The Solution to Global Warming
Regardless of what side of the debate you’re on, the global warming crisis (or “crisis” for those who don’t believe it’s actually happening) will affect everyone. For conservatives who think global warming is a scam being perpetrated by eco-fascists in an effort to impose their agenda, you will be taxed. Now that the Democrats have huge majorities in both houses of Congress along with Barack Obama in the White House, the likelihood of carbon taxes is great.
It really doesn’t matter whether or not you believe in global warming or whether or not you believe it to be man-caused. The fact remains that those who DO believe it is man-caused will implement laws that will greatly affect everyone’s tax rates as well as quality of life.
With this fact stated, it behooves us to work together on a solution that will allow us NOT to be carbon taxed, as well as curtail any draconian environmental measures.
And I have that solution.
Well, to be fair, it’s not my solution. I heard about it in a phone call from Charles Diamond, CEO of MOP Environmental, several months ago. I first met him some 12 or 13 years ago, when I was a reporter for The Courier, a weekly newspaper in Littleton, New Hampshire. While working on our Earth Day issue, I interviewed Charlie about two environmentally-friendly products his firm made, one of which was an oil spill absorbent.
Called MOP (Maximum Oil Pickup), the product was fascinating. It was able to absorb 30 times its own weight in oil (while not absorbing any water – making it perfect for water-based oil spills), but the amazing thing was that up to 95 percent of the oil could be recovered! The product (with the remaining five percent of unrecoverable oil) could be used to fuel an energy producing plant. [NOTE: I will be working on a separate story about MOP and will link it here when done]
I lost track of Charlie after moving to Virginia in 2000, but got back in touch earlier this year. That’s when I was told about the solution to global warming.
You see, after MOP has been used to clean up an oil spill, and the vast majority of the oil recovered, the leftover MOP can be burned in a process that uses no oxygen – pryolysis – which produces biochar . . . a char that has twice as much carbon in its residue than that from other sources.
The char attracts carbon dioxide – actually pulling it out of the atmosphere – and results in a highly effective fertilizer. In fact, this process can be used to actually create soil . . . even in a desert!
Scienece Daily, reporting on a report in the journal Nature, had this to say about the process:
This process, he writes, would double the carbon concentration in the residue, which could be returned to the soil as a carbon sink. The exhaust gases from this process and other biofuel production could then be converted into energy.This so-called biochar sequestration could offset about 10 percent of the annual U.S. fossil-fuel emissions in any of several scenarios, says Johannes Lehmann, associate professor of soil biogeochemistry in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Cornell.
“Biochar sequestration, combined with bioenergy production, does not require a fundamental scientific advance, and the underlying production technology is robust, clean and simple, making it appropriate for many regions of the world,” said Lehmann. “It not only reduces emissions but also sequesters carbon, making it an attractive target for energy subsidies and for inclusion in the global carbon market.”
Most plants pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and lock it up in their biomass or in soil organic matter. But taking this a step further, Lehmann recommends heating the plant biomass without oxygen in a process known as low-temperature pyrolysis. When returned to the soil, biochar creates a stable, long-term carbon sink.
“Biochar also has been shown to improve the structure and fertility of soils, to enhance the retention and efficiency of fertilizers as well as to improve the productivity of soil,” said Lehmann.
Capturing the exhaust gases from the pyrolysis process produces energy in such forms as heat, electricity, bio-oil or hydrogen. By adding the biochar to soil rather than burning it as an energy source (which most companies do), bioenergy can be turned into a carbon-negative industry. Biochar returned to soil not only secures soil health on bioenergy plantations but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 12 to 84 percent.
Compared with ethanol production, pyrolysis that produces biochar and bioenergy from its exhaust gases is much less expensive, Lehmann said, when the feedstock is animal waste, clean municipal waste or forest residues collected for fire prevention.
Lehmann said that as the value of carbon dioxide increases on carbon markets, “we calculate that biochar sequestration in conjunction with bioenergy from pyrolysis becomes economically attractive when the value of avoided carbon dioxide emissions reaches $37 per ton.” Currently, the Chicago Climate Exchange is trading carbon dioxide at $4 a ton; it is projected that that the price will rise to $25-$85 a ton in the coming years.
So there you go. Global warming can be solved without charging us carbon taxes or without foisting upon us all sorts of environmental measures that will severely curtail our way of life.
All it will take is someone with the right connections to grab hold of this technology and the use of MOP on oil spills (land and water) across the country.