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Why We Need to Keep 80 Percent of Fossil Fuels in the Ground


#1

Why We Need to Keep 80 Percent of Fossil Fuels in the Ground

Bill McKibben

Physics can impose a bracing clarity on the normally murky world of politics. It can make things simple. Not easy, but simple.


#2

The oil production drivers are downshifting

Russia and Saudia Arabia agree in Doha this morning to FREEZE production


#3

"Most of that coal and oil and gas—most of that money—is concentrated in a few huge underground pools of carbon."

A few? Perhaps Bill ought to review the fossil fuel deposits around the world before making such a miselading statement. Somehow he neglected to mention the vast oil deposits in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq. And what about deposits of coal in India. And what about the large amounts of natural gas in the US. The main effort to keep all these sources of carbon in the ground continues to be on the demand side and that is the only hope of success. Basically it amounts to increasing energy efficiency and employing renewable energy such a wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro. Attempts to block supplies, however, is important because it brings more attention to the problem by creating political conflict that gets publicity. So really what is required is kind of a blue collar hard working effort on energy efficiency and renewables and the more dramatic efforts to block supplies. I think McKibben is doing a disservice by minimizing the efforts on the demand side to bring more attention to his efforts on the supply side. The environmentalists who focused on light bulbs and those who wanted to put a price on carbon actually had it right. We have the light bulbs and much more but a price on carbon is still an essential missing ingredient for success.


#5

We need to understand that there are huge carbon-rich zones in the earths crust. There is continuous seepage. For instance, the the bible, the cradle that Moses used to float in was waterproofed with bitumen. By far, gooey, heavy crude is the primary goo Light, sweet crude is rare. Even so, it must be understood that the real source of carbon in the crust is CaCO3, limestone. If someone did a carbon inventory, the result is that limestone is where ALL the carbon is. Fossil fuels are so insignificant they might be mentioned. We all understand that CO2 emissions need to be reduced. Even so, we need to also realize that huge amounts of CO2 have been dumped into our atmosphere so that fossil fuel technology could happen. The entire technology emits CO2 at every step. Tankers use large quantities of steel, made by the reaction, iron oxide + carbon = iron + carbon dioxide. All that CO2 is with us. It makes good sense to not abandon those investments, but pick and choose so that future fossil production is done with a minimum of new carbon dioxide release. And we need to understand that dirty crude, that stuff that looks like road tar, needs to be left in place. Heavy crudes are sulfur rich. I suspect that the Creator has arranged for the atmosphere to be low in sulfur content, because H2S and sulfur oxides are toxic. (H2S is more poisonous than HCN (cyanide). So those heavy crudes are actually absorbing filters, trapping sulfur that is emanating from the core of the earth, and keeping it out of our biosphere. Coal is also a good sulfur trap. So, think of coal production in this way. A very clever design was developed that purified the air so that humans could live. H2S oozing upwards is trapped in the stuff we know as coal. When we dig and use coal, that sulfur gets into our life support system. Sort of taking the filter off of a gas mask, and then using the thing with no filter. Like dumb.


#7

"Five years ago, “keeping it in the ground” was a new idea." Actually, in 2007 the government of Ecuador pitched the idea of keeping it's largest oil reservoirs untapped in exchange for financial compensation from the international community. The three oilfields were located under Yasuni National Park, one of the most biologically diverse places on earth- in addition to being home to indigenous groups living in voluntary isolation. The "Yasuni-ITT" initiative garnered significant support worldwide, but ultimately not enough to force President Correa's hand on forgoing extraction. Some question whether Correa was ever really committed to the idea, but the more interesting question is why weren't more environmentalists in support of the initiative then? At the time, many environmentalists even decried the initiative as "blackmail". Thanks in large part to the efforts of Bill McKibben, the concept of our limited carbon budget requiring fossil reserves to stay in the ground has become more well known. Unfortunately for Yasuni and it's inhabitants, the awareness is a few years too late.


#8

Thank you, Mr. McKibben for leading the way in THE challenge of our times.

The following is beautiful and conveys the FACT that our Majestic Earth is a BEING:


#9

I guess you're paid not just to slime Bernie Sanders. Here, you're doing a HIT on Bill McKibben...

When a nobody like you does as much for This Cause as he does, you can begin to throw your petty demeaning stones!

Here you accuse him of being misleading:

"Bill ought to review the fossil fuel deposits around the world before making such a miselading statement."

And here, you try to devalue his massive efforts:

"I think McKibben is doing a disservice by minimizing the efforts on the demand side to bring more attention to his efforts on the supply side."

You are a piddling nobody. How DARE you attack this individual?


#12

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#13

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#14

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#15

This article provides some insight into how the predicaments facing society can be dealt with. However, it is misleading in some respects and this means that it is not making the contribution the author expects. Firstly, the planet will not be wrecked by the usage of fossil fuels. Natural forces have driven its operations for aeons, even with the disruption caused by industrialized civilization and it will continue to do so after the demise of this civilization. Secondly, so called 'renewable' energy systems use weak energy income and are made of irreplaceable materials. So all they can do is supply some electrical energy for a while. They cannot possibly replace the concentrated energy in the liquid fuels essential in the vast fleets of land, sea and air vehicles.