Monday, May 07, 2012

Stolen thought of the day, plus riffs

Stolen thought:  if fracking is such a boon to the economy by cratering the cost of power, why can't we use a fraction of that economic benefit to sequester the resulting carbon?

Riff 1:  yeah! You tell 'em!

Riff 2:  preventing methane leaks in production and transmission might be just as important as sequestering.

Riff 3:  many people view sequestering carbon from coal to be economically achievable, maybe adding 20-40% to the price.  Let's generously assume the cost figure is true.  If it was economically achievable with coal, then that should indicate even more that it's economically achievable with natural gas because of the lower baseline.

Riff 4:  when coal was the cheapest baseline power then the argument that sequestration for coal was economically viable had the strongest claim.  Now that natural gas is cheaper it actually gets harder to argue for coal carbon sequestration.  Still justified, but harder.  Requiring gas to sequester just like coal could attract support from coal interests.

Riff 5:  maybe offsets in lieu of sequestration could be done.  Carefully.

(Update:  edited a stupid typo in first sentence, from "can" to "can't".)


John said...

Riff 3a: Assuming the dollar cost of sequestration is constant per unit of CO2, independent of it's source, then the cost of sequestration is a higher percentage of the purported "lower baseline" dollar cost of fracked gas than it is for coal. How does this make sequestration more "economically" achievable for gas-derived CO2? "Economically" here contemptuously intended to mean analysis based solely on dollars (soon to be a basket of OTHER currencies?) as opposed to an analysis of energy/CO2 balance and such "externalities" as effects on our life support system.

Riff 6: Whatever "cratering" of the dollar cost of natural gas to the consumer, that can truly be attributed to fracking, is ignoring, as usual, the TOTAL cost that includes "externalities" such as increased(?) energy and CO2 costs plus massive volumes of water consumed and contamination of aquifers with the various "chemicals" added to this fracking water.

Riff 7: Please: legitimate references to 1) a "successful" pilot study of CO2 sequestration with added energy and CO2 costs along with dollar costs, 2) an estimate of sequestration capacity available and 3) estimate of the beneficial effect on rising temperature if that capacity were exploited, again, taking into account the energy and CO2 costs needed to exploit it. All this rather than mere reference to the "views of many people."

Riff 8: I've got another idea: one-third of every unit of energy expended from non-renewable sources is to be used to develop and install renewable sources AND to develop sources for the material products (e.g., lubricants, plastics, drug precursors) derived from dwindling fossil fuel reserves. A part of this expenditure had better include a delicate PR campaign to inure the populace to the notion that the hyper-consumption party (as religion) is over.

William M. Connolley said...

By swapping from coal to gas you've already massively lowered your CO2 emissions. So you might want to think about sequestration, but it has become much less urgent.

> why can't we use a fraction of that economic benefit to...

I guess you know this already, but this isn't how economics / the world works. Any economic benefit immeadiately wurbles off into the world, it doesn't stay attached to one industry, nor is there any reason to want it to. All that happens, supposing a switch from coal to gas that has economic benefits, is that you have some more resource/money available. What will you use it for? You might choose sequestration, mitigation, or partying.

Anonymous said...

Riff Bottom Line: when you're reduced to fracking (and steaming sticky sand) in order to squeeze out the remaining fossil carbon from the geosphere, you're scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Thermodynamics wins. Bend over bitch, the Limits to Growth is a mistress who wants to whip you good and proper.

Read the bottom line that's sitting there under the scrapings...

Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Esq.

KAP said...

Or, maybe we could tax fossil carbon at a rate commensurate with its external cost, including CCS. But that would require actual thinking about actual economics from the right. (And from the left).

John said...

And this hot off the press:

The good news: "The Obama administration on Friday issued a proposed rule governing hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas on public lands that will for the first time require disclosure of the chemicals used in the process."

Followed immediately by the usual bad news:
"But in a significant concession to the oil industry, companies will have to reveal the composition of fluids only after they have completed drilling — a sharp change from the government’s original proposal, which would have required disclosure of the chemicals 30 days before a well could be started. "

John Puma