Can Coal Ever Be Clean By Karl Mathiesen Summary

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The article ‘Is geoengineering a bad idea?’, by Karl Mathiesen, is about techniques that could be used to reduce the effects of climate change. The two techniques are, carbon dioxide removal and albedo modification. The first is self-explanatory, remove carbon in the atmosphere and put it underground. The second technique makes the earth more reflective so the warming by the sun isn’t as intense. Interestingly enough, increasing the earth reflection could be possible right now, but may lead to unplanned problems, where removing the carbon may be more costly, but have less risky side effects. To increase the reflection, aerosols would be released into the atmosphere. As the article states, this solution does nothing to defeat the problem of …show more content…
It makes the argument that the use of coal can never be ‘clean’, and that it shouldn’t be an argument that it could be, rather the argument should be can it be ‘clean enough’. Coal is the main argument because of the total amount of emissions using it alone gives off. It produces 39% of the global carbon dioxide emissions. This is why we need to make the shift to cleaner renewable energy or find a way to store the carbon emissions underground. But even that may not solve all the problems. Members of Stanford University argue that store carbon dioxide underground my cause small earthquakes that may crack the ground allowing the CO2 to leak back out. So, although it may be a fix, it could be risky and expensive. But there are some sites like the Sleipner has field in the North Sea where they have been storing CO2 underground and there have been no leaks. European researchers have even estimated that the North Sea could hold 100 years of emissions from Europe, and similar storage spots under the United States could hold 10 times that for America. But in the meantime, the first American power plant to capture carbon emissions has opened in Mississippi and is piping the emissions to nearby oil fields. But other power industries won’t follow way unless there is a regulation forced by regulating emissions or putting a price on carbon. So, we won’t have …show more content…
I have never heard of either of the methods described and I found them both quite interesting and frightening. I feel that tampering with the earths reflection could be similar to the silver bullet problems we talked about in class. It could be the, ‘next big fix’, but it could also lead to many problems we aren’t sure about but rushed into it without adequate testing. Spraying other things into the air sounds scary enough and would for sure lead to consequences we didn’t expect. Similar to DDT and the other various chemicals we used/use that were ‘safe’ for humans, I’m sure after years of doing this something bad would come of it. Storing the carbon underground also just sounds weird to me. Taking something that is being polluted into the air and just pumping in underground and calling it quits doesn’t seem like the ideal solution. Both of these article make strong points that doing it is a good solution, but I still remain

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