Climate Change

Fracking Can Help Fix the CO2 Problem

Unplanned, disruptive innovation has reversed America's CO2 emission trends.

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Last year, humanity's output of carbon dioxide rose by 3 percent, reaching a rate of 2.4 million pounds per second. There is an angle to this datum to annoy just about everyone.

Suppose you're a conservative who doesn't believe in all that global-warmist malarkey. You've read about Climategate scientists trying to "hide the decline," you don't trust computer models and you think Michael Mann's "hockey stick" is a fraud. You're not convinced the planet is warming, doubt people have anything to do with it, and frankly don't care much if they do.

So, OK. For argument's sake, let's take global warming off the table. You still should care about CO2 emissions for another reason: ocean acidification. The oceans absorb a quarter to a third of the carbon dioxide humans release into the atmosphere, because carbon dioxide is soluble in water (hence, carbonated beverages). The CO2 reacts with seawater to form carbonic acid. The more carbon dioxide in the air, the more acidic the oceans.

The oceans are now roughly 30 percent more acidic than in the pre-industrial era. And unlike future climate change, the effects are already apparent. Just head down to the Tidewater area of Virginia or out to coastal Oregon and talk to the folks who raise shellfish.

Four years ago the Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery in Tillamook, Ore., lost millions of oyster larvae. The company found the problem was, yep, the overly acidic ocean water it was pumping in. Now it treats the water when the pH balance falls too far. "For us, the only thing that is correlated with mortality is the CO2 level," said owner Sue Cudd. She was talking to the magazine Seafood Business, not some Soros-funded outfit cranking out leftist agitprop. If current trends continue, by century's end the oceans could be twice as acidic as they are now. Ocean acidification matters, says Shallin Busch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, because of "the fish we eat and the things we make money off of."

Before we all put on the sackcloth and ashes, though, note some good news: America's carbon-dioxide emissions are actually falling. In fact, they have not been this low since 1992. And while no single factor can account for the entire shift, much of the credit goes to something environmentalists often detest: hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Among power sources, the worst source of CO2 emissions by far is coal. Natural gas generates half the CO2 per kilowatt-hour, and in the past few years natural gas has displaced coal to a remarkable degree. This year gas-fired electricity generation equaled coal-fired generation for the first time. According to the Energy Information Administration, that trend will continue as shale gas production rises from 5 trillion cubic feet in 2010 to more than 13 trillion cubic feet in 2035.  Fracking made this possible—by opening up the Marcellus shale deposit in Pennsylvania and many others. Twelve years ago, shale gas made up 2 percent of the U.S. supply. It now makes up 37 percent.

All of that was achieved without government direction—and in the face of considerable environmental resistance. Now the world's worst CO2 emitter, China—which gets 80 percent of its electricity from coal—has taken up fracking too. China's natural-gas reserves are 50 percent bigger than America's. If climate change is the worst danger facing the planet, as some environmentalists contend, then Chinese fracking should be good news.

But most environmentalists hate fracking. Instead, they have placed their bets on other horses—many of which have come up lame (see: Solyndra, Evergreen Solar, A123 Systems, et al.). And even green-energy pursuits insulated from market forces pack a remarkably weak punch. The Navy has just built a 10-acre solar-panel field at its Norfolk Naval Station, at a cost of $21 million in Obama stimulus money. It can power all of 200 homes—a mere 2 percent of the naval station's power needs. An audit says the money saved on utility bills will recoup the project's costs in roughly 447 years (not a typo).

This is part of a bigger pattern going back decades, in which environmentalists and politicians have backed loser after loser—from the Synthetic Fuels Corporation of the 1970s to the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles in the 1990s. That record of failure flows from two misapprehensions: (1) the belief that government central planners can simply legislate scientific progress, and (2) the suspicion that ostensibly soulless and rapacious energy companies would rather leave huge profits on the table than explore an unfamiliar energy source simply because it might be good for the Earth.

Meanwhile, the unplanned disruptive innovation of fracking has done what all those flops could not: reverse America's CO2 emission trends. It one day might reverse the world's. That story should increase another natural resource that is in woefully scarce supply in certain circles: humility.

NEXT: US to Lose Superpower Status by 2030, According to National Intelligence Council

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  1. Why concede that co2 is bad?

    I don’t understand the premise. CO2 levels have been far higher throughout history. To blame humans ocean acidification via co2 is a stretch to start. Why care?

    I want fracking cause it’s cheap energy. The end.

    1. Exactly. More CO2, more vegetation to absorb CO2.

      The real problem is enviroleftism hostile to economic freedom.

      1. It really is that simple to you guys isn’t it? How depressing. You can dismiss all of current science in a particular field with a factoid you picked up in kindergarten. Plants eat CO2, thus there can never be too much CO2. Brilliant. Honorary PhD material right there.

        1. Or it could even be that focusing on the last 4 billion years of data instead of the last 15 minutes leaves some people a lot less panicked about the concentration of any given gas in earth’s atmosphere than others. Regurgitating your Thomas Malthus isn’t any better than regurgitating your kindergarten science. And watching An Inconvenient Truth only qualifies you for an Oscar or a Nobel prize – certainly not your PhD.

        2. Well Tony, I try to write at your level.

          Anyhow, typical straw man. No one said anything like “there can never be too much CO2”. Didn’t expect you to catch any nuance.

          I don’t dismiss current science, I pay attention to it and to the various actors. Who doesn’t pay attention to real science is people like you who always refer to authority instead of thinking critically.

          All that has come to light tells me that the alarmists are exactly that and little else. Climate changes, always has and always will. The anthropogenic contribution, though not zero, is negligible.

          The smoking gun has not been found in the data and the empirical evidence does not support theories of climate doom.

          You can try, but you won’t be able to provide any evidence to counter that.

    2. Are you crazy?! The Kochtopus has you right where it wants you, supporting big oil that will murder the children and Mother Gaia for evil profits!

      The science is settled! NEED MOAR REVENUE!!!!

    3. CO2 levels have been far higher throughout history.

      And when they were, the dominant lifeform on Earth was not a 6′ tall, warm-blooded, grass-eating ape.

      To blame humans ocean acidification via co2 is a stretch to start.

      If by “stretch” you mean “confirmed by testing around the world”.

      1. And when they were, the dominant lifeform on Earth was not a 6′ tall, warm-blooded, grass-eating ape.

        You mean 60 million years ago? Pretty sure you’re incorrect there.

  2. “While no single factor can account for the entire shift, much of the credit goes to something environmentalists often detest: hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.”

    I think the reason why so many environmentalists detest fracking publicly is becasue environmental groups are largely financed by donations, and with anti-fracking being in the news over the past few years, coming out against fracking can drive more donations than you could get otherwise.

    If gas plants spew 45% less CO2 than coal plants, instead of fighting against more gas plants opening, environmentalists should be fighting to open as many gas plants as possible to replace coal. Yeah, I’m accusing many professional environmentalists of being incredibly disingenuous to the point that they will advocate against things that actually help the environment–just to get more donations.

    1. So, are you saying that if we cut down all the forests to put up windmills, that is a bad thing?

    2. They didnt support Nuke power either, which releases far less CO2 and other pollutants than coal.

      1. And also releases less radioactivity into the air than coal.

    3. This is the same reason they are against GMOs and nuclear power.

      Fear drives donations. Invisible radiation creates more paranoia than coal cust. Food manipulation is easier to make people scared of than climate change.

      We’re hard wired to be afraid of things we can’t see. And we’re hard wired to be paranoia about food. So it’s easier to scare people with GMOs and radiation and get a lot of donations that way than to get them to be afraid of global warming occuring on 100s of years time scales.

