Will CO2 Drilling in Southern Utah Solve Global Warming?
February 19th, 2007 @ 5:10pm
John Hollenhorst Reporting
Work is underway in Southeastern Utah on a big and very expensive scientific experiment. The idea is to see if part of the solution to global warming is tucking greenhouse gases deep underground.
Most scientists are sure that Earth's climate is warming up and that a major culprit is carbon dioxide from industrial facilities like power plants. So, instead of up into the air, why not make it go down, into the ground?
A huge drill rig is digging a hole 7,000 feet deep. It's in the Aneth oil field, a vast area already peppered with hundreds of oil and gas wells near Blanding. In the new hole, scientists hope to prove a new concept: underground storage of a key greenhouse gas.
David Curtiss, Energy & Geoscience Institute, Univ. of Utah: "It's basically to reduce the amount of CO2 that is coming from man-made sources that is going into the atmosphere."
They're building a pipeline that will bring liquefied carbon-dioxide to the drill site. The plan is to pump the CO2 into the ground to see if it will stay there for thousands of years. They'll inject the liquid carbon into a deep saltwater aquifer and into depleted oil deposits.
David Curtiss, Energy & Geoscience Institute, Univ. of Utah: "It's in an area where we know fluids have been trapped because the oil was trapped there. And then, we also have an infrastructure to monitor what happens to that CO2 over time." Question: And the hope is that it would stay right where you put it? Answer: "Exactly."
For the experiment, liquid CO2 will be supplied by a company in Colorado that sells it commercially.
If the experiment works and leads to a real-life strategy against global warming, the C02 would come from power plants and other industrial operations. Carbon can be captured from coal-smoke, for example, by bubbling it through a chemical bath.
David Curtiss, Energy & Geoscience Institute, Univ. of Utah: "You know things like our cars also emit carbon. But frankly, it's going to be very difficult to capture that carbon."
Congress is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in this experiment and several others getting underway soon around the country.
David Curtiss: "It's a way that the federal government is actually showing leadership, to try to develop these technologies and prove that this is a viable place where we can actually put the carbon."
It's the first large-scale test of the concept in the United States. Once the drilling is complete, the CO2 injections are expected to begin. That will probably be in early March.
Nixon administration debated global warming
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 7/3/2010 1:27:38 AM ET
ORBA LINDA, Calif. — Global warming warnings were debated in President Richard Nixon's administration as early as 1969, according to newly released documents examined by The Orange County Register.
The 100,000 pages of presidential records made available by the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum on Friday also portray former Nixon's inner circle as being out of touch with the American people and their sentiments against the Vietnam War.
Most of the archived documents released Friday came from the files of Nixon's Democratic adviser Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Moynihan wrote in a September 1969 memo that it was "pretty clearly agreed" that carbon dioxide content would rise 25 percent by 2000,
"This could increase the average temperature near the earth's surface by 7 degrees Fahrenheit," he wrote. "This in turn could raise the level of the sea by 10 feet. Goodbye New York. Goodbye Washington, for that matter."
"I would think this is a subject that the Administration ought to get involved with," Moynihan wrote to John Ehrlichman, who in 1975 was convicted of conspiracy, perjury and obstruction for his role in the Watergate break-in and cover-up.
'Amazing documents' Moynihan was Nixon's counselor for urban affairs from January 1969, when Nixon began his presidency, to December 1970. "These are amazing documents," Library Director Tim Naftali told the Register.
From 1961 to 1976, Moynihan served in the Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford administrations. He served as the U.S. ambassador to India and the United Nations before serving four terms as U.S. senator from New York. He died in 2003.
Moynihan received a response in a Jan. 26, 1970, memo from Hubert Heffner, deputy director of the administration's Office of Science and Technology. Heffner acknowledged that atmospheric temperature rise was an issue that should be looked at.
"The more I get into this, the more I find two classes of doom-sayers, with, of course, the silent majority in between," he wrote. "One group says we will turn into snow-tripping mastodons because of the atmospheric dust and the other says we will have to grow gills to survive the increased ocean level due to the temperature rise."
Heffner wrote that he would ask the Environmental Science Services Administration to look further into the issue.
Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency and had an interest in the environment. In one memo, Moynihan noted his approval of the first Earth Day, to be held April 22, 1970.
"Clearly this is an opportunity to get the President usefully and positively involved with a large student movement," he wrote to Ehrlichman, Nixon's adviser on domestic affairs.
The files show Moynihan makes no bones about his political affiliation and bluntly states his opinions, the Register said.
30 Years of Global Cooling Are Coming, Leading Scientist Says
Published January 11, 2010
From Miami to Maine, Savannah to Seattle, America is caught in an icy grip that one of the U.N.'s top global warming proponents says could mark the beginning of a mini ice age.
Oranges are freezing and millions of tropical fish are dying in Florida, and it could be just the beginning of a decades-long deep freeze, says Professor Mojib Latif, one of the world's leading climate modelers.
Latif thinks the cold snap Americans have been suffering through is only the beginning. He says we're in for 30 years of cooler temperatures -- a mini ice age, he calls it, basing his theory on an analysis of natural cycles in water temperatures in the world's oceans.
Latif, a professor at the Leibniz Institute at Germany's Kiel University and an author of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, believes the lengthy cold weather is merely a pause -- a 30-years-long blip -- in the larger cycle of global warming, which postulates that temperatures will rise rapidly over the coming years.
