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President Obama: Continue to Lead on Clean Energy and Climate Bill

Peter Lehner

Posted June 29, 2010 in Solving Global Warming

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In a pivotal meeting at the White House today, President Obama urged a bipartisan group of Senators to assemble a clean energy and climate bill that puts a limit on carbon pollution for Senate floor action after the July 4th recess.

I welcome Obama’s sense of urgency and his strong support for a bill that includes firm limits on carbon pollution. Congress has passed seven major energy bills since 1974; each one promised to fix our energy mess and each one failed. America can’t afford another cosmetic bill with lofty goals and no way to achieve them.

Obama is helping change that: He is the catalyst we need right now.

We have seen time and again that when this President takes complex negotiations in hand, he gets results. He did it with health care; he did it with financial reform.

He can succeed once again. But only if he keeps the pressure on.

As Congress enters the final weeks of its summer session, we need the President to use the full force of his office to push clean energy and climate legislation over the finish line. The White House has to be involved in the process of producing a bill.

The President will have many eager allies in this process, starting with the American people. The latest CBS/NY Times poll found that nearly 90 percent of Americans believe U.S. energy policy needs either “fundamental changes” or “to be completely rebuilt.”

Yet America can’t wait much longer for our lawmakers to lead on breaking the nation’s addiction to dirty, dangerous fossil fuels. America must start now to move down a cleaner, safer energy path—one that will generate jobs, reduce pollution, and strengthen national security.

 

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JimJun 29 2010 05:46 PM

In a speech two weeks ago President Obama pledged a huge revitalization project for the Gulf Coast to restore its ecological health.

The Gulf’s ecological health has been beset by hurricanes, oil spills and enormous dead zones fueled by Mississippi nutrient runoff from farms upstream.

One technology addresses all of these issues.

The greatest source of terrestrial energy is the sun and its greatest terrestrial storehouse is the ocean with the downside of this thermal buildup being thermal expansion of the oceans, melting of polar icecaps and hurricanes which derive their power from this heat.

A recent Nature article, “Robust warming of the global upper ocean” points out that the average amount of energy the ocean has absorbed over the period 1993 to 2008 is enough to power nearly 500 100-watt light bulbs for each of the roughly 6.7 billion people on the planet. This amounts to 330 TW whereas the total annual world energy consumption in 2006 for all primary energy sources was only 15.8TW.

As Charles H. Greene Director, Ocean Resources and Ecosystems Program, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University, and others recently noted in a paper, A Very Inconvenient Truth, due to the ocean’s thermal inertia this build up of energy in the ocean makes atmospheric warming essentially irreversible for the next thousand years even if we immediately stopped adding CO2 to the atmosphere.

The First law of thermodynamics dictates that, "the increase in the internal energy of a system is equal to the amount of energy added by heating the system minus the amount lost as a result of the work done by the system on its surroundings."

The way therefore to dissipate some of the heat the oceans have and are absorbing is to covert this energy to work as would be accomplished by producing electrical energy by the process of ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC).

OTEC has three main drawbacks; cost, production of power remote from where it is needed and a perceived need to bring large volumes of deep, cold, water to the surface to condense vapors of the low boiling point fluid used in the heat engine.

To bring this remotely generated power to shore it should be converted by electrolysis to the energy currency hydrogen.

Besides lowering the oceans thermal inertia and thus its expansion, producing hydrogen in this manner reduces the velocity of sea level rise by converting a portion of its liquid volume to gas; only 1/9th of which, by weight, needs to be transport to where it is needed to be recombined with resident oxygen to produce both power and water.

Instead of costly, massive, cold water pipes to bring condensing cold water to the surface, the much smaller volume of vaporized ammonia should be pumped into the depths to be condensed thus overcoming a massive technical and environmental problem and lowering the cost of OTEC.

The world can meet its sustainable energy goal with hydrogen while mediating the worst projected effect of climate change. Some of the infrastructure required to meet this need is now drilling wells in the Gulf of Mexico with environmental consequences readily apparent.

Many existing platforms can be converted to producing hydrogen where the success rate for every well would be certain and a hydrogen leak would never contaminate anyone’s coastline.

Not only is hydrogen an energy currency, it is also a water currency.

Lighter than air hydrogen will transport itself by buoyancy up a pipeline or chimney from the ocean’s depths where it is produced (under pressure) to the highest point in or adjacent a desert where it can be combined with resident oxygen to produce water which will flow naturally to the desert floor to promote photosynthesis.

Leonard Ornstein, a cell biologist at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and NASA climate modelers Igor Aleinov and David Rind have outlined a plan similar to GWMM to sow the deserts of the Outback and Sahara in the Journal of Climatic Change.. They conclude irrigating these deserts "probably provides the best, near-term route to complete control of greenhouse gas.

The need therefore is for a practical means of getting water into these deserts in order to promote photosynthesis which will sequester excess CO2 while growing food, fuel and fibre for building materials and to reduce the thermal buildup of the oceans to prevent sea level rise.

The Global Warming Mitigation Method addresses this need and OTEC power produced in the gulf could supply water to the parched areas of America's south.

Electrolysis produces 2 molecules of hydrogen and 1 of oxygen. This oxygen dispersed in the gulf could revitalize its dead zone and permit it again to sustain productive marine life.

Bill Gates has five U.S. patent filings for a technology that would slow hurricanes by pumping cold, deep-ocean water in their paths from barges.

Surely it makes more sense to bleed of this heat by converting it to work providing the sustainable fuel requirements of the world?

Jim JonasJun 30 2010 11:46 AM

I just really hope they don't cut 32 million out of the budget.Why don't we take the tax dodge oil has so we have to change.You have funneled enough cash out of the U.S. Bring jobs and cash back Now no more excuses.
Thanks for getting our jobs and money back to the U.S. It is ours bring enough to really put jobs together.You Mr. President have a Climate Emergency.

Ocean PowerJul 6 2010 08:59 AM

The mist lift process

A new concept introduced in 1977, the Mist Lift Process, offers a way around the high cost difficulties of previous OTEC engines. It avoids the giant heat exchangers of the "closed cycle" originally proposed by D'Arsonval, and the enormous water vapor turbine required by Claude's "open cycle".

See

http://www.otecnews.org/articles/mistlift.html

For more info.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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