose and mouth during a cattle trail. The stuff is harmful.

Down here, aggregate is limestone, crushed limestone. Not good for lung mucosa at all.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 2, 2009 1:26 AM
Comment #283873

David,

I work in construction. In Texas. Bad assumption.

Still haven’t heard your solution.

I suspect the particulates from vehicles and industry in population centers is a might bit higher than construction dust. Of course, we all know the dust-bowl was entirely the fault of the Cemex and Martin Marietta. But gee, if you put a monitor next to a batch plant, voila, guess what the result will show? Which came first? Neighborhood or batch plant? Most new batch plants are built at the edge of new construction in rural areas. Then the neighborhoods grow around them. Then the griping starts. What about the kids? Gimme a break. On some days we’ve gotten dust from the Gobi Dessert in Houston. Dust does carry. http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/newsletter/DynamicEarth/Chapter6/Fig18.htm

I live in Houston. I live near a freeway. Come breathe in our chemical plants sometime, meanwhile, as you type out on your plastic petro-chem keyboard a pithy response, think about some perspective.

I don’t disagree that dust is an issue, but not largely from open bed trucks or rail cars (which is how much aggregate is delivered). If you actually did spend time around a batch plant, you would know this. It’s when you load or unload trucks or use a loader to load a hopper, or the conveyor system moving aggregates that creates the most dust. Cement is very fine and must be dry to use it. A stockpile of aggregate or truckload that isn’t being disturbed creates little dust. My only other point is that people want things built. You can’t have both ideals simultaneously.

I am currently working on a project at the University of Houston. We haven’t had rain since April. I refer to the jobsite as the Gobi Dessert. Just driving or even walking on the site creates an enormous cloud. I just had to have my cell phone repaired because I dropped it in this dust bowl and the repairman said it was full of dust. There are probably permit and EPA rules regarding using water to control the dust, but it is not heavily enforced. Batch plants usually do make the effort. They also recycle water to avoid ground water contamination. Batch plants are watched closely and get a lot of heat, but reality is that you create dust when you build things.

Dust also comes from farming and is carried for miles. Dust also comes from dry areas. Volcanoes create dust. Lots of sources. Let’s not pick on construction. Moving batch plants away from urban areas (most actually are on the outskirts) simply increases cost, and decreases quality of concrete increases fuel burned and pollution emitted. Having batch plants near where construction occurs (urban areas) is a necessary evil.

Posted by: gergle at July 2, 2009 5:01 AM
Comment #283874

Having worked in construction, Batch plants are comparatively clean to construction sites. The only problem is that cement is caustic. Cement dust is unavoidable at batch plants without very expensive dust control systems. You would have to build containment buildings and then keep everything wet to prevent emigration of the dust outside. This would increase water usage. Aggregate dust is minor comparatively. Recycled concrete is now used a lot to make aggregates for Base materials and this does create loads of dust.

Sand that is very fine has the potential hazard of Silicosis. I suspect that hazard in the open air is comparatively limited. It’s when you contain that dust and put people inside with it, that it becomes an issue.

Posted by: gergle at July 2, 2009 5:20 AM
Comment #283875

gergle, or children run and play in it in their wind blown neighborhoods, over years and years.

So, it costs money. When are we going to insist that the taxpayer’s stop paying to clean up the hidden costs of private industry, and force the private sector to incur and pass on the REAL cost of keeping our environment as clean as is technologically possible?

That time is at hand. Other nations are going to need our clean technologies, and places like China and India will be able to afford them soon. Why are we abdicating our role as the world leader’s in environmentally advanced technologies? Are we really so stupid as a nation as to balk and kick on this issue of cost and leave the leadership, the production, the innovation, the royalties, the copyrights, the trademarks and exports to other foreign competitors to later than sooner profit from?

We can’t be that stupid and myopic. Please, tell me it isn’t so…

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 2, 2009 6:28 AM
Comment #283876

As for Houston, the armpit of Texas, ya’ll are just lazy and stingy :-)

Nothing cuts dust like vegetation. I have seen driveway grids capable of carrying the heaviest of trucks, which have spacers in them for soil and vegetation to cover well over half of the drive surface while the grid bears the vehicular weight. Voila, dust gone from vehicles.

Oh, but that would cost more and life is cheap, especially with all them illegals wanting to come here and work for low dollars and no benefits.

I am telling you, gergle, we are missing and enormous economic opportunity by not getting way the hell out front of the clean environmental innovation and technological development as fast as possible. The private sector won’t do it. They don’t believe in investing in their future markets beyond the next quarter or 4.

