Changing Climates, Changing Minds

Environmental correspondent Judith Lewis points out that over on the right, Reason magazine’s science reporter Ronald Bailey’s "obdurate" see-no-global-warming, hear-no-global-warming, speak-no-global-warming stance is beginning to crack…while on the left, The Guardian‘s science reporter, Robin McKie, opens discussion of a innovative scheme to bury carbon dioxide emissions from English power plants, instead of releasing them into the air.

Under the scheme, carbon dioxide from power stations – instead of being vented into the atmosphere – would be liquefied, pumped back out to the North Sea via a disused gas pipeline and into the Miller field. Five million tonnes a year could be stored there for more then 10,000 years, say researchers.

BP would gain because the carbon dioxide pumped into the depleted field would help to flush out its last reserves of oil, while Britain would be provided with a sink for its fossil fuel emissions.

This "carbon sequestration" idea was brought forward by the Scientific American in l998. Subsequently other researchers have suggested more farfetched ideas to shield our planet from the sun, which were amusingly mocked in an issue of Sierra a while back. (Sorry, I can’t find the piece.) But few meaningful steps have been taken towards solutions of any sort in this country; societal, technological, you name it. What’s interesting is that publications on opposite ends of the political spectrum now show signs of an openness to a broader discussion of the issue than has been possible in recent years.

Given the flood of first-rate pieces recently from The New Yorker, Mother Jones, National Geographic, and even a fairly strong editorial from USA Today, is it possible that minds are opening to a real discussion of this crucial issue, despite a total lack of leadership from the White House?

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