[Coral-List] carbon offsetting AND slowing down

Douglas Fenner douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
Thu May 23 08:07:50 UTC 2019

   Summary sentences: continuing to emit enough greenhouse gases to kill
most of the world's coral and some of it's people, or going back to living
in caves are not the only two options.  A third option is to generate
energy from renewable sources.  There are several ways of doing that, some
are as cheap or cheaper than fossil fuels.

    Abstract: Do you really think that the only way to generate energy is
from burning fossil fuels and from nuclear???  Are we so dumb we can't do
anything else??  Lots of other countries are investing in renewable energy
sources.  Actually, the US is as well, just not as much as we need to, to
avoid catastrophe.  Are you saying the US isn't smart enough to do it??  I
don't believe that for a minute.  We can do almost anything if we put our
minds to it.  Already, improvements in solar cells have driven their costs
way down per unit of energy captured, to the point where they are
competitive with fossil fuels (cheaper than fossil fuels in a place like
India).  Nuclear, on the other hand, became so expensive that no nuclear
plants have been built in the USA for a long time.  And between Three Mile
Island, Chernobyl, and the Japanese nuclear plant, a lot of people are
nervous about accidents.

     I'm a bit amazed and puzzled, why do you think we would need to dump
autos and move back into caves??  I presume you mean to say that we can't
drive cars if we don't use gasoline or diesel.  Have you ever heard of a
thing called an "electric car"?  There are such things these days, and yes,
they don't use gasoline or diesel or any other kind of fossil fuel.  On the
other hand, the electricity they use is generated at a power plant
somewhere, and most power plants do indeed burn fossil fuels.  However,
some don't.  Dams on rivers don't, nuclear power plants don't, geothermal
plants don't, solar electric panels and plants don't, and wind turbines
don't.  For starters.  You appear to have no clue that electric cars using
electricity from renewable sources would not use fossil fuel or carbon, but
would transport people.
      I assume you are suggesting that if there are no babies, then there
will be no carbon emissions.  But of course you don't make any of your
thoughts explicit.  You have a talent for coyly suggesting things, hinting,
without making any of the steps of your logic explicit.  Is that because
you have a feeling that the logic chain may not withstand scrutiny?  Surely
can't be because you're not smart enough to spell them out.  We know you're
smart, you've done lots of good geology.  Or maybe you're just trying sly
little tricks on the readers, see if you can trap them?
      What's this about third world overwhelming us???  Sounds pretty
xenophobic, or paranoid, or something worse???  Care to explain yourself?
       We could cook on wood campfires?  A fair portion of the world does
cook on wood fires, and it causes a variety of problems like health
problems from smoke inhalation.  Again, have you ever heard of an electric
stove (cooker in British English, I believe)?  I believe they are
considered a modern convenience in some areas.  I remember them from when I
was a child and first aware of cooking, and I think I'm nearly as old as
you.  And to repeat myself, electricity can be generated without burning
fossil fuels.
      Ah, and you do say you often think about a power source that doesn't
produce CO2.  Bravo!  I was sure you weren't as ignorant as you pretend to
be.  Your thoughts are about mining uranium, and that requires energy.
Sure.  Lots of things require energy.  And there are ways to generate
energy without burning fossil fuels.  Am I correct about that, or are we
missing something here?
      We could just give up on science??  How does that follow from your
notion that we have to give up on all these other things because we need to
stop emitting CO2??  Huh?  Oh, right, because science is progress and
science is how we learned to burn fossil fuels, and so we have to burn
fossil fuels.  Is that your logic chain??  Amazing iron clad logic.  "Seems
all the advancements of science end up using raw materials that emit
carbon."  Amazing.  Could have fooled me.  Raw materials emit carbon?  Iron
ore emits carbon?  Water emits carbon?  A chemist could list thousands of
raw materials that don't "emit carbon."  A "raw material" has to have
carbon in it, to emit it, doesn't it?  (or am I missing some alchemy
here?)  How about all those rocks that make up continents and most of our
planet?  You're a geologist, aren't you?  Granted, the rocks you study
which corals make, have carbon in them, but do basalts, andesites,
granites, and a host of others?  Small amounts, surely.  But that's not
what your talking about is it?  What IS it that you're talking about??  Not
obvious from what you write, but you're saying that we have to burn things
that have carbon in them, like coal, oil, natural gas and wood, to make
energy.  Well that certainly IS one way of getting energy.  But it isn't
the only way.  And you know that as well as anybody else.  But you sly
fellow, you don't want to say that.  Because if you do, it is obvious your
line of logic falls apart.  Your argument is a straw man.
       Do you want anyone to take you seriously?  Or do you just have an
unappreciated talent for humor?
        We could all have a serious discussion about this, or you can go on
thinking of things like novels about how to award science grants.
        Meantime, may I suggest a couple articles that do get to grips with
some realities, in particular how India, one of the two largest population
countries in the world, is generating electricity and it's plans for the
future:   Climate change: will India's election energy lead to CO2 rise?

