October 27, 2009
The Race Against Nothing
We have busied ourselves in a race between technology and nothing. Huge amounts of money and effort are being spent to develop an approach to address the hoax that is man-induced global warming, arguably the definition of nothing. While much of the world struggles with even the basics for life, sufficient food, shelter, clean water, and basic disease prevention, the "developed" world tilts at the windmill of nothingness.
A well known fact is that the atmosphere is comprised of approximately 78.08 % nitrogen, 20.95 % oxygen, and 0.03% CO2, with the remaining various trace gases. Logically considered then is that the vilified concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere is a very, very small proportion of the gases present in the atmosphere. The current percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere is proportional to approximately $3, compared to $10,000. Proportionately, it makes little difference if we have $2, or $3, or $4 in comparison to $10,000.
Thoroughly discussed in the news is the fact that the world CO2 concentrations are still alleged to be elevated, although they are within historic levels, while the cooling trend continues daily, no correlation. Warming was modeled and predicted by the purveyors of man-induced global warming.
One of the many approaches to address the impending doom of naught is the cutting-edge technology of "let's just bury it" -- in this case, an aspect of carbon sequestration. Already a carbon sequestration technology is quite well established. This technology is the ongoing sequestration of carbon by plants, both living then dying, but this simply won't do. Capturing CO2 emissions and pumping them into the ground is gaining in popularity on the established plant technology as a mitigation measure for the terrible effects of nada.
We have become asphyxiated by our sense of omnipotence, the notion that we can cause, or as an antonymous act, un-cause the earth to warm. We are unmoored from the logic of nature's systems and the solar cycle. We have dismissed our scientific humbleness to understand the entirety of the unknown of the earth's subsurface and we play loosely with the quaint notion that CO2 kills.
Two African Lakes killed 1,800 people in the 1980's by releasing deadly amounts of CO2 that had accumulated there in the lake waters. The CO2 had migrated to the lake waters from adjacent volcanic-influenced geologic structures. To those involved, the unplanned, un-sequestering of CO2 was a significant event.
Throughout the country where oil and gas wells have been and are being drilled, methane (natural gas) leaks into nearby water wells, streams or lakes, or homes are occurring with regular frequency. These wells are being installed by geologists and drillers using the most advanced techniques and yet no guarantee that gasses cannot move through the geologic subsurface into enclosed spaces, such as someone's home, a shopping mall, day care, or other inconvenient location.
Clearly projecting the behavior of a gas within the complex subsurface geology is not possible in real time, or more troubling in the short and long term when even more changes to the already unknown subsurface can occur. The current subsurface methane gas issues are an example for us while we eagerly work to manufacture our own man-induced sequestered CO2 problems.
Geologically, we may surface explore by representative visualizations of small portions of the subsurface. We can traverse the surface and remotely sense with the best technologies, drill into the earth and retrieve cores for direct observation and still only have a partial understanding of the entire unseen subsurface. The nuances of faults, fractures, lineaments, fissures, differing rock structures' physical and chemical compositions will remain not perfectly understood.
Potential problems can arise when carbonic acid is formed as CO2 comes into contact with water, for our example within the subsurface geology. As a consequence, while components of CO2 injection well installation will need to be manufactured against corrosion, the multitude of unmapped historically abandoned oil and gas wells not sealed to today's specifications may be breached by the action of the acid or even simply by additional gas pressure.
Also, the formation of carbonic acid may further enhance the potential migration of CO2 through the dissolution of the subsurface geology. There are many known and yet unknown and uncontrolled variables that cannot be conclusively overcome.
Geologic sequestration of CO2 is a testimony to our lack of reality, humanistic vanity, and proportionality addressing the pressing problems facing our world today. Shall we spend our efforts wisely and maintain our own economic abundance so that we may help others and ourselves? We provide huge contributions throughout the world to assist poor nations to grow crops, access clean water, overcome diseases that are only history to us, respond to natural and man-made disasters, as examples. Or shall we deal with the nullity that is man-induced global warming, cripple ourselves and diminish our ability to help others?
As for the latter idea, let's just bury it.