Utah ranks No. 6 in the country on carbon dioxide pollution

• Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
June 2, 2014 1:59 p.m.

To "Schnee" if nature does not emit a constant amount of CO2, how do we know how much CO2 nature can absorb if the output is variable? If one year the CO2 output was greater than the ability to absorb was followed by a year where the CO2 output was much less than the earth could absorb, and you have a constantly changing absorption rate, how do you know how much the Earth can absorb?

To simplify things, lets imagine that you dig a hole in the ground and you start to fill the hole with one garden hose. If you adjust things right, you can eventually achieve equilibrium with water being absorbed into the ground at the sme rate you spray it. Now, to make it resemble the atmosphere we will now mess with your flow rate making it higher or lower at random intervals. While you are filling the hole, your child brings out a smaller hose that also fluctuates. Another child begins to change the size of the hole, making it larger some times, and smaller other times. Now, tell me what is the capacity of the hole to absorb water?

• Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
June 2, 2014 11:04 a.m.

@Redshirt1701
"the problem is that nature does not release a constant amount of CO2."

I made a simplification to illustrate a concept. I know that natural CO2 isn't constant and was never trying to claim it was, but here's the thing... there is a very clear trend in CO2 over the past 150 years, with current levels that are higher than anything in over half a million years. The primary reason for this rapid change is human involvement; we are responsible for the vast majority of the increase in atmospheric CO2 in the past two centuries. That's just fact.

• Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
June 2, 2014 8:13 a.m.

To "Frozen Fractals" the problem is that nature does not release a constant amount of CO2. If that isn't enough, NASA doesn't even know where it goes. Apparently nature is capable of absorbing MORE CO2 than it produces.

What you assume about CO2 doesn't reflect reality. If it did, we should have double the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere than we currently do.

You assume that CO2 remains constant, but even Al Gore and the leading climatologists say otherwise. Are you smarter than Al and the entire IPCC? I don't agree with their conclusions, but even they don't claim that CO2 levels are constant.

• saltykat Salt Lake City, UT
June 1, 2014 1:23 p.m.

• statman Lehi, UT
June 1, 2014 4:18 a.m.

The problem with solar and wind is that they're unreliable. If you want to avoid brownouts and blackouts, for every megawatt of solar / wind, you have to build one megawatt generation of an NG plant. If everything works right, you can generate nice clean energy. But if it's overcast or not windy, you have to have the NG plant "on call." This makes solar and wind INCREDIBLY costly - and this extra cost is never added to the costs thrown around by the greenies...

• Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
May 31, 2014 8:14 a.m.

@Redshirt
"Think about it. If man produces 10% of all CO2 emissions on the planet, and if CO2 is responsible for 1% of the warming, how sensitive is the atmosphere to manmade CO2?"

As I said earlier, man produces most of the increase in CO2 and is responsible for most of why the atmosphere has gone from 280 to 400ppm since nature is mostly balanced (so while we produce 10% of the CO2 we're producing a much larger percentage of the increase in CO2). CO2 is typically considered to be responsible for around 10% (I picked towards the lower end of the estimate range) of the greenhouse effect and it's increased by a third the past 150 years unlike other greenhouse gases so it's share of the greenhouse effect would only be increasing.

• Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
May 31, 2014 8:06 a.m.

@Redshirt
"It is really funny that we worry so much about CO2 when, according to NASA 90% of it is naturally created. How arrogant are we that we assume that Man in the primary source of CO2 in the atmosphere."

Nature is largely balanced. If nature puts in 100 units but removes 100 units and humans put in 10 units, that human contribution is very important. Basically humans are the primary source of the increase in CO2 over the past 200 years to levels not seen in over half a million years.

• My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
May 31, 2014 3:47 a.m.

No, CO2 is not a pollutant. Natural gas is carbon fuel and emits CO2 when burned so to say that NG is environmentally cleans is a fraudulent argument. CO2 is a component product of all agri matter and is not toxic, poisonous, or deadly to the atmosphere.

The presidnet is hardly a qualified in any scientific posturing. His administration is so incompetent, unqualified, for any position, Obama appointed women he can throw to the wolves whenever he is challenged for accountability.

No science has acknowledged CO2 as a poison or pollutant so the left wing nuts have no case or proof CO2 is a threat to humans or the environment. Its a point of accusation that Obama knows no one can challenge so he uses it as an effective weapon for the left wing to promote excessive high cost non feasible alternative of energy that he has thrown trillions of dollars at to save face for being an idiot.

Obama used CO2 as a terrorist weapon to create global fear to destroy the crude oil and coal industry. Should we kill fetus in the womb to stop the spread of CO2? That's how ridiculous the Obama theorem is.

• Shamal Happy Valley, UT
May 30, 2014 4:53 p.m.

lket-
"Once in Place"- Precisely. Only last year was it announced that the energy produced during the effective life of a solar panel had just eclipsed the amount of energy consumed to produce that solar panel. Pollution and cost of maintenance (which is significant) aside, we only just reached the point where a panel could theoretically reproduce the energy it took to create it LAST YEAR. Just getting to the point where they are "in place" is tremendously inefficient.