      1. Just wait until they learn that solar is derived from an unregulated nuclear fusion reactor.

        1. Extraplanetary warming! OUR SOLAR PANELS ARE CAUSING THE GALAXY TEMPS TO RISE!

          1. This fusion reactor, aka Sol, has been identified with skin cancer, massive disruption of electronics, global warming, and has been positively identified as a threat to destroy the entire planet.

            1. It must be stopped! NOW!

            2. Well, then it’s clear. We need a star tax!

              1. Don’t forget all of those other stars, shining their light without permission on the Earth.

            3. has been positively identified as a threat to destroy the entire planet

              Will, too; in a billion years or so it’ll expand so big that it’ll boil off all water from the surface of the Earth.

              Somebody’s children are going to be killed by this runaway nuclear reactor.

    4. I have met activists in Williamsburg trying to distribute material opposing fracking …

      (for some reason, Williamsburg BKLYN is some kind of Prime Location for these young petition-gatherers…there’s a half dozen of them almost every weekend doing everything from Saving the Children, ensuring a womens right to choose is not infringed, gathering support for Wind Farm promotion, etc. I really don’t know what the fuck they’re thinking, since most of the people on the street are broke-ass recent college grads just like them. They’d be better off on the upper West Side farming for liberal white guilt, but apparently that’s no fun.)

      …anyway, the anti-fracker? I ask him – “explain how fracking works and why its bad”.

      It didn’t go well. It boiled down to something like ‘poisoning water supply’, and ‘anything that makes fossil fuels cheaper is wrong’… because Fossil Fuels should be expensive because they’re ‘bad’.

      My conviction is that opponents of Fracking do so largely out of a reflexive instinct that anything energy producers do that isnt “solar/wind/hydro” etc. is probably bad and evil and killing mother nature. i dont think they give a shit about the technology or that Natural Gas is significantly cleaner = they simply oppose these things because they are labeled as part of the ‘Big Evil Corporashuns’, which they must oppose on ideological grounds regardless of the issue.

      1. Hydro is terrible for the environment. It might not seem like it, but it wrecks river ecosystems.

        1. As has been pointed out bajillions of times, basically *all* of the ‘renewable’ energy sources (solar, wind, hydro, biofuels, etc) are horrible for the environment in one way or another because of the massive resources (e.g. land in most cases) they require for any sigificant generation capacity, then transmission, etc.

          When you explain to the average Envirotard =

          “in order to source even 50% of our energy needs from ‘renewables’ – of any kind – we’re going to have to cover every square inch of land – including parks! – with wind and solar facilities, dam every river, and somehow still manage to triple agricultural output because we’ll need a landmass the size of canada to grow the biofuels for our oil-free cars… basically, we have to stop making food altogether…”

          There’s this stubborn blank look they get, like, “Oh, another one of those ‘economic reality’ people..”, and they begin to recite this prepared mantra,

          “…obviously thats silly, and people keep describing this unrealistic scenario as a reason *not to try* alternative energy… but unless we start affecting change now, we’ll never get to where the world needs to go…”

          …basically, arguments which point out, “renewable energy is *impractical* in any large scale!”… are just ignored and sidestepped. They believe reality can be made to conform to their ideals.

      2. “My conviction is that opponents of Fracking do so largely out of a reflexive instinct that anything energy producers do that isnt “solar/wind/hydro” etc. is probably bad and evil and killing mother nature.”

        Yeah, it’s like a flavor of the month kind of cause.

        It’s like a lifestyle choice for a lot of them. Some people ride Vespas. Some people go Vegan. Some people are against fracking.

  3. An audit says the money saved on utility bills will recoup the project’s costs in roughly 447 years (not a typo).

    I LOLed at that.

    You’re not convinced the planet is warming, doubt people have anything to do with it, and frankly don’t care much if they do.

    You know you could accept that global warming is happening, and think its part of a natural cycle. Or you could think global warming is happening, and just think that most of the efforts to combative will be utterly ineffective and will hurt people now rather than in the future. Their are a lot of reasons why people think the whole Global Warming thing is “malarkey”, not just ignorance.

    1. Or you might think that raising the percentage of the atmosphere that is CO2 from 0.03% to 0.04% (or even, ZOMG, 0.05% eventually) might have some small, marginal effects that are greatly swamped by natural solar cycles, and recognize that all that cheap energy is going to be deployed to raise human living standards anyway, no matter what schemes enviro-wackos hatch to try to stop it.

      1. The natural solar cycle is cooling, but the Earth is still warming. At this point, we’ve already swamped the natural solar cycle variance.

        As for your percentage, the difference between the 19th century and the Ice Age is a 0.01% CO2 concentration. Small changes in CO2 percentages can make a very large difference in Earth’s temperature.

        1. The earth is still warming? I think your about 10 years behind the numbers.

        2. Small changes in CO2 percentages can make a very large difference in Earth’s temperature.

          Awesome! I’m freezing my balls off right now and all the local farms are shut down. It’ll be nice when I can go out and get a tan in December and have fresh, local produce 11 months out of the year.

    2. just think that most of the efforts to combative will be utterly ineffective and will hurt people now

      I tend to go with this option. I think that human activity is probably affecting the climate. I also think that there is nothing that can be done about it. Even if the US and Europe completely stopped CO2 emissions, the developing world is still going to use fossil fuels as fast as they can get them. The solution to global warming is to adapt to warmer temperatures and different weather patterns, not some stupid fantasy that you can get people to stop using the most readily available and versatile energy source.

  4. Nothing is ever good enough. Modern environmentalists are always looking for a new boogeyman to raise money against.

    1. Well, you can’t very well be a constant victim without said boogeyman to be victimized by.

  5. Again, the environmentalists are a bit late to the game on fracking.

    We are well on our way into a boom (in certain parts of the country) driven by fracking, and they think they are going to put a stop to it?

    Fools. There is far too much money, including TAX MONEY, on the line to put a stop to it at this point. Even if there were any serious risks involved (and there’s little evidence that there are).

    This is about clean-energy nazis suddenly realizing at the last minute (or rather several years after it) that wind and solar aren’t the only “alternative” fuel sources to coal. Then frantically attempting to put the kibosh on gas so that money will be forced into wind and solar energy instead.

    In the meantime, they’re trying to stop a boom that’s already making a lot of people a lot of money. It’s almost ludicrous to think this is going to have any real effect. If you want to stop a new technology, you need to invent fake reasons to be against it BEFORE people start seeing the economic benefits, stupid.

    1. This is about clean-energy nazis suddenly realizing at the last minute (or rather several years after it) that wind and solar aren’t the only “alternative” fuel sources to coal. Then frantically attempting to put the kibosh on gas so that money will be forced into wind and solar energy instead.

      How DARE people invest in economically sound energy sources and not all the proper hair-shirts, appointed by those on high.

  6. Why do you think they call it fracking, durr! Fracking rapes Mother Gaia and is causing earthquakes.

    And what does fracking produce? OIL! That’s what, and everyone knows that oil profits are used for only one purpose, to enslave children and women, and put minorities back in chains.

    You Rethtuglicans really are the terrorists.

    1. Does fracking produce oil? I thought it was purely a natural gas thing.

      1. I believe that it produces both.

        1. I just used oil because it is such a boogeyman for the greenies.

          1. And I guess it would be hard to make a commercial of helpless wildlife with their fur coated in natural gas.

        2. Either way, wimminz and mynoriteez suffer.

      2. Whatever it is, IT SETS PEOPLE’S WATER ON FIRE, ZOMG!!!

      3. It does in South Texas.

      4. They want to learn how to use it in a different type of rock to recover oil but right now its mainly CH4 they get out.

