Climatologist wants halt to coal
plants: Scientist emphasizes need to stabilize carbon
Nov 17, 2007 - McClatchy Tribune
Regional News - Bruce Henderson
A 2004 Science magazine article by two Princeton
University scientists is just now attracting widespread
attention in the global warming field.
Stephen Pacala and Robert Socolow maintained that
proven technology can halt the increase in carbon
dioxide if applied on a large scale over the next
The authors divide into seven wedges a chart showing
the projected increase in carbon dioxide, with each
"wedge" representing 1 billion tons of increased annual
carbon emissions. Pacala and Socolow suggest 15 options
for cutting emissions and say there are other possibilities
The article, cited in the October issue of National
Geographic magazine, said delays will increase the
number of "wedges" needed to prevent carbon dioxide
from building up in the atmosphere.
At the same time, it said, researchers must immediately
increase their work to develop revolutionary technologies
that would reduce carbon production in the second
half of this century.
Among the wedge-reducing options for the coming 50
--Double the average mileage of 2 billion cars (about
four times as many as today) from 30 miles per gallon
to 60 miles per gallon, or reduce their average driving
distance from 10,000 miles to 5,000 miles per year.
Urban planning and telecommuting can help.
--Replace petroleum fuels with 34 million barrels
of ethanol per day, about 50 times current production
and requiring one-sixth of the world's cropland. Using
carbon-based fuel to produce ethanol would reduce
this option's impact.
--Use efficient heating, cooling, lighting and refrigeration
in residential and commercial buildings. About half
of these savings are in developing countries.
--Substitute natural gas for coal to generate electricity,
capturing and storing carbon dioxide emissions and
other fuel substitutions.
--Double the number of nuclear power plants, which
would require restoring public confidence in safety
and waste disposal and international security agreements
on uranium enrichment and plutonium recycling.
--Install 4 million electricity-generating windmills,
100 times the current number.
--To absorb more carbon dioxide, reduce tropical
deforestation to zero and replant forests.
--Expand no-till farming worldwide to reduce plowing
and keep carbon in the soil.