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Saturday, August 16, 2008

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS OF THE BLUE REVOLUTIONS (Part 9)

The Blue Revolution continues from Chapter 4 of SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Planet Earth.
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The problem with energy and resource development is that most forms damage the environment in some way. We know about fossil fuels and global climate warming. Nuclear power brings storage problems and terrorism nightmares. I’ve had my fill of problems with geothermal energy and surfers once complained about wave power devices taking up their favorite spot. Hydroelectric power is pretty much coming to a standstill, first, because most of the usable sites have been exploited, but also because blocking rivers is bad and creating artificial lakes means taking up land space. Even solar energy means you need to manufacture silicon wafers and wind machines, and of the latter, the Audubon Society complained at a hearing that these turbines would kill birds. Hawaiian Electric Company proposed a modest wind farm at their Kahe site in Honolulu and the community responded no because they felt they were being used again (the solid waste disposal location is nearby) and wind farms are ugly, anyway. I remember as a staff member in the Senate reading complaints from Hawaii about biomass (sugar) factories and field burning spewing out particulates. You almost can’t do anything these days without irritating someone. A simple solution is to be as considerate as you can, but find a way to prevail anyway.

However, OTEC and the Blue Revolution might actually offer environmental enhancement. I do worry about Greenpeace, and the delay they can cause if they are convinced this technology is evil, but part of the effort will be devoted to resurrecting threatened species and augmenting depleted stocks. I’ve heard from environmentalists who worry about affecting the thermohaline circulation, cloudying up of the ocean with algae and dangerous red tides. I remain convinced, though, that the overall affect on Planet Earth and society will be very positive. Can global warming be remediated by treating the deep ocean water to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? Maybe. Certainly, the production of marine biomass to be converted into a biofuel will reduce consumption of fossil fuels. Will a large number of grazing plantships someday plying the waters where hurricanes form reduce the severity, and, perhaps, eliminate, the formation of hurricanes? Tomorrow, some history and future of this potential.
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Tropical Storm Fay will soon go right through Cuba and head for the western coastline of Florida. There is a chance Fay will become a hurricane, a lot depending on how long she can avoid land and remain in warm waters. Tropical Depression Iselle continues to head for Hawaii, but is weakening, and should not pose a threat. Tropical Storm Vongfong at 45 MPH is located 200 miles south southwest of Tokyo, but should also begin to dissipate.
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