  7. Natural gas is the future of energy. It is replacing dirty old coal plants, and dangerous expensive nuclear plants. It will fuel cars, vans, buses, locomotives, aircraft, ships, tractors, air conditioners, engines of all kinds. It costs far less. It will help keep us out of more useless wars, where we shed our blood and money. It is used to make many products. It lowers CO2 emissions. Over 3,400 natural gas story links on my free blog. An annotated bibliography of live links, updated daily. The worldwide picture of natural gas.
    ronwagnersrants . blogspot . com

    1. dangerous expensive nuclear plants

      One of those is true.

    2. Natural gas is the short term future of energy.

      This statement might be correct.

      1. In consumables everything is short term except that which is very short term or flatly unfeasible.

        Human history is full of consumable shortages. Stone Age flint shortages are evident in the fossil record, with re-use of broken flint tools, and the spread of more efficient flaking methods. Wood shortages in the Bronze Age caused new shipbuilding methods in the Mediterranean, spawning stronger, lighter, faster ships. Oh, and their forests grew back too.

        1. Our shortage of fossil fuel will most definitely spark the actual nuclear Renaissance since it is the only large scale and deployable non-fossil energy source.

          We currently extract less than 1% of the energy from nuclear fuel. There is a lot of room for innovation if we can reform the regulatory body (NRC) to actually assist in moving the nuclear industry ahead instead of causing decades of reviews and re-reviews leading to massive costs. We used to license nukes to be built in less than a year. Now it takes at least a decade to even get to the point of building the facility after submitting the proposal to the NRC.

        2. Oh, and their forests grew back too.

          Not all of them.

      2. Until someone else develops another new technology that allows you to extract more natural gas.

        Then it’s the long term future again.

        This is all Paul Ehrlich/Julian Simon territory again. People fail to take into account how advances in technology will change resource utilization patterns and make previously inaccessible resources available for extraction. Not to mention market forces and price signals making previously unprofitable deposits worthy of extraction.

        The high price of gas around the early part of the 2000s is likely what made it profitable to develop fracking technology, which has not resulted in a countervailing glut of gas on the market.

        1. er s/not/now

        2. Until someone else develops another new technology that allows you to extract more natural gas.

          That’s assuming that natural gas is the only energy source people are going to look at.

    3. Natural gas is the future of energy.

      That’s what I was hearing out of Enviros back in the 70s and 80s. They loved natural gas, until suddenly they didn’t. Talking to Enviros I know, I couldn’t find any significant reasons for the change. Like miniskirts and see-thru blouses, it simply went out of style.

      1. Miniskirts and see-through blouses are never really out of style.

        1. There used to be this little redhead receptionist who wore miniskirts, see-thru blouses and no bra back when that was in fashion… I was always surprised I could look her in the face and talk to her. I have to say I fantasized how I could get away with murdering him and arranging to console the widow envied her husband.

          1. Go on…

            1. You have to know I took every opportunity to make sales and delivery calls to her facility. I loved it when she was on the phone when I came in, so I could stare freely while she was typing or writing.

          2. You have just told a story in which no milfs were nailed. Now prepare to suffer the wrath of the angry Reasonoids.

            1. She was no MILF. She was early twenties.

      2. What happened was it became cheap and abundant. There’s nothing that environmentalists hate more than cheap and abundant energy. That allows humans to do all kinds of planet destroying activities, which is bad. Energy should be expensive and scarce, only in the hands of Top Men, to keep humans from destroying the planet.

        1. This. Yes.

          This is the subtext behind a lot of environmental activism on the subject. They don’t just want us to stop emitting CO2. They want us to “change our lifestyles”.

          And that “changing” of lifestyles includes all sorts of things that have nothing to do with CO2. They would like to do away with factory farming, for instance. There is a large crossover with 1960s hippies who think we should return to a more agrarian rural lifestyle.

      3. Bill’s Law of Environmental Energy Support:

        The environmental movement’s support for an energy source is inversely proportional to that energy source’s feasibility as an energy source.

      4. it simply went out of style.

        I think you are missing the point.

        It is out of style because it is now feasible.

        Just look at how windmill off the Atlantic coast were stopped. As soon as a project was proposed with real financial backing all the environmentalists suddenly cried that all the birds and natural views would be destroyed.

        1. As soon as a project was proposed with real financial backing all the environmentalists suddenly cried that all the birds and natural views would be destroyed.

          I think it has more to do with the fact that it’s wealthy elites (i.e. liberals) who own waterfront property in the NorthEast, and NIMBY came into play.

          Wind is just fucking peachy when the farms destroy mountain-top vistas and kill wildlife in Bunfuck, WV, not so cool when they screw with the view from Martha’s Vineyard.

          1. Fucking exactly!

            This is why I should read all the way down a thread before posting.

      5. Any form of energy that is deployable at large enough scale to sustain a modern quality of life is the bane of the environmentalists’ existence. As soon as something reaches that level of scale, regardless of what it is, they will instantly oppose it.

        1. Didn’t scroll down, I see I was way late to the party with this comment.

    4. Don’t forget about fusion, because sooner or later someone is going to find the right beer can to produce a fusion reaction in.

      1. Ha! Total conversion is the only way. In order to promote this, I’m going to release several tons of antimatter in the streets of major cities, so that the common man can have some, too. Fly, be free!

      2. I imagine that they’ll suddenly realize that fusion does produce (minimal) radiation and go from there.

        1. + we would rape luna for fusion fuel, they have that also.

    5. Commercial nuclear power has not killed a single person in North America in its history. You are as gullible as the Greenpeace fanatics if you think nuclear power is some evil dangerous thing.

      Zero people have been killed due to radiation from Fukushima. The most credible model predicts a likely 130 people total will die from cancer caused by Fukushima over the coming decades. Over 300,000 people die per year from cancer in Japan regardless of Fukushima.

      You have less of a chance of dying from cancer living in the Fukushima exclusion zone than living in Tokyo and breathing in all the fine particulate from fossil fuel burning.

      And this is a worst case, triple meltdown, of a western style nuclear reactor.

      In North America, more people were recently killed by natural gas in Indiana than in the history of commercial nuclear power in the U.S.. Where is the outrage and 24/7 media coverage for months?

      About your claim of it being expensive, here is an article from Forbes that actually reviews all of our energy sources and prices them over the lifetime of a typical installation. The only thing cheaper than nuclear power was hydro: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ja…..l-lagging/

      It is foolish to believe NG’s price will stay low when every gas company is working overtime to figure out how to export it and bring its price up to the world market price (which is much higher than in North America).

      1. Haven’t you ever played STALKER, Shadow of Chernobyl? Fallout creates mutated creatues that will eat the children! Why do you hate the children?

        1. The grocery store around the corner is currently selling bananas… laced with RADIOACTIVE POTASSIUM!!!! It’s a conspiracy!

      2. As an ex Navy Nuke, I’m going to poke a few holes in your pro-nuke apologia:

        Nuclear Power is only inexpensive in light of government guarantees towards liability. The problem is that when nuclear goes bad… really bad… the liability payouts are astronomical. It doesn’t matter that nobody has died outright as a result of radiation, or radioactive contamination from a nuke plant.

        What matters is that a uncontrolled release of radioactive material can kill a bunch of people/injure* and render a large patch of property unusable. And these things will happen eventually because it’s impossible to plan for every contingency (despite the fact that the nuclear industry spends vast sums of money attempting just that) and sooner or later if you wait long enough, a highly improbable event will happen.