Shareholders are a pretty dumb lot to have so much coercive power over corporate board rooms and execs, dictating to them that they want their profits and they want them now. It’s proving to be an ever more flawed model to try to address the global and environmental challenges staring us in the face. And and abject failure of a model for investing in future crisis aversion.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 2, 2009 6:41 AM
Comment #283883

Gergle-
We also used lead in Gasoline, and ozone destroying varieties of CFCs for spray propellants and air conditioners.

I can understand the economic and practical problems of changing materials and practices, but we should realize that sooner or later we get hit with the consequences of the things we do, and its often more difficult and painful to deal with those things then.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 2, 2009 11:54 AM
Comment #283894

David,

I agree clean technology should be advanced. My disagreement was over the role that open beds play, and the fact that there simply isn’t technology that is feasible for what you are suggesting. Getting rid of dust at concrete plants would mean containment. A dome would solve the problem, but would be outrageously expensive. It would likely quintuple the cost of any construction. Grids on construction sites would double or triple the cost.

I simply don’t agree the impact is as dire as you suggest. We’ve lived in a dusty world for a few millenia now. A bit of pica might even be good for us.:)

BTW, we here in the ‘pit are also fat and ugly.:/

Posted by: gergle at July 2, 2009 4:42 PM
Comment #283896

gergle, seems to me the solutions are not that complicated. Close open bed trucks. A tarp would do for short hauls.

A rigid outer shroud and a perforated inner tube for the chute around the dispensing chutes with a vacuum suction to pull airborn dust out and recycle back into the dispensing bin, would solve the other problem.

And I am not even an engineer. This is not complicated. It simply is a lack of diligence and resistance to increasing costs for the sake of cleaning up the environmental operations of for profit organizations.

There is a maxim about pollution. Every little bit reduced helps. I am struggling with the amount of trash I haul out to the dump. Too damn much plastic, ink loaded cardboard and paper, which our county recycling center will not take. I understand a large percentage of recyle collections end up in the dump anyway.

I am speaking more to the attitude and commitment than to any particular source of pollution. If the attitude and commitment is there, cost effective solutions will be found.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 2, 2009 5:00 PM
Comment #283899

OK, phx8, here’s your list of global warming skeptical organizations:

* Australian APEC Study Centre
* Competitive Enterprise Institute (US)
* Doctors for Disaster Preparedness
* Exxon-Funded Skeptics
* Friends of Science (Canada)
* George C. Marshall Institute (US)
* Heartland Institute (US)
* Institute of Economic Affairs (UK)
* Institute of Public Affairs (Australia)
* International Climate Science Coalition (NZ)
* International Policy Network (UK)
* Lavoisier Group (Australia)
* Natural Resources Stewardship Project (NSRP) (Canada)
* New Zealand Climate Science Coalition
* Scientific Alliance (UK)
* The United Kingdom House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs
* NZ Center for Policy Research (NZ)
* New Zealand Climate Change Coalition (NZ)

and here’s your list of global warming skeptical individuals not necessarily associated with specific organizations:

* Don Aitkin
* Dennis Avery
* Sallie L. Baliunas
* Tim Ball
* Robert C. Balling
* David Bellamy
* Robert (Bob) Carter
* Ian Castles
* John R. Christy
* Ian Clark
* Alexander Cockburn
* Martin Cohen
* Joseph D’Aleo
* Martin Durkin
* Paul Driessen
* David Evans
* Ray Evans
* George Fox
* Robert Giegengack
* Bill Gray
* Chris Horner, the author of “Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming
* Sherwood Idso
* Andrei Illarionov, chief economic adviser to Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin
* James M. Inhofe
* Aynsley Kellow
* William Kininmonth
* Czech president Vaclav Klaus
* Lord Lawson
* David Legates
* Marlo Lewis, from the Competitive Enterprise Institute;
* Richard S. Lindzen
* Bjorn Lomborg
* Stephen McIntyre
* Ross McKitrick
* Patrick J. Michaels
* Alan Moran
* Alan Oxley
* Garth Paltridge
* Tim Patterson
* Ian Plimer
* Arthur B. Robinson
* Frederick Seitz
* S. Fred Singer
* Willie Soon
* Roy Spencer
* Carlo Stagnaro
* Philip Stott
* John H. Sununu
* George Taylor,
* Wolfgang Thüne
* Jan Veizer
* Len Walker
* Sammy Wilson

So there you go phx8, but I’m sure it was not worth the bother since I’m sure that a) you’ll have a variety objections to their qualifications or theories and b) you and your chums have already made up your minds so there’s no point in trying to persuade you to change them. But you asked for them and I provided them, which is more than you can say.

