Public Comment

Emission Cuts Alone Won’t Solve the Problem

By James Singmaster
Thursday July 24, 2008 - 10:08:00 AM

In a July 17 front-page article in the San Francisco Chronicle, a poll on the public’s views on action and attitude over gas prices showed that Californians’ attitudes are changing to be more receptive to nuclear energy and offshore drilling indicating that big oil and energy companies are getting their way even here. They are backing away from taking the action, given much publicity by some of those companies, of finding energy alternatives, perhaps now even underplaying various government agencies from working on alternatives, especially hydrogen. This may backfire on them and the United States as Chinese investigators have recently reported a catalyst to generate hydrogen from water using the sun’s energy. BP has been conning the UC Berkeley and other universities with big bucks for biofuels that got debunked in the April 7 Time cover article “The Clean Energy Myth.”  

Unfortunately the G-8 meeting still got little done except an impossible emissions-cut projection that more oil use obviously will not help with.  

Surprisingly, one big oil honcho, T. Boone Pickens, has now announced plans for putting up the biggest windmill operation in Texas supposedly at a cost of $4.3 billion. That’s one action that Californians should be pushing its politicians to go for, as Arnie is kind of adrift in verbiage with little real action for getting California green. And several other catalysts besides the Chinese one have been reported so some public attitude towards forcing the federal government to perhaps set up a corporation for hydrogen generation may be needed to get action here. Big coal, oil and energy are not going to move much to get hydrogen as company profits are going to shrink horrendously with having water and sun energy as the raw materials, meaning huge investments in raw material leases supply systems and processing plants are down the drain. So Californians need to change their attitudes to get action on alternative energy, namely for windmills and hydrogen, and tell their various government representatives to move on these actions.  

On July 18, Al Gore was widely reported on calling for all electric energy to be generated without fossil fuels. Unfortunately, that does nothing to actually reduce the 35 percent and growing overload of GHGs, mainly carbon dioxide, that is already causing melting of glaciers and raising of ocean acidity destroying corals. I point to my letters and commentaries in the Daily Planet(Feb. 19 and April 11), where I outline a pyrolysis program for using organic wastes to get some energy, while stopping the GHG re-emitting that occurs naturally from the biodegradation of the wastes and getting the big added benefit that all germs, toxics and drugs are destroyed. At the G-8 meeting, considerable noise was made for improving world health with nary a mention of the role that organic wastes play as the major cause of world health problems via the water pollution from the casual dumping of ever-expanding amounts of such wastes. The public needs to wake up to the never ending mess that is organic wastes, to which an extremely beneficial process, pyrolysis, can be applied. In a July 13 op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle, J. Brinkley, noted foreign policy correspondent formerly at the New York Times, wrote about the Naples’ Trash Crisis indicating that some health and environmental problems are being seen including contamination of buffalo mozzarella.  

We cannot get control of global warming by cutting emissions alone as that just maintains the level of the overload of carbon dioxide to continue the effects include damage to corals and associated marine communities. The emissions cutting projected in G-8 proposals still means adding some more GHGs, just at a slower rate, to be slowing the worsening of warming. And more glowing news about biofuelishness has recently come out with no one recognizing that any type of fermentation to get fuel is just recycling carbon dioxide from the overload without removing any.  

Fermentations give off uselessly a great deal of energy and that gas before obtaining the fuel component, while pyrolysis of organic matter, be it with wastes or some wood crop, would have almost all carbon either converted to inert charcoal or useable organic chemicals with very little GHG emissions. If some fuel gets burned to fire pyrolysis, the heated gases and charcoal formed are used to generate electricity.  

Some people are still claiming that the carbon dioxide overload is not triggering global warming, but I don’t think any one would claim that something other than organic wastes and their mishandling and outright dumping in the environment are the leading cause of water pollution leading to most health problems in less developed countries. We need action and attitude on getting world-wide attention to the organic waste mess and the pyrolysis cure for it. To rephrase an old adage: Waste Not, Want Not, Warm Not, Water-pollute Not.  


James Singmaster is a Fremont resident.