        At this point there are very serious structural problems with nuclear power, primarily due to regulation:

        1) The regulatory regime essentially makes only large reactors economical – making them very capital intensive (and concentrating lots of nuclear material in one spot).

        2) The government liability backstop discourages innovation on the safety front, because there is no cost savings to the utility (the premiums don’t go down because the insurance that the utility purchases remains maxed out)

        3) The rules against fuel reprocessing/disposal mean that large quantities of fuel are dangerously concentrated on site… this is what caused the Fukushima disaster. (cont)

        1. My guess is that absent govt regulation, you’d see a very different nuclear power industry, using smaller reactors in facilities far from population centers and a lot of reprocessed fuel, and *then* one could argue that it’s cheaper – except for the cost from I^2 R losses due to transporting electricity across long distances via non-superconducting cables. 🙂

          1. I like the work being done by Terra Power. If the TRW works like it’s supposed to, I don’t see any energy source that could compare.

        2. Yes it can go bad. But on a per tWh basis, nuclear power, worldwide, has the lowest death toll over anything else we have for power generation.

          Chernobyl, the only credible example of commercial nuclear power causing wide spread death and injury directly from radiation, is virtually impossible in a western style reactor. Chernobyl had no containment and was an awful design, neutronically.

          Fukushima is literally a worst case scenario for western nuclear power. Zero people have died. The land will not be unusable for very long, it should be usable now. The level of radiation in the exclusion zone is less than background radiation levels in a lot of places in the world. The problem is we are overly scared of low level radiation.

          For your points:

          1) Mostly agree. The NRC does not push for innovation, it inhibits it by a large margin.

          2) I would say there is still incentive to have a safer plant as the NRC is still watching them under a microscope. Anything to avoid forced shutdown by the NRC saves a lot of money.

          3) I assume here you are talking about spent fuel pools? Spent fuel had no part in the Fukushima disaster. The release of radiation was due to a zircaloy and steam reaction that produces hydrogen. The core was melting down and hydrogen was building so it had to be released. When this happened volatile fission products escaped with the hydrogen. This was the source of radiation from Fukushima. The spent fuel had no part in any radioactive release.

          1. My understanding was that the initial hydrogen explosions originated in the spent fuel pools above the reactor…

            I’ll have to look into this at some point when I have time.

            1. The vent design of the building above the reactor was stupid. When they vented the hydrogen it vented into the reactor building (outside containment) and had no way to escape. Once it reached the lower explosive level, we had the hydrogen explosions.

              1. Ahhhh, that makes sense.

                I had surmised that the spent fuel pool had heated up to the point where the zircaloy reaction was taking place.

                I read that the explosion damaged the reactor vessel and pretty much eliminated the containment system’s ability to contain stuff.

                1. Yes, I think you are correct that there was damage to the outer cement containment building. The reactor core containment held up.

                2. By the way, I regularly regret not enlisting in Navy Nuke school. I went the way of directly to school and now wish I had taken those 5-6 years and joined.

                  All the ex-navy nukes I have met seem to be smart guys, hard workers.

                  1. You missed nothing but a massive bunch of BS.

                    Seriously…

                    I once extended my division’s working hours so that they could paint over dirt on the bulkheads in my Reactor Room. For three weeks they worked 10 hour days on top of being on three section duty (one day out of three was spent on the ship standing watch in addition to regular duties).

                    I never worked with as high a concentration of emotionally defective people as I encountered in the Navy.

                    1. You missed nothing but a massive bunch of BS.

                      Yes.

                      I never worked with as high a concentration of emotionally defective people as I encountered in the Navy.

                      Yes.

                      Submarine nukes have it even worse. Refits are 80+ hour/week marathons of much suck. Going duty section was like heaven. The only time I ever had 10 hour days was during off-crew. The only “port call” we made was to Port Caniveral. It took us 3.5 days to get somewhere (nobody wants to go) you could have driven in 5 hours.

                      Had I known what a giant pile suck the Nuke Navy was going to be I’d have been a shit-chaser or paint jockey on some tin can. I’d have advanced just as rapidly and I’ve actually gotten to see the world. Being a Nuke sucked, and employers don’t know anything about or give a shit about the training.

                    2. tarran,

                      You might find interesting, the MIT nuclear engineering department’s report on lessons learned from Fukushima. I too, thought at the time that they were fighting a spent fuel fire, and wondered why in hell they had a spent fuel pool 40 feet above grade, in an earthquake zone. Turns out the fuel assemblies were under water all of the time. Which, considering the Very Bad Things that can happen with a fuel pond fire, is very fortunate.

                      As it is, would you want to have to try and sell your land within 20 miles of Fukushima to a buyer, in a place as rad-phobic as Japan? I mean TEPCO will obfuscate and lie about how much radioactive material left the plant—seems to be their M.O.—but I still wouldn’t want to have to try and sell my land if I were a landowner in that potentially affected zone.

                    3. Oh, and, provided either of you can even answer the question, tarran or Redmanfms, given security: Since a modern naval reactor runs on something like 95%+ U-235, (as opposed to a civilian PWR/BWR’s 20% or so) how does the design avoid inadvertent runaway criticality in the event of, e.g., battle damage? When I read the above fuel composition in a report while reading about Project Sapphire, the thought that occurred to me was that your boats/ships are being driven by a controlled Little Boy. That didn’t strike me as very safe, and I’m sure I’m missing something.

                    4. It’s actually a very knotty problem:

                      U.S. naval reactors are designed so that if power to the reactor control system is lost, gravity will drive the rods into the reactor and the nuclear reaction will go sub-critical instantly.

                      The control rod set up is such that with one rod fully withdrawn, you could pump incredibly cold water into the reactor, and it wouldn’t go critical (let alone prompt critical which is the bad kind of criticality)

                      This increases safety, but also makes the reactor less reliable in battle conditions. If say sea water flooding short circuits the rod control system on a submarine, that submarine will lose the reactor and will have to make do with the heat stored in the primary system to keep operating.

                      The Russians, conversely, operated with systems that required positive control to drive the control rods in. In the fire aboard a ballistic missile sub that occurred off the coast of North Carolina, that meant that one of their LT’s and reactor operators took turns entering the Reactor Compartment to manually crank the control rods fully into the reactor.

                    5. It killed either one or both of the guys sent in to do it on that Yankee that went down. The book, and HBO movie, Hostile Waters, goes into detail about the boat and its crew. At least the SL-1 was quick; that michmanny in the Soviet reactor went in there pretty much knowing that he was going to die.

                    6. Haha thanks for a non-BS overview of the navy.

          2. Fukushima is literally a worst case scenario for western nuclear power. Zero people have died. The land will not be unusable for very long, it should be usable now. The level of radiation in the exclusion zone is less than background radiation levels in a lot of places in the world. The problem is we are overly scared of low level radiation.

            I recomment the documentary Radioactive Wolves.

            http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature…..tion/7108/

            Pretty much lays it out there how the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone has turned into a wildlife refuge where the animals are apparently suffering no ill effects from radiation. Except maybe in a very small area near the plant (the Red Forest).

            1. I have read something about this, but not the PBS article. There are people who never left the exclusion zone around Chernobyl and people who have decided to move back and I don’t believe any of them have shown any increased signs of cancers or disease.

              I don’t know what I would do if I lived around Chernobyl, but their is a good chance that the evacuation has caused more pain and suffering than what the radiation ever could have.

              This is definitely the case with Fukushima.