"Once in Place"- a Stanford study from last year says that solar operates at a greater cost than Natural Gas by 38%.
-Only southern Utah is counted as having favorable conditions for Solar. The cost to run Solar in the rest of Utah is much higher.
-If Natural gas capacity in America doubled and the proportionate coal producing capacity was retired, we'd reduce CO2 output by 38%.
-The solar industry today exists because of heavy government subsidies and the carbon Tax. Eliminate either, and the industry disappears. Natural Gas needs neither to grow, improving the environment even without government regulation.
-Surprisingly, it is predicted that solar technology will advance independent of the rise or fall of the commercial solar industry.

• RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
May 30, 2014 1:57 p.m.

To "Esquire" Ok, lets try this. Eliminate CO2 from the atmosphere and from the water, tell us how long it would be until the Earth is devoid of life. Are you saying CO2 is always a pollutant?

Your argument does not hold up because an overdose of anything that is good can kill you, yet we don't lable everything a pollutant or poison.

What evidence is there that CO2 is a pollutant? Right now we don't have an accurate model of the atmosphere, so we don't even know the full effect of CO2 in the atmosphere. If we don't know what the full effect is of CO2 in the atmosphere, how do we know what portion the man-made CO2 contributes to the whole system.

Think about it. If man produces 10% of all CO2 emissions on the planet, and if CO2 is responsible for 1% of the warming, how sensitive is the atmosphere to manmade CO2? At 1% the amount of change attributable to man is not within the ability of the weather instruments to measure.

• Esquire Springville, UT
May 30, 2014 1:06 p.m.

@ RedShirt, are you saying that CO2 is never a pollutant? Wow, denial.

• RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
May 30, 2014 12:27 p.m.

To "Esquire" I could say the same thing about Oxygen. If I put you in a highly oxygenated environment, that would kill you too. Is Oxygen a pollutant too. If we increase the amount of nitrogen in the atmosphere, that will kill you too.

Are you going to define Oxygen and Nitrogen as pollutants too?

It is really funny that we worry so much about CO2 when, according to NASA 90% of it is naturally created. How arrogant are we that we assume that Man in the primary source of CO2 in the atmosphere.

• lket Bluffdale, UT
May 30, 2014 12:19 p.m.

we have plenty of sun and wind in utah not to mention steep rivers that could generate water power. all of them pay for themselves once in place low up keep and free energy.

• Shamal Happy Valley, UT
May 30, 2014 9:57 a.m.

Baron Scarpia-
Utah appears to have monopolized brain cells. Dramatically reducing pollutants while keeping energy costs low with mature but underutilized technology and energy sources that we have locally in abundance seems wise to me. I'm comfortable when we can talk about costs, improved efficiency and air quality in terms of ROI. It is easily done with alternatives such as natural gas. I like to be able to hold people accountable for how money is spent.
When people say that its just the right thing to do and I'm a horrible, or ignorant human being when we try to speak in terms of ROI, it tells me that they are hiding the truth(its not actually as good for the environment of effective as they say) or lazy(haven't done their homework).
If 10% of the federal dollars thrown at solar projects over the past 10 years had gone to natural gas projects, Utah's air would be much cleaner today.
You ignore the dramatic disparity between the environmental/financial cost of producing and then maintaining the infrastructure vs. the energy output. That is NOT close to changing and it certainly hasn't been for lack of funding.

• Esquire Springville, UT
May 30, 2014 8:49 a.m.

@ No One Of Consequence, one way to test your assertion is to put someone, perhaps you, in a room with a disproportionate level of CO2 and see how well you thrive. It is a way to see if you are right. Many scientists over time have put themselves on the line to test their theories. Ready to volunteer for this experiment?

• Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
May 29, 2014 9:00 p.m.

Carbon taxes are coming, and Utahns will be left paying them because our monopoly utilities and legislature don't believe in climate change and don't believe in diversifying our energy portfolio to incorporate clean, price stable energy sources that won't be subject to carbon taxes (e.g., wind and solar).

Our monopoly utilities don't care because they can simply pass along those carbon taxes to ratepayers and blame Obama or California for those costs -- rather than blame themselves for not preparing in advance for what society has been taking about for more than a decade.

It's good to be a monopoly in Utah.

• Shamal Happy Valley, UT
May 29, 2014 6:53 p.m.

Reading the article you'd think that aging fossil fuel plants are being replaced by wind, hydro and solar in Utah.

I know of some new world class, ultra modern natural gas burning plants and a nuclear plant in the works, but I haven't heard about plans to build a solar array the size of Utah Lake, or building the worlds largest dam to replace the output of a single coal burning plant in Utah.

• No One Of Consequence West Jordan, UT
May 29, 2014 6:35 p.m.

Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant. It is what feeds the plants that feed us.