At a U.N. conference in September, Latif said that changes in ocean currents known as the North Atlantic Oscillation could dominate over manmade global warming for the next few decades. Latif said the fluctuations in these currents could also be responsible for much of the rise in global temperatures seen over the past 30 years.
Latif is a key member of the UN's climate research arm, which has long promoted the concept of global warming. He told theDaily Mail that "a significant share of the warming we saw from 1980 to 2000 and at earlier periods in the 20th Century was due to these cycles -- perhaps as much as 50 percent."
The U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSICD) agrees that the cold temperatures are unusual, and that the world's oceans may play a part in temperatures on land.
"Has ocean variability contributed to variations in surface temperature? Absolutely, no one's denying that," said Mark Serreze, senior research scientist with NSIDC. But the Center disagrees with Latif's conclusions, instead arguing that the cold snap is still another sign of global warming.
"We are indeed starting to see the effects of the rise in greenhouse gases," he said.
Many parts of the world have been suffering through record-setting snowfalls and arctic temperatures. The Midwest saw wind chills as low as 49 degrees below zero last week, while Europe saw snows so heavy that Eurostar train service and air travel were canceled across much of the continent. In Asia, Beijing was hit by its heaviest snowfall in 60 years.
And as for the cold weather?
"This is just the roll of the dice, the natural variability inherent to the system," explained Serreze.
U.N.'s Global Warming Report Under Fresh Attack for Rainforest Claims
By Gene J. Koprowski
Published January 28, 2010
A United Nations report on climate change that has been lambasted for its faulty research is under new attack for yet another instance of what its critics say is sloppy science -- adding to a growing scandal that has undermined the credibility of scientists and policymakers who back the U.N.'s findings about global warming.
In the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), issued in 2007 by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scientists wrote that 40 percent of the Amazon rainforest in South America was endangered by global warming.
But that assertion was discredited this week when it emerged that the findings were based on numbers from a study by the World Wildlife Federation that had nothing to do with the issue of global warming -- and that was written by a freelance journalist and green activist.
The IPCC report states that "up to 40 percent of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation" -- highlighting the threat climate change poses to the Earth. The report goes on to say that "it is more probable that forests will be replaced by ecosystems ... such as tropical savannas."
But it has now been revealed that the claim was based on a WWF study titled "Global Review of Forest Fires," a paper barely related to the Amazon rainforest that was written "to secure essential policy reform at national and international level to provide a legislative and economic base for controlling harmful anthropogenic forest fires."
EUReferendum, a blog skeptical of global warming, uncovered the WWF association. It noted that the original "40 percent" figure came from a letter published in the journalNature that discussed harmful logging activities -- and again had nothing to do with global warming.
The reference to the Brazilian rainforest can be found in Chapter 13 of the IPCC Working Group II report, the same section of AR4 in which claims are made that the Himalayan glaciers are rapidly melting because of global warming. Last week, the data leading to this claim were disproved as well, a scandal being labeled "glacier-gate" or "Himalaya-gate."
The Himalaya controversy followed another tempest -- the disclosure of e-mails that suggested that leading global warming scientists in the U.K. and the U.S. had conspired to hide a decline in global temperatures.
"If it is true that IPCC has indeed faked numbers regarding the Amazon, or used unsubstantiated facts, then it is the third nail in the IPCC coffin in less than three months," Andrew Wheeler, former staff director for the U.S. Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee, told FoxNews.com. "For years, we have been told that the IPCC peer review process is the gold standard in scientific review. It now appears it is more of a fool's gold process."
Wheeler, who is now a senior vice president with B&D Consulting's Energy, Climate and Environment Practice in Washington, said the latest scandal calls into question the "entire underpinnings" of the IPCC's assessment and peer review process.
The U.N. did not return calls seeking comment on the scandal.
Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, vice chairman of the IPCC, was quoted in the European press as saying, "I would like to submit that this could increase the credibility of the IPCC, not decrease it. Aren't mistakes human? Even the IPCC is a human institution."
But not everyone agrees. Ross McKitrick, a professor of economics at the University of Guleph in Ontario, said the U.N. needs to start from scratch on global warming research and make a "full accounting" of how much of its research findings have been "likewise compromised."
McKitrick said this is needed because the U.N. acknowledged the inaccuracy of the data only now that its shortcomings have been exposed. "They are admitting what they did only because they were caught," he told FoxNews.com. "The fact that so many IPCC authors kept silent all this time shows how monumental has been the breach of trust."
Lubos Motl, a Czech physicist and former Harvard University faculty member, said the deforestation of the Amazon has occurred, but not because of global warming. He said it was due to social and economic reasons, including the clearing of cattle pastures, subsistence agriculture, the building of infrastructure and logging.
"Such economically driven changes are surely unattractive for those of us who prefer mysterious and natural forests," says Motl. "But they do help the people who live in Latin America."
The rapidly accumulating scandals surrounding climate change research appear to be driving the public away from its support for government measures to intervene. On Wednesday, Yale University and George Mason University released a survey showing that just 57 percent of respondents believe global warming "is happening." That was down 14 percentage points, from 71 percent, in October 2008. Fifty percent of people said they were "very" or "somewhat" worried about global warming, down 13 points from two years ago.
Another poll released Monday by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press asked respondents to rank 21 issues in terms of their priority. Global warming came in last.