        3. As an ex Navy Nuke

          Twidget, wire biter, or mechanic?

          Floater or bubblehead?

            1. ossifer

              Figures.

              You guys were issued monocles in Power School. I had to legitimately earn mine, ha. After I got out and 80+ work weeks suddenly started offering monetary rewards that is.

            2. You forgot about SL1. Although it was run by the army.

              1. Only the army would be so hide bound as to take a new tech like nuclear power and use it to power a spear. 😉

                1. Only the army would be so hide bound as to take a new tech like nuclear power and use it to power a spear.

                  O.K…that shit was funny. It’s rare that I actually LOL at something LOL-worthy, but that did it.

                  What a way to go. Are their corpses still lethally radioactive? I vaguely remember something about their having to be buried in a lead lined coffin, along with a bridge abutment’s worth of concrete.

        4. Much of the fear about a serious accident has to do with the light water reactor design which was pushed into implementation by Adm. Hyman Rickover. Pebble bed and traveling wave reactors are two designs that cannot have a runaway reaction and cannot suffer a meltdown. At one point, China was planning to build 200 pebble bed reactors. I haven’t read anything about these plans recently but I assume they are still going ahead with it and I applaud this effort.

          1. There are great designs out there which provide even more safety than the almost pristine record of light water and heavy water reactors.

            I would love to see the NRC restructure to push for nuclear innovation and have these built. The NRC should move back to the regulatory mandates of its former self, the Atomic Energy Commission.

        5. “Nuclear Power is only inexpensive in light of government guarantees towards liability.”

          No, that’s not really true. You are probably referring to the ‘Price-Anderson’ act. It does Not subsidize the cost of insurance. It was passed in 1957 and “The Act establishes a no fault insurance-type system in which the first approximately $12.6 billion (as of 2011) is industry-funded as described in the Act. Any claims above the $12.6 billion would be covered by a Congressional mandate to retroactively increase nuclear utility liability or would be covered by the federal government.”

          So the act creates a giant risk pool for the entire nuclear industry. True the Federal government could cover the costs, but post-Deep Water Horizon this seems unlikely. Indemnifying the entire industry is Not the same as a government subsidy.

      3. The only thing cheaper than nuclear power was hydro

        And yet we are taking out dams with calls to take out even more…not installing new ones.

    6. “Natural gas is the future of energy. It is replacing dirty old coal plants, and dangerous expensive nuclear plants. It will fuel cars, vans, buses, locomotives, aircraft, ships, tractors, air conditioners, engines of all kinds.”

      Obama is such a dope.

      I am in no way advocating for stimulus spending, but (no matter what Keynes says) I think it really does matter what you spend stimulus on.

      Instead of the president squandering $800 billion effectively keeping state and local government employees overpaid and overemployed for a little while longer, he should have used that money to do something tangible.

      I mean, my first choice is no stimulus at all, but if you’re going to ignore that advice, why not use that money to build a natural gas distribution network–and make it so your local highway gas station can sell natural gas?

      Better for the environment, there would have been real economic benefits–the economy would not be so sensitive to fluctuations in oil prices–and it would be better if we had fewer reasons to commit treasure and troops internationally…

      But if Obama had tried to do something like that? I suspect the environmentalists would have opposed it. If cutting CO2 emissions means making it easier for more people to have more energy sources, then the environmentalists rather not cut CO2 emissions.

      See their position on fracking for evidence.

      1. The problem is natural gas has a highly volatile price. Far more than oil. You can’t really store it for very long so the supply has to keep coming from the ground or our reserves dry up pretty quick.

        As soon as we really start using the glut of NG we have right now from fracking, the price will easily top $8/million BTU. We are currently in the $3 range.

        1. “The problem is natural gas has a highly volatile price. Far more than oil. You can’t really store it for very long so the supply has to keep coming from the ground or our reserves dry up pretty quick.”

          Right.

          So a vast pipeline/distribution network is necessary to make a steady supply of it available all the time.

          That way we don’t have to store it!

          It’s just that it would require a gigantic financial commitment to build the infrastructure necessary for such a distribution system.

          And that’s where that stimulus money might have been worthwhile. I’m still against stimulus spending–across the board–but if they were gonna spend it anyway, they might as well have spent it on something tangible that really could have been beneficial for a long time to come.

          1. I agree with you. But I really don’t have that much confidence in natural gas being widely available for much more than 30 years.

            Even if it is, NG will not stay at its extremely low price for much longer. If we want to rely on supply and demand setting the price, it can’t.

            1. 30 years? Bullshit. It is very cost effective. I was just in Thailand and the country is crawling with NGV’s and fueling stations.

              http://online.wsj.com/article/…..52177.html

              1. I’m talking time before we reach peak gas and production starts decreasing.

                The industry claims 100 years, but if you look at how they arrive there, that is a pretty optimistic estimate. If we greatly increase consumption, this time frame will decrease pretty quickly.

                1. “before we reach peak gas…”

                  Is your term “peak gas” referring to GASoline or Natural GAS? It’s not clear in your context.

                  If you mean gasoline, it isn’t necessary to wait for the peak before NG becomes widely available. I already gave an example of Thailand and there are many other countries following that track

                  The article I cited mentioned a woman getting 93 miles on $3 of NG.

                  That would be like getting more than 100 mpg at today’s gasoline rates. I’d convert my car for that payoff.

      2. I think it really does matter what you spend stimulus on.

        Yes if we had no taxes collected from 2009 to 2010 we would be out of the recession.

        Ditto if he had simply given the money away to everyone.

        But you are saying if he had picked the right horse. (picked the right winners and loser) we would be better off.

        In this you are fundamentally wrong.

        The reason why a high debt-to-GDP is so detrimental to growth is because the money spent pushes out real economic activity.

        Instead of actually finding the next light bulb or iPad for money people go after the low hanging fruit of government hand outs.

        This is how resources get misallocated and how overspending harms growth.

        1. I’m saying that using it the way he did–mostly to keep government union employees employed at the same high pay for longer–was more of a waste than spending it on just about anything else.

          I’m against stimulus spending across the board, but spending it on some things is worse than others.

          Obama basically spent it on government largess, which was a lot dumber than doing something with it that might have had some real benefits.

  8. The solution to all of this was invented 50 years ago, the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor.

    energyfromthorium.com

    1. Fluoridation of our nuclear reactors? Trying to introduce that into our precious bodily fluids and nuclear reactors, what are you some sort of commie?

      1. Feed me, Mandrake

    2. The molten salt reactor is a great design and I hope it is built sooner than later.

      Too bad it will not be built in the US for years. The NRC is one of the most bloated inefficient regulatory agencies in the world. This will not be licensed in the US until someone else has fully built one and patented it so the US has to now purchase it from them.

      And we wonder what happened to American ingenuity? Bureaucracy.

  9. It will help keep us out of more useless wars

    I’m not buying that one.

    1. Yeah, that’s a pretty laughable statement.

      1. wishful thinking at best

        1. I’m not buying that one.

          I think he’s saying that future wars will, at last, be useful.

      2. It might result in the federal government waging different useless and counterproductive wars than it otherwise would.

        1. The formula is simple:

          Find the poorest and most backward country that is least equipped to fight back, label them terrorists, proceed to bomb the hell out of them.

  10. I remember back in… lemme see now, three jobs ago, so 2002-ish our GM talking about how we were no longer really an oil equipment company. Most of the company’s revenue derived from equipment used to produce natural gas. I can only imagine that trend hasn’t reversed.

  11. This is the third time in three months that fracking research by energy-friendly university industry consortiums has been discredited.