At any rate, let’s get back to the ostensible subject of the original post, namely “green concrete is going to save our bacon”. You’ve yet to address the cost involved in this alleged miracle other than to make the entirely specious claim that no technology appeared to be cost-effective at their original invention or discovery. Why then did the computer and the telephone, both of which you must admit were invented in their current form in the last 100 years, immediately appear to have cost advantages? What are all these other technologies to which you allude that did not appear cost-effective at first but later proved to be? Yeah, you gave computer memory as an example but even early on it was considered cost-effective for the applications for which it was envisioned at the time.

“It is not a matter of debate whether Carbon Dioxide Increases, though, are increasing the heat retained in the atmosphere.”

I’m afraid it is though. It can be demonstrated at a small scale, but cannot be conclusively shown on a global scale. If you knew anything about physical science you would know that demonstration of a phenomenon on a small scale does not necessarily show it will occur on a large scale.

“CO2’s absorbtion and reradiation abilities are not a matter of debate.” “It is not a matter of debate whether Carbon Dioxide Increases, though, are increasing the heat retained in the atmosphere.”

On a small scale, no. On a global scale, yes. It has never been proved on anything but a small scale.

“One thing I should point out to you is that the relationship between CO2 amounts, and the increase in heat absorption that results are nonlinear. In otherwords, 22% increases in the amount of CO2 doesn’t create 22% increases in Kelvin degrees.”

According to you, that is. But you’ve provided no reference that the atmosphere behaves that way. Don’t tell me you’re both a construction worker AND a published physicist… Explain why it would be that a 22% increase in the concentration of a gas which you allege is directly responsible for what, about .7% warming. What’s the formula that would make that plausible?

Once you get done with that, explain to me how much “green concrete” it will take to reverse the addition of 70 ppm of CO2, to get the temperatures back to where it supposedly would have been if we hadn’t added so much CO2 to the atmosphere. Don’t forget that you actually need to double that because in the mean time industry is going to continue adding CO2 at about the same rate.

How much is that going to cost? How much of the earth’s surface do you think it’s worth covering in concrete on the theory that CO2 is the main culprit for a .07% temperature increase?

“To put it plainly, you’re being sold delay and deferral.”

Nobody’s selling me anything. I look at the evidence and make my own decisions as I’ve been trained to do. If you want to put it that way though, you’ve bought into a pig in a poke by people with vested interests in dealing with a falling sky. They have inadequate data and they have inadequate resources for reaching correct decisions with what little data they do have. You and your allies seem to be accepting their pronouncements for no better reason than they are authorities in their field.

“If people really knew what they were talking about, though, they could tell you outright what was actually going on, and provide you with an explanation that wouldn’t be contradicted by observed findings.”

There is not enough accurate data for anyone to explain what is happening. Or to put it better, what little data there is is capable of supporting a large number of plausible explanations, only one of which is that man’s activities are solely responsible for global warming and that cessation and remediation of these activities are all that would be required to reverse the effects.

You and your allies are proposing to, as they say, “… don’t just stand there, do something”.

I say there is not enough evidence to support any large-scale, expensive, immediate action and the problem needs to be studied more.

In either case, “green concrete” is not the answer.

Posted by: Greg House at July 2, 2009 9:09 PM
Comment #283901

Gergle

You made my argument. We have no primordial memory. All culture is carried in living humans and it changes a little each time it is passed. Sometimes it stops dead and sometimes it has to be “rediscovered”.

But anybody who can read can take part in the cultural heritage of any literate culture. Illiterate cultures literally have no history as each generation depends on what they are told and what they can remember.

Posted by: Christine at July 2, 2009 9:47 PM
Comment #283908

Greg,
The list of organizations which are skeptical of global warming are not credible scientific organizations. Most are funded by Exxon and other members of the fossil fuel industry. It would be more accurate to describe that as a list of lobbyists.

For example, take the first organization listed: “Australian APEC Study Centre”

The organization is run by an Australian lobbyist for free trade, Alan Oxley:

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Alan_Oxley

“On Monday, 4th April 2005 the Australian APEC Study Centre, with the support of international public affairs website, Tech Central Station, and sponsorship from Exxon Mobil and Xstrata managed a Conference on Managing Climate Change…”

Do you want me to do the same with any of the individuals you listed? You might be curious to know that out of the 4,000 or so climatologists and other scientists who put together the IPCC report, about 1.5% disagreed that there was any warming; in other words, dozens disagreed without being able to convince thousands of others with scientific data.