      Another I'd suggest is about the other country that is one of the two
largest population countries in the world, which now has a problem of not
enough babies, instead of the problem it has long worked on, too many
babies:   Beijing's one-child family is gone.  But many Chinese are still
reluctant to have more

Cheers,  Doug

On Fri, May 17, 2019 at 8:32 AM Eugene Shinn via Coral-List <
coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:

> Dear listers, at first I became depressed reading about how we could
> reduce carbon emissions. My first thought was the old saw about dumping
> automobiles and moving back into caves. Of course we are not going to do
> that. The developed word could stop having babies. Then we could just
> sit back and let the third world proliferate and overwhelm us. We could
> cook on wood campfires. That would not work either. What would happen to
> computers? Who is going to mine the world’s resources for raw materials
> to manufacture computers? Can we live without computers?How about
> radios? When I was a kid I constructed a crystal radio. It worked
> without batteries. Of course the signal had to be created somewhere
> using electricity. It also requires modern headphones. I often think
> about a power source that does not emit CO2. It would however require
> mining a lot of uranium and that requires energy. We could just give up
> on science. Seems all the advancements in science end up using raw
> materials that emit carbon.Then I remembered the humorous novel, “The
> Mark Gable Foundation.”The novel was envisioned by Leo Szilard in 1948.
> Leo was the scientist who talked Albert Einstein into writing the letter
> to President Roosevelt that led to creation of the Manhattan project.
> In his novel the hero, sometime in the future, is asked by a wealthy
> entrepreneur, who believes that science has progressed too quickly,
> “what could he do to retard this rapid progress.” The hero answers:
> "You could set up a foundation, with an annual endowment of thirty
> million dollars. Researchers in need of funds could apply for grants, if
> they could make a convincing case. Have ten committees, each composed of
> twelve scientists, appointed to pass on these applications. Take the
> most active scientists out of the laboratory and make them members of
> these committees. …First of all, the best scientists would be removed
> from their laboratories and kept busy on committees passing on
> applications for funds. Secondly the scientific worker in need of funds
> would concentrate on problems that were considered promising and were
> pretty certain to lead to publishable results… By going after the
> obvious, pretty soon science would dry out. Science would become
> something like a parlor game… There would be fashions. Those who
> followed the fashions would get grants. Those who wouldn't would not."
> That was 1948! How could Szilard know that the government might someday
> take him seriously?Moral: Be careful what you wish for. Gene
> --
> No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
> ------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
> E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
> University of South Florida
> College of Marine Science Room 221A
> 140 Seventh Avenue South
> St. Petersburg, FL 33701
> <eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu>
> Tel 727 553-1158
> ---------------------------------- -----------------------------------
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Douglas Fenner
Ocean Associates, Inc. Contractor
NOAA Fisheries Service
Pacific Islands Regional Office
PO Box 7390
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799  USA

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