    But the only conflicts of interest in this debate are those of scientists doing the bidding of their overlord Al Gore, whatever that might be.

    1. yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn

      Did you say something stupid again? Shocker.

      1. Tony has to be against evil frackin ya know, it’s the proglodyte way.

    2. Not good, but fracking is still totally safe.

    3. Democrats good.

      Republicans bad.

      Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

      1. In this context, it’s Democrats: believe in facts. Republicans: believe in whatever they pull from their ass.

    4. That story says nothing about the safety of fracking.

      1. It says reports claiming that it’s safe are tainted by conflicts of interest.

        If this sort of thing happened with global warming science you guys would declare the entire enterprise a hoax. You’ve probably already done so with much less of a controversy.

        1. In other words, you couldn’t find anything wrong with the data or the analysis, so question the funding. Because interest groups funding science is totally wrong and stuff. Unless, of course, they are Top Men.

  12. Kinda ironic that the same hardcore leftist environmentalists who believe in emergent order with regards to nature are openly hostile to laissez-faire economics.

    Whatever. They won’t be satisfied until humans are reduced to Stone Age living, all one with the planet and stuff.

    Poverty is romantic.

    1. Sarc, am I not free to gambol across the fracked rock and plain?

      For a process called “fracking”….

    2. They won’t be satisfied until other humans are reduced to Stone Age living, all one with the planet and stuff.

      I have meant very few, make that no, greenies willing to make any kind of substantial sacrifice in their own lifestyle. Their schemes are generally calculated to leave someone else footing the bill.

      1. You hit it spot on, with the ‘other’ word. The peasants should all live in caves and subsist on whatever they can forage, while the enlightened ones, which would be them of course, live in the shining city on the hill with all of their toys.

      2. I have meant very few, make that no, greenies willing to make any kind of substantial sacrifice in their own lifestyle.

        Sure they would. But everyone else must be forced to do it first.

        They’d be willing to sacrifice their own lifestyle if it meant satisfying their wealth envy.

      3. Personal morality doesn’t fix broken systems. That’s why you drive on the roads.

        1. ROOOOAAAAADZZZZZZZ!!!!ONE11eLeVeNtYONE!!

          Needs moar SOMALIA!!!!!!!!

      4. I know a few. Some off the grid types and a few people who gave up having a car for environmental reasons. But there sure aren’t too many of them.

        1. Don’t forget the greenie-celebrity types that own hybrid cars yet ride in private jets.

          1. Try to imagine the “carbon footprint” of a $100million Dicaprio movie. A completely unnecessary piece of crap whose primary purpose is to enrich the elite at the top of the Hollywood pyramid (lead actors, producers, directors, etc.)

            Is this not the shining example of the capitalist monster “they” are always ranting about?

            1. Nevertheless, Inception was awesome

    3. Whatever. They won’t be satisfied until humans are reduced to Stone Age living, all one with the planet and stuff.

      And not even then. At that point they will realize how much modification Stone Age people do, starting with burning the land twice a year. Amerinds did it. Australian aborigines still do.

      Poverty is romantic.

      After somebody burned down my place, I lived in a hole in the side of a hill (with logs and alternating layers of plastic sheeting and dirt for a roof) for 5 months before I had enough money to get indoors again. They should try that before deciding Stone Age poverty is romantic.

      1. Which 5 months would be key there. I could see spending a summer in a hole in the hill. Some people choose to live that way. But the choice is they key there. Something leftist enviros don’t seem to get.

      2. Luxury. We lived in a cardboard box by the side of the road and ate cold gravel for breakfast every morning, and we were grateful to have it.

    4. “reduced to Stone Age living”

      If the alternative is extinction, I’ll go with stone age living every time. According to the IPCC, extinction is not something we can rule out. If you want to take your chances, here’s a slogan you can run with:

      “Better to have been than be green!”

      1. The human race will not go extinct even if one were to double the warming contemplated in the worst case IPCC scenarios. Humanity would adapt just fine, as it always has.

        Of course, the IPCC’s best case warming is worse than what the world has been experiencing, and nobody is really sure how the earth’s climate actually works on monthly/yearly/decadal time-scales making most predictions about as useful as those made by the amazing Crisswell.

        1. “The human race will not go extinct”

          The IPCC’s predictions are no better than Crisswell’s but yours are better. You’ve yet to persuade me, my friend.

          1. You’ve yet to persuade me, my friend.

            That’s rather surprising given that you think global warming will lead to extinction of human beings in anyone’s lifetime and that stone age living is the antidote – you can pretty clearly be convinced of just about anything.

            1. Where exactly did I tell you that I think global warming will lead to extinction of human beings in anyone’s and stone age living is the antidote? If you want to know what I think, just ask, and I’ll be happy to respond. If you want to conduct both sides of a conversation, go ahead. Just don’t go dragging me into it putting words in my mouth. It’s impolite.

      2. According to the IPCC, extinction is not something we can rule out.

        Hahahaha, shit.

        When Siberia erupts again they’ll have my earnest attention, until then they are full of shit.

        1. “Hahahaha”

          Laugh while you can, monkey boy.

      3. Extinction? For the species who evolved on the plains of Africa and has since lived in every place in the world where it is even remotely possible for them to survive? Including in far norther regions during a fucking ice age? I think humans will be fine.

        1. “a fucking ice age?”

          The perennial survivors among us – the Inuit and !Kung – never managed more than ‘Stone Age living.’ And now you’re putting them forth as some kind of example? Someone’s thinking cap is in need of adjustment.

          And it ain’t !me

          1. The Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period both occurred within the last thousand years, lasting for about 80% of that period of time between the two of them. With human beings living in temperatures both significantly cooler and warmer than today in a standard of living inconceivable during the stone age.

            I think you’re way beyond the point where a thinking cap will solve your problems.

            1. A little ice age? A warm period? No, that’s not what Zeb is talking about. He’s talking about a FUCKING ice age! One which would have, dig this, covered your inconceivably cozy humans with several kms of fucking ice.

      4. ” According to the IPCC…”

        Shit, milk just flew out my nose.

        1. “Shit, milk just flew out my nose”

          Good for you. From now on, you should try to keep your shit in your rectum.

          1. Or he could store it between his ears like you do yours.

            1. You can always ask him, if you’re interested.

  13. An audit says the money saved on utility bills will recoup the project’s costs in roughly 447 years (not a typo).

    Well, no. What the audit is saying is that, for the expected operating lifespan of the system, perhaps 25 years or so, the savings on utility bills will not recoup the money squandered on building the system.

    Shorter: the government wasted money on a PR exercise that makes no economic sense.

  14. There is a recession too. Less economic activity means less CO2 emissions. Burning the gas we get from fracking will still add CO2 to the atmosphere. It seems that this reversal of trends will be a temporary phenomenon.

    1. Actually, the vast majority of the CO2 decrease has been because of NG.

      1. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is not decreasing. It’s increasing. It’s the rate of increase that is reversing, if I understand correctly.

        1. I’ll plant some more tomatoes and beans next spring.

          Fixed!

          1. Beans, beans the greenhouse fruit
            the more you eat the more you toot.
            Methane’s the potent greenhouse gas
            unleashed on Gaia by your ass.

            1. The carbs in beans are Amylopectin C.
              It digests too slowly and sets the gas free.

              My lousy meter makes my poetry suck…

              1. “My lousy meter makes my poetry suck”

                Three too many syllables.

        2. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is not decreasing. It’s increasing. It’s the rate of increase that is reversing, if I understand correctly.

          It’s the rate at which we’re putting it in that’s reduced.