The problem, Greg, is that you are following the lead of people who profit by maintaining the status quo. In particular, Exxon, the most profitable corporation in the history of the world, has lead this way by funding skepticism. There is never proof. There is never a coherent alternative. There is no large body of data or evidence. Instead, the skeptics seek to create enough doubt to prevent action, because that lines their pocketbooks.

Conservative politicians follow this lead because the problem and possible solutions are so unacceptable to their world view. As a result, we are all treated to the astounding spectacle of a Republican Representative speaking on the floor of the House, and declaring Global Warming is a hoax.

That was profoundly ignorantm, and that was profoundly embarrassing for the United States.

If you wanted to list some of the premier scientific organizations of the world, such as Lawrence Livermore Labs, or Germany’s Max Planck Institute, or Britain’s Hadley Centre, and provide their statements on Global Warming, that would be impressive… Oh… except that they all agree about AGW.

Posted by: phx8 at July 2, 2009 11:15 PM
Comment #283909

“…declaring Global Warming is a hoax. That was profoundly ignorantm, and that was profoundly embarrassing for the United States.”

I couldn’t agree more. Why? There is no denying the statistical fact that global warming is occurring. You just have to look at the temperature numbers which have been recorded and you can see global warming is occurring.

I don’t dispute and never have disputed that global warming is occurring. I will argue against anyone who says it isn’t happening and I can prove them wrong with solid numbers.

I also don’t disagree that global warming is negatively impacting the longevity and quality of life of large numbers of people, especially the poor and disenfranchised. I never have said that the impact of global warming is not significant and almost entirely detrimental to humans.

Where I disagree with you and Stephen and anyone else who agrees with you two is:

1) that human activities alone are causing global warming

2) that curtailing those human activities supposedly causing higher CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere will stop or reverse global warming; I don’t deny there seems to be some correlation between the increase in concentration of CO2 and other so-called greenhouse gases and global warming but the cause-effect relationship has not been proved

3) that “green concrete” is a cost effective means of reducing CO2 in the atmosphere whether or not CO2 is causing global warming; I agree that if the evidence becomes more solid that reducing CO2 in the atmosphere will have a significant impact as far as reducing and reversing global warming, then we should try to do that but I don’t think “green concrete” is worth the cost when there are other actions we can take which will do a better job and cost less.

OK? You can stop trying to convince me that global warming is happening. I get it. I believe you. I’m on your side. I’ve never been on the side that says global warming is not happening.

Jeez.

Posted by: Greg House at July 2, 2009 11:34 PM
Comment #283910

David,

I have no problem with tarps, I have a cracked windshield to prove it. I just think you’re plain wrong about that reducing dust.

As to the shroud, it’s quite clear you’ve never backed a concrete truck up to a hopper. Anything rigid would be ripped off on the first day. Won’t work, but, nice try.

It sounds good, it just isn’t practical, and frankly, you haven’t convinced me that dust from concrete plants is more than a neighborhood issue.
Some things are never going to be neat and clean. Having built your own house, you should know that, even if that was a relatively short term thing for you. That’s the difference between “engineering” something and actually doing it. I’m not saying it couldn’t be done, it just doesn’t make sense for the benefit acheived.

Christine,
Some of us have much longer written histories, which is carried through living within that culture. Assuming because you can read about it doesn’t mean you get it. I grew up in Ohio with roots in Kentucky. I’ve lived in Texas for 30 years. Trust me, the cultures are different. And they are not near the gap between us and Asia.

Posted by: gergle at July 2, 2009 11:58 PM
Comment #283912

Getting back to the theme of this post, the CO2 created in making concrete, has mostly to do with making cement. Cement is made by burning ores and compounds in a high temperature rotating kiln to produce the compounds that are then ground into cement.

It sounds like this Green concrete is more hype than reality. Capturing wasted energy from high temperature processes seems the best way to reduce the CO2 produced. I’ve worked in Chemical plants where almost on a weekly basis, flares of nearly 100 feet burn off product that has to be dumped for one safety reason or another. The amount of energy wasted is mind boggling. If someone could capture that and cement plant exhaust safely, that might actually have some value.

