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Dec. 22nd, 2006 @ 03:46 pm (no subject)
Coal environmantally friendly? Say what?

Newsweek has an interesting article on liquid coal:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16299632/site/newsweek

Perhaps I'm missing something, but how is a car burning coal cleaner than gasoline? Traditionally coal, still commonly used for electricity production, are major polluters. So how does burning it in liquid form make it better?
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From:pluribus_adelos
Date:December 23rd, 2006 02:59 pm (UTC)
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With sequestration, powering a car with liquid coal is approximately 30 percent cleaner than using gasoline.

And that's the key - CO2 capture. Of course, we could add capture devices to current gasoline-burning cars as well and achieve the same reduction. But then consumers don't really want to pay for that.

Anyway, I think the bigger picture is that the "silver-bullet" replacement for hydrocarbons has not been found (or worse does not exist). Given that, a replacement for middle east oil, even if it's no better or worse ecologically, still makes a hell of a lot of sense for geo-political reasons.

At the very least, if we had already been doing this then we might not be involved militarily in Iraq forever and ever. It would also force down prices of middle east oil so that the regimes the US doesn't favor would get less funding.
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From:moonthink
Date:December 23rd, 2006 07:03 pm (UTC)
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Coal is still a non-renewable resource, which must be dug out of the earth. Using it in this way, after you truly examine the costs (research, development, technology, environmental i.e. mining), you'd see that it isn't a viable solution to the real problem. Just another temporary fix.
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From:pluribus_adelos
Date:December 25th, 2006 02:40 am (UTC)
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Non-renewable? Well of course it is. All natural too. It just doesn't renew NEARLY as fast as we use it.

But of course, I merely jest. I agree absolutely it is not "the" solution and is temporary at best. Yet it could, all things considered, be the lesser of currently available evils. In any given situation, rejecting the best available choice because it isn't the best conceivable choice seems somewhat laudable yet unrealistic. While I'd prefer to avoid global warming altogether, it seems that global warming without incessant warfare would be preferable to global warming with.
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From:moonthink
Date:December 25th, 2006 04:41 am (UTC)
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Nothing motivates like an impending deadline. Giving people a temporary fix only allows them to ignore the bigger problem.

And your example with global warming and war is a bit confusing, and perhaps a little off the mark.

I suppose I feel the same way about global warming as I do about oil dependance. It seems as though people would be content with just slowing the process, rather than correcting the problem as a whole. But then it becomes someone else's problem, like our children.

As for war... As long as there are humans and want or greed, there will always be war.
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From:pluribus_adelos
Date:December 27th, 2006 07:02 pm (UTC)
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Nothing motivates like an impending deadline

True!

your example with global warming and war is a bit confusing

There are geopolitical tensions in a region which are heightened by the presence of a scarce but now necessary resource (oil). If other resources (coal, uranium, deuterium, whatever) can reduce the tension that's not a bad thing. The fact that coal still produces co2 is no improvement but no worse either. If we ignore the coal (for now) and just use up (and fight over) the oil first, we'd still turn to the coal if technology has not solved the problem. I mean, it's there, so there's no way in hell we're NOT going to use it. The cat is already out of the bag so to speak. That being the case, less tension globally is an improvement.

About global warming - the only technology currently available to avoid it, given the amount of energy we consume, is nuclear. Yet, because of it's own issues, the US has largely rejected its use. Like most of life, we have to choose among the lesser of evils. I doubt global warming was the lesser evil, it just seemed the less-certain and further away evil.

Yes, as for war, it will always be there. But having one less reason can't be a bad thing.