          1. Precisely. This ‘reversed’ business is an awkward and perhaps misleading phrase I used from the last paragraph of the article. It’s led to at least one commenter here, cytotoxic, to speak of a decrease in CO2.

            1. what? no.

              The US is putting out less CO2 then it use to and we are now at 1992 level of CO2 emissions and we will probably hit 1970s levels (the graph of the past decades really is surprisingly flat) in a year or two. Our CO2 emissions are falling like a rock. In fact much faster then they rose.

              Nothing misleading about that.

              1. Does that take into account USA manufacturing being outsourced to China?

                The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is not decreasing. It is increasing. Burning fracked gas is going to add to the amount already in the atmosphere. I’ve had to repeat this 3 times now, so apparently it’s not so clear as you think it is.

                1. mtrueman| 12.10.12 @ 5:11PM |#
                  “Does that take into account USA manufacturing being outsourced to China?”

                  True dipshit question right there.
                  Care to define the amount of ‘USA manufacturing being outsourced to China?”
                  Ya know, I got a short fuse for assholes offering sophistry rather than argument.

                  1. I’m not the best person to ask for guidance on these things, but since you asked, I would define USA manufacturing being outsourced to China as manufacturing that once was done in USA and then closed shop and re-opened in China. The point being is that as long as it is US consumer demand that is driving Chinese production, it makes little sense to celebrate the “US putting out less CO2,” as Corning put it.

                    It’s a world atmosphere every bit as much as it’s a world economy. We should keep that in mind.

                    Sorry if my line of questioning here offended you. I am a rather thick-skinned person myself, and don’t easily take offense. I’ll try to keep your short fuse in mind though.

                    1. “The point being is that as long as it is US consumer demand that is driving Chinese production, it makes little sense to celebrate the “US putting out less CO2,” as Corning put it.”

                      Very interesting argument. That would imply all the CO2 emissions which came from US industrial output of export products should be “charged against” the countries who received those products. Under this reasoning, the US “blame” for CO2 in the atmosphere is greatly reduced.

                    2. I think food and agricultural products may be the most significant CO2 emitter/export for the US. Taking two to tango, I wouldn’t say “all the CO2 emissions” should be charged against the importers. It makes sense to me to attribute emissions to both source and destination of the contributing factors.

                      Still, it might be a wise move to greatly reduce US blame for CO2 emissions by shifting it to the less wealthy nations. Aren’t there polls showing that as time goes by, fewer and fewer Americans believe burning fossil fuels contributes to a greenhouse effect? If fingers of blame can be pointed to foreigners, this trend could possibly be reversed. Like anyone else, I suppose, Americans want to see themselves as good people. Playing on this psychology might bring the USA to play a leading role in confronting the issue rather than dragging her feet. It’s a bit of subterfuge, yes, but worth it perhaps in view of the size and importance of the country.

                2. “Less” and “more” than what? You have to first establish a baseline in order to determine if there is “less” or “more” of something. US CO2 emissions are the lowest they’ve been since 1992. Global output, as you may have guessed, is not isolated to the United States.

        3. “The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is not decreasing. It’s increasing. It’s the rate of increase that is reversing, if I understand correctly.”

          Don’t gobbledygook it. The level (amount) of CO2 emissions is decreasing. Couldn’t be clearer.

          Here’s an example for the simple:

          Yesterday I farted 10 liters. Today I farted 9 liters. My emissions have decreased.

          1. Has the amount of fart gas in the atmosphere increased or decreased since yesterday? Simple question.

            I know you want a gold star for good intentions, but that’s not how mother nature rolls. She is a harsh mistress.

            1. Increased or decreased compared to what? Again, you can’t have more or less of something without establishing the initial level.

              1. Ask the farter if you are curious. I’ve lost interest.

            2. “Has the amount of fart gas in the atmosphere increased or decreased since yesterday? Simple question.”

              Yes, it is a simple question. But it is not the question in question. The discussion was about “level of emissions”, which is a measure of how much is farted/year. The discussion was not about a measure of how much fart gas exists in the atmosphere.

              It’s kind of like the difference between deficit and debt which occurs in economic discussions and which many simple people don’t understand.

              Here’s another simple question: What’s up your ass that causes you to make nonsense replies?

              1. “But it is not the question in question.”

                It’s not up to us, unfortunately, but physics, which decides which are the questions in question. Your assumption that we can continue to add CO2 to the atmosphere as long as we do it at a reduced rate is contentious. I’m reluctant to dismiss climate scientists as charlatans and they are saying some pretty alarming things about the issue.

                We can congratulate ourselves over the reduction in emissions associated with fracking, but we also have to face the fact that it may not be enough. As I said, good intentions don’t count in physics.

    2. Maybe that’s why the leftists are employing these economy killing Keynesian policies?
      They’re trying to destroy the world economy so people will stop using energy and producing CO2!
      They’re trying to save the world!

      1. The biggest Leftist on the world stage today is Hugo Chavez. I don’t see any steps on his part to reduce CO2 emissions. Leftists ranging from Lenin to Pol Pot have a terrible record when it comes to protecting the environment.

        “the world economy”

        I think that’s the problem, I think. Not ‘a world economy’ which can indeed be overhauled and recalibrated to fit the limits our environment puts on us. The costs of such an upheaval are great, of course, but they may be unavoidable. I understand the conservative impulse to view “the world economy” as some sort of platonic ideal is deeply rooted, but it’s a strange position for a freedom loving libertarian to take.

        1. Not ‘a world economy’ which can indeed be overhauled and recalibrated to fit the limits our environment puts on us.

          Fucking markets, how do they work?

          7 billion people no more need you to “recalibrate” their economic activity than they need you to wipe their ass after they take a shit. Markets will handle both the scarcity and liability of any given form of energy by pricing them – just like with anything else.

          1. Oh, also, fuck off slaver

          2. What’s the value of the atmosphere?

      2. Your jest appears to be no jest. Turns out that for many greenies, that is exactly the case.

    3. …or is it that producing less CO2 causes LESS ECONOMIC ACTIVITY??!

      Reason for the recesseion solved…fire up the furnaces, boys! We need some STIMULUS!

      1. Look to the left if you want to find exactly these sentiments offered with a straight face.

  15. But most environmentalists hate fracking.

    Of course. Making things *better* isn’t desirable, only making them *perfect* is.

  16. Outsourcing industrial activity from US to China should also have the effect of lowering CO2 emissions in USA, and increasing them there.

  17. Greens hate fracking because fracking is done by the other Team.

    The Green Team for energy is windmills solar, and of course pubsec taxing and control. Fracking is done by the other Team, so it must be opposed.

    Its as simple as that.

    1. They oppose it because there is money to be made.
      They only like things that are economic losers, thus requiring government assistance.

      1. It’s true.

        I consider myself an environmentalist–a libertarian, radical capitalist pig environmentalist.

        Environmentalists who are against saving the environment so long as the solution is capitalistic shouldn’t call themselves environmentalists.

        If they’re willing to sacrifice the environment in the name of opposing capitalism, then they aren’t environmentalists. They’re socialists.

    2. “Fracking is done by the other Team, so it must be opposed.

      Its as simple as that.”

      See T o n y the moron above; case in point.

      1. All I did was link to an article.

        I think you need to worry about your own confirmation biases a little more before you start calling people names for linking to articles.

        1. If only “All I did”-Tony ever did was link articles, the world would truly be a better place.

        2. All I did was link to an article.

          That proved nothing except that you couldn’t find any fault with the data or analyses vis-a-vis hydraulic fracturing and decided that it must therefore be a conspiracy because of the source of funding.