Although one then has to ask, who is going to make China and India and other developing nations comply?

Posted by: gergle at July 3, 2009 12:12 AM
Comment #283935

BTW, if petrochem keyboards bother you, I came across this today

Posted by: gergle at July 3, 2009 1:43 PM
Comment #283943

http://www.farrapc.com/applications/mining/

Posted by: ohrealy at July 3, 2009 5:06 PM
Comment #283953

Greg House-
Technology is about applied problem solving. Right now, people are looking into ways that electrophoretic inks could be made that would allow full color book displays without backlighting. When somebody finally works out the kinks, what had been an expensive and experimental technology, might be practical and everyday.

Drop what you’re doing here and head off to some science sites, some research sites. You will be amazed at what they have under development. Then follow them for about five or ten years, and see how many of those technologies actually take off.

The market is but one influence on things, and it itself can be influenced by the research that reveals new pathways of economic technological development.

“It is not a matter of debate whether Carbon Dioxide Increases, though, are increasing the heat retained in the atmosphere.” I’m afraid it is though. It can be demonstrated at a small scale, but cannot be conclusively shown on a global scale. If you knew anything about physical science you would know that demonstration of a phenomenon on a small scale does not necessarily show it will occur on a large scale.

Oxygen and Nitrogen preferentially scatter certain wavelengths of radiation. This is not decided by the concentration of the gases, but by basic quantum physics. Get enough oxygen and nitrogen together in a thick enough blanket, and you’ll see it scatter blue light more effectively than than red, a phenomenon called Rayleigh Scattering. Because blue gets scattered more than other colors, you see more blue.

CO2 scatters infrared at certain frequencies. It’s no use arguing this, it’s an empirically proved fact. It’s absorption of heat, as a function of concentration, follows something called the Beer-Lambert Law. Long story short, the law is logarithmic. Logarithms are not linear, and neither is the increases in CO2’s absorption and scattering of infra-red as it’s concentration reaches a certain level.

My impression is that it’s here where the scale is critical; you have to increase concentration much more to get the same increase, because essentially what’s happening is that you’re changing the amount of stops that a photon of infrared light has to make on its way to radiating out to space.

Think about it in terms of a fog. There’s a certain point at which increasing the thickness of the fog doesn’t destroy that much less visibility than you’ve already lost.

So, if you already’ve demonstrated that CO2 scatters well at typical atmospheric concentrations, and you increase the size to the size of a world wide atmosphere, the question of whether it scales up is not much of a question.

It will. The questions do not relate to the large scale properties of CO2. The atmosphere of Venus puts paid to that notion. The thickness of the atmospheric blanket is part of what makes CO2 a good absorber. Mars demonstrates that truth. Venus and Mars have similar concentrations of CO2, but where Venus has an atmosphere about a hundred times thicker than ours, Mars’s atmosphere is about a hundred times thinner.

Calera’s process, if it’s what it’s cracked up to be, is not about taking carbon out of the atmosphere. Rather, it’s about sequestering emissions from plants by using them to form calcium and magnesium carbonates, which can substitute for similar chemicals in Concrete which often requires Carbon emmission rich industrial processes to manufacture.

I understand, better than you think I do, that this might just be a pipe dream. But if its not, it will certainly be much less expensive than scrubbers or other such mechanisms, so its worth looking into.

But I would not want people to look into this with anything less than skeptical reserve. We need stuff that works in reality, not merely on paper.

Nobody’s selling me anything. I look at the evidence and make my own decisions as I’ve been trained to do.

You’re posing questions that a person just starting out in the field would probably know the answer to. Take that Beer-Lambert law that I found. It’s logarithmic. But you show up asking why the temperature doesn’t rise in linear dependence to the concentration of CO2. In Kelvin degrees, no less, as if other factors, like the Earth’s own reflectance and absorption weren’t a factor.

You seem to talk about the complexity of things just to claim that it couldn’t be understood. Having failed to prove your knowledge, you ask us to credit your declarations as to what is possible or impossible. I would think a close, intimate knowledge of these matters would be important to build any such judgment on.

How do you know what is sufficient? What is necessary?

Unfortunately, the unfamiliarity with the principles of the science that you display in your answers seems to extend to the arguments of the scientists. Nobody’s predicting that if we get going right now, we’ll reverse the warming, at least not in any near term. What we might be able to do is slow it back down, reduce the speed of onset and severity of climate change.

This is not the sky is falling. This is stop poking the angry bear with the stick.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 3, 2009 10:30 PM
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