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With the problem of global warming upon us the world needs to implement carbon capture technologies that are both economical and effective.

The basic idea of global warming is a simple one. The sun emits solar radiation that reaches the earth which warms its surface. The earth, trying to achieve steady state, emits radiation back into space in order to keep it at a certain temperature. When greenhouse gases are present in our atmosphere this steady state balance is thrown off balance. These greenhouse gases absorb the heat and hence the temperature will steadily rise. Currently one third of carbon emissions in the U.S. come from coal powered power plants with the flue gases from these processes containing 10-12 percent CO2. The question humanity needs to ask is how to deal with this problem? Should the U.S. use carbon capturing technologies to get rid of the current amount or should we install and practice better omission technologies to attack the problem before it escalates?

Comments

I agree that this is a major concern for our country. Energy use projections show a doubling to tripling in demand for electricity in the next 50 years.

Your issue raises many questions: What technologies are available for capturing carbon from coal power plant emissions? Are they available now? What will they cost in energy and materials needed? Who will pay, how much will they pay and on what basis? Pass it all onto the consumer as a direct cost or some other model?

I really don't think that carbon capture is a great option for reducing greenhouse gases. The way we need to go is to decrease our consumption while increasing our efficiency to put the carbon we do create to good use. That said, there is one situation of carbon capture actually being put to good use. I couldn't find it online in a 30 second search but I remember seeing a program on Discovery or History Channel where a company was burning fossil fuels and then capturing and using the CO2 to help extract more oil out of an oilfield by pumping it underground. This is already done with water I know but it sounds like better idea to put the carbon they are pulling out of the ground back in. The reason this sounds like a better idea than making tanks is that also in the program they mentioned that the CO2 would actually have some attraction to the rock and stay down there a long time. I don't know, that would be the type of thing that might be looking into if we refuse to consume less.

I have heard one hypothesis that the global warming will take care of ourself. This topic was debated in an Oceanography course, where the professor gave a possible reason why we should not be worried about the problem. His idea was that as the earth becomes warmer, more water is evaporated, thus increasing the cloud cover. This increased cloud cover decreases the amount of energy which reaches the earth, and counteracts global warming.