[Coral-List] Need for more oil

fautin at ku.edu fautin at ku.edu
Wed May 19 12:14:03 EDT 2010

In addition to being a coral reef biologist, I am a long-time bird-watcher 
(not birder, with its connotations of competitiveness).  I was dismayed to 
learn recently that prairie chickens do not nest within an amazingly large 
distance from power lines (I was not amazed to learn they also avoid 
buildings).  Thus, even if what is left of US midwest grasslands are 
otherwise fairly undisturbed, if there is a power line within sight, you 
are unlikely to see those birds.  And, as Doug says, to get power from 
where there is abundant wind or sun but few people to where the people 
live requires such lines.  Common when I was a child, prairie chickens are 
now nearly gone.  I do not know what they see, hear, or feel -- but it is 
clear they perceive something.  The old question is whether we are willing 
to forego air conditioners or microwave ovens, etc. to prevent the 
extirpation of prairie chickens (and who knows what else?).  And that is 
where we can see and easily count -- compared to in the sea.

Daphne G. Fautin
Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Curator, Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center
Haworth Hall
University of Kansas
1200 Sunnyside Avenue
Lawrence, Kansas 66045-7534  USA

telephone 1-785-864-3062
fax 1-785-864-5321
evo user name fautin
website www.nhm.ku.edu/~inverts

       direct to database of hexacorals, including sea anemones
               newest version released 1 December 2009

On Tue, 18 May 2010, Douglas Fenner wrote:

> I agree, to my knowledge not a single fossil fuel plant in the world manages
> to sequester the carbon it produces yet (but maybe there are ones I don't
> know about).  One or two that were planned in the US were canceled, I
> believe, maybe due to high costs or technical problems, I don't know.
>      As for visual pollution by wind turbines, well I tend to think beauty
> is in the eye of the beholder.  I suspect that anyone making a lot of money
> in the oil industry thinks an oil refinery looks beautiful (gas flares
> burning at night, all those lights on towers, kind of romantic way to read
> your profit checks by?).  Really, it does change your perspective, those
> that may make profits from windmills won't have much sympathy for those that
> want the unspoiled natural beauty.  That is, the natural beauty of amber
> waves of grain and green fields of corn, which totally replaced the North
> American prairie, an ecosystem that was totally obliterated by white
> settlers, with only minute scraps of it left in a few places (and a fair bit
> on the western edge where it is too dry to farm, so cattle are run on it
> instead of the bison that were killed to starve the Native Americans off the
> plains so whites could take the land.)  Likely those farms look beautiful to
> those who make a good living off them.  (By the way, I'm a U.S. citizen, one
> who hopes coral reefs won't be obliterated like the prairies were.)
>      As for space for solar, there is vastly more space in the US southwest
> deserts for solar instalations than ever will be needed.  And in Germany
> farmers have solar collectors all over their fields, and make money off the
> cows feeding underneath them on the grass as well as the solar.  You can do
> both easily.  There is plenty of room.  More of a problem is that the desert
> southwest is too far from the populous US east coast markets, and most of
> the energy would be lost in the electric lines.  But for Phoenix, Arizona, a
> low-tech solar electric plant was cheaper and quicker to build than any
> other kind of plant, and provides electricity best during peak demand, on
> hot sunny days when everyone has their air conditioner on.  Australia and
> North Africa have enough desert for solar plants to power much of the world,
> the problem is not space, it is distance from markets.
>     There are great technical hurdles, indeed.  But as JFK said "We choose
> to go to the moon not because it is easy, but because it is difficult."  If
> the alternative is to let climate change cause massive damage around the
> world (like when Greenland melts and oceans drown many of the worlds largest
> cities which are on coasts, or we have to put dikes around them all and huge
> pumps like New Orleans and hope Hurricane Katrina doesn't hit.  Estimates of
> when Greenland will melt vary widely, I believe, and it's likely to be
> hundreds of years or more.), should we be looking for excuses to not solve
> the problems, or for ways to solve the problems???
>          Doug
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Quenton Dokken" <qdokken at gulfmex.org>
> To: "'Eugene Shinn'" <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>;
> <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 8:20 AM
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Need for more oil
>> Strong commentary Gene.  We must also deal with the issue of visual
>> pollution by wind turbines and space allocations for solar.  We seem to be
>> caught between a rock and a hard place.
>> Quenton
>> Quenton Dokken, Ph.D.
>> Executive Director
>> Gulf of Mexico Foundation, Inc.
>> PMB 51 5403 Everhart Rd.
>> Corpus Christi, TX 78411
>> Office:  3833 South Staples Suite S214
>>                Corpus Christi, TX 78411
>> 361-882-3939 o
>> 361-882-1262 f
>> 361-442-6064 c
>> www.gulfmex.org
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
>> [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Eugene Shinn
>> Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 11:01 AM
>> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
>> Subject: [Coral-List] Need for more oil
>>> Dear Listers who wish to end oil use.  An interesting article  was
>>> published recently in the NYTimes titled  "A Bad Bet On Carbon." The
>>> article lists a number of problems with Co2 sequestration but the
>>> significant one had to do with scale. Here is the direct quote.
>>> "The third, and most vexing, problem has to do with scale. In 2009,
>>> carbon dioxide emissions in the United States totaled 5.4 billion
>>> tons. Lets assume that policymakers want to use carbon capture to
>>> get rid of half of those emissions---say 3 billion tons per year.
>>> That works out to about 8.2 million tons of carbon dioxide per day,
>>> which would have to be collected and compressed to about 1,000 psi
>>> (that compressed volume of carbon dioxide would be roughly
>>> equivalent to the volume of daily global oil production).
>>>    In other words, we would need to find an underground location (or
>>> locations) able to swallow a volume equal to the contents of 41 oil
>>> supertankers each day, 365 days a year."
>>>     The rest of the article is about the 23,000 miles of new
>>> pipeline needed and the social problems with property rights and the
>>> 25% reduced output of power plants due to carbon capture.
>> Any thinking person can see this is a near impossible task in the
>> near term even if the figure is cut in half. Many look to France for
>> Co2 reduction where its no secret that they do it using nuclear
>> energy and reprocess the waste. They even export some electricity to
>> other European nations.  If you believe Co2 is a real problem for
>> corals and want to reduce oil use we should do what the French did.
>> That way we can remain productive and not depend on foreign sources
>> of goods such as the computers on which we write these messages. Gene
>>> Gene
>> --
>> No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
>> ------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
>> E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
>> University of South Florida
>> Marine Science Center (room 204)
>> 140 Seventh Avenue South
>> St. Petersburg, FL 33701
>> <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
>> Tel 727 553-1158----------------------------------
>> -----------------------------------
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