          I think you need to worry about your own confirmation biases a little more

          Lol. Yeah. If we don’t, we might end up having to rely on Big Business conspiracy theories to reject studies we don’t like rather than evidence or actual analysis.

        3. T o n y| 12.10.12 @ 4:07PM |#
          ‘All I did was try more lies.’

          Got it, shithead.

  18. Why are we engaged in this silly dialogue when the world is going to end in 11 days? Everyone, DRANK!!!

  19. Fracking gas does help lower CO2 emissions, but only if the coal is left in the ground. If the coal is dug up and burned anyway, nothing’s been gained.

    1. yeah cuz people are burning coal for no reason what so ever.

      If people are getting power from gas why would they burn the coal again?

  20. I never thought about it liek that before. WOw.

    http://www.GetsAnon.tk

  21. Hinkle needs to learn a bit of science before spouting off. First, warm water holds less CO2 that colder water. pH is neutral at 7.0. Anything higher is basic, not acidic. Seawater is basic, and even within a day, pH can vary. What is Hinkle’s basis for claiming that the oceans are 30% less alkaline?

    CO2 is a plant food. There is no empirical evidence that increased levels are having any effect on temperatures, sea levels, weather events and oysters.

    Skepticism is an important part of science, and also for readers of Reason and hacks like Hinkle.

    1. pH is neutral at 7.0. Anything higher is basic, not acidic. Seawater is basic, and even within a day, pH can vary. What is Hinkle’s basis for claiming that the oceans are 30% less alkaline?

      Alkalinity and ph are two different measures. Alkalinity is a measure of the buffering capability of the medium, which is the property that prevents rapid rises in ph.

      And yes, ph levels can vary throughout the day and also depends on the location where’s it measured.

      http://reefkeeping.com/issues/…../index.php

      1. Most recently, Wei et al. (2009) derived the pH history of Arlington Reef (off the north-east coast of Australia) that is depicted in the figure below. As can be seen there, there was a ten-year pH minimum centered at about 1935 (which obviously was not CO2-induced) and a shorter more variable minimum at the end of the record (which also was not CO2-induced); and apart from these two non-CO2-related exceptions, the majority of the data once again fall within a band that exhibits no long-term trend, such as would be expected to have occurred if the gradual increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration since the inception of the Industrial Revolution were truly making the global ocean less basic.

        One wonders how hard it is for a science writer to actually look at the science before making claims that “Ocean acidification” is a real phenomena or not?

        “But but but some lady growing shrimp told me it was real!!!”

        Fuck you Hinkle.

        1. I don’t think he is a science writer.

          You’re thinking of George Bailey who is the science writer for Reason and also used to run the Savings and Loan in Potterville.

  22. The oceans are now roughly 30 percent more acidic than in the pre-industrial era.

    I doubt it.

    The worlds oceans are a pretty big chunk of matter and all the CO2 put out by human kind is very small in comparison.

    Also it sounds like the shell fish farms he uses as examples are in closed systems. Who the hell knows where the extra pH came from. Could be from the food, could be from the surrounding soil, run off, shellfish waste, other waste from other organisms in the closed system and on and on and on.

    1. “The oceans are now roughly 30 percent more acidic than in the pre-industrial era.”

      If Oso Politico is correct above, how does a basic substance become 30% more acidic? How is that measured? Would it be the same as saying becomes 30% less basic?

      for example: If neutral PH is 7.0, and If a batch of seawater has a PH of 7.8, what is 30% more acidic? Is it 30% of the 0.8 PH differential from neutral. Me confuse.

      1. go to Oso’s second link.

        http://www.co2science.org/arti…..2/EDIT.php

        Has nice graphs showing in about 1998 that the ocean was more basic then it was in 1850.

        And with no long term trends (from the dawn of the industrial revolution to today) which one would expect if rising CO2 was the cause.

        Me confuse.

        Don’t be. It is all BS.

      2. I am not really the person to answer this other that to say that pH below 7.0 is acidic and above that is basic. It is a logarithmic scale much like the Richter scale for earthquakes. pH 9 is 10 times more basic than pH 8.

        The oceans seem to run just above pH 8 with some variability. What is happening is that a movement from 8.3 to 8.2, say, is being called ‘becoming more acidic’, while still being quite basic.

  23. Well, yes. I concur with all the factors set forth in paragraph two. But more importantly, if it’s correct that 96.5% of the earth’s CO2 is created by good ol’ mother nature (mostly through volcanic activity in the undersea “ring of fire”), then the oceans will continue to acidify at more-or-less its current rate whether mankind reduces its current CO2 output or not. So, rather than attempt to justify fracking as some sort of anti-acidic ocean panacea, why don’t we just promote it for what it is: a bountiful, cheap, and clean-burning source of energy. On that note, I also concur with Dr Bill Wattenburg and laud his tireless efforts to promote natural gas as a fuel source.

    1. “if it’s correct that 96.5% of the earth’s CO2 is created by good ol’ mother nature, then the oceans will continue to acidify at more-or-less its current rate whether mankind reduces its current CO2 output or not.” “The oceans are now roughly 30 percent more acidic than in the pre-industrial era”

      Say, you’re not a creationist are you?

  24. “Four years ago the Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery in Tillamook, Ore., lost millions of oyster larvae. The company found the problem was, yep, the overly acidic ocean water it was pumping in. Now it treats the water when the pH balance falls too far. “For us, the only thing that is correlated with mortality is the CO2 level,” said owner Sue Cudd”

    AFAICT, Tillamook has no local source of CO^2 to affect the Pacific water in that location; the problem would have to be global.
    Strangely, the oyster farms around SF and those in Puget Sound haven’t had similar problems, so that ‘global’ problem might be in Ms. Cudd’s analysis.
    I’m no ‘denier’; personally I’m persuaded the climate is changing and that humans likely do have some effect on it, but shoveling bullshit like this isn’t going to change other minds.

    1. The Oregon oyster hatchery’s issues result from local conditions, not a global change in pH of the oceans. Sevo makes the common error of arguing from ignorance (which is pervasive in climate change discussions). “We can’t think of (or find) the explanation, so it must be CO2!” In the Oregon case, it’s up-welling of cold water from deep in the ocean off the coast. This water is higher in CO2 because it’s old and cold, not because it has been exposed fossil fuel emissions. It’s also hypoxic. The ocean is not uniform, it is not well mixed, and it is not 30% more “acidic”. Local conditions vary and they matter. Making CO2 emissions responsible for every observation is simply lazy. It’s bad science, driven by ideology. Read more here:

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/201…..ification/

      It’s a year old, but nicely summarizes the Oregon oyster issues.

      1. “Sevo makes the common error of arguing from ignorance (which is pervasive in climate change discussions). “We can’t think of (or find) the explanation, so it must be CO2!” In the Oregon case,”

        Actually, that wasn’t my argument, but other than that, you are correct.

        1. Sorry, I mis-understood your lack of quotation marks.

          1. No problem, and I should have made clear that my argument referred to local *atmospheric* CO^2 sources.

  25. Good thing $3 billion of that dirty stimulus money went to coal technology. Also, while fracking may reduce carbon emissions, let’s look at it in a global context. Studies are beginning to pour out citing increasing mortality rates in livestock exposed to contaminants released by fracking. Doesn’t this become a property rights argument? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for cheap energy (energy that does not acidify the ocean or eat through the ozone) and I’m all for free markets, but the polarizing effect of political dogma is going to set this country awash, if it’s not already well on it’s way to being so.

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