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Despite its potential, there is little investment and a lack of governmental support for
ocean thermal energy conversion in the status quo.
FRIEDMAN, Editor-in-Chief, Harvard Political Review, 2014
CONVERSION”,, accessed 7-7-14, Jacob
Although it may seem like an environmentalist’s fantasy, experts in oceanic energy contend
that the technology to provide a truly infinite source of power to the United States already
exists in the form of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC). Despite enthusiastic projections
and promising prototypes, however, a lack of governmental support and the need for risky
capital investment have stalled OTEC in its research and development phase. Regardless,
oceanic energy experts have high hopes. Dr. Joseph Huang, Senior Scientist at the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and former leader of a Department of Energy team on
oceanic energy, told the HPR, “If we can use one percent of the energy [generated by OTEC] for
electricity and other things, the potential is so big. It is more than 100 to 1000 times more than
the current consumption of worldwide energy. The potential is huge. There is not any other
renewable energy that can compare with OTEC.” The Science of OTEC French physicist George
Claude first explored the science of OTEC in the early twentieth century, and he built an
experimental design in 1929. Unfortunately for Claude, the high maintenance needed for an
OTEC plant, especially given the frequency of storms in tropical ocean climates, caused him to
abandon the project. Nevertheless, his work demonstrated that the difference in temperature
between the surface layer and the depths of the ocean was enough to generate power, using
the warmer water as the heat source and the cooler water as a heat sink. OTEC takes warm
water and pressurizes it so that it becomes steam, then uses the steam to power a turbine
which creates power, and completes the cycle by using the cold water to return the steam to its
liquid state. Huge Capital, Huge Risks Despite the sound science, a fully functioning OTEC
prototype has yet to be developed. The high costs of building even a model pose the main
barrier. Although piecemeal experiments have proven the effectiveness of the individual
components, a large-scale plant has never been built. Luis Vega of the Pacific International
Center for High Technology Research estimated in an OTEC summary presentation that a
commercial-size five-megawatt OTEC plant could cost from 80 to 100 million dollars over five
years. According to Terry Penney, the Technology Manager at the National Renewable Energy
Laboratory, the combination of cost and risk is OTEC’s main liability. “We’ve talked to inventors
and other constituents over the years, and it’s still a matter of huge capital investment and a
huge risk, and there are many [alternate forms of energy] that are less risky that could produce
power with the same certainty,” Penney told the HPR. Moreover, OTEC is highly vulnerable to
the elements in the marine environment. Big storms or a hurricane like Katrina could
completely disrupt energy production by mangling the OTEC plants. Were a country completely

look at the Far East . oil is roughly six times more expensive than in the 1980s. For now. and desalinated fresh water. for example. It’s a bureaucratic issue. Japan . co-founder of Sea Solar Power Inc.” In fact. told the HPR.” according to a National Renewable Energy Laboratory spokesman. as the U. According to Penney. he added. It’s not the Democrats.dependent on oceanic energy. And. where the Philippine Department of Energy has worked with Japanese experts to select 16 potential OTEC sites. Anderson described several additional revenue streams. OTEC can also serve as a form of aquaculture. There are a few people in the Department of Energy who have blocked government funding for this. American interests in OTEC promise to remain largely academic. costs. such a transition would greatly reduce .S. there was a small [governmental] program for OTEC and it was abandoned…That philosophy has carried forth to this day. It is a gigantic pot of wealth for everybody… People are crying for power. though.. “You are effectively fertilizing the upper photic zone…The fishing around the sea solar power plants will be among the best fishing holes in the world naturally. these benefits are not limited to the United States . According to Huang. When they see a disruption of the pristine marine landscape. The Future of Oceanic Energy Were its vast potential harnessed. “Years ago in the ’80s.” Anderson said. people do not want to see OTEC plants when they look at the ocean. Even environmentalists have impeded OTEC’s development. including natural by-products such as hydrogen. This past year. government is dragging its feet. Jim Anderson. current economic conditions are more favorable to OTEC. ethanol. other countries are moving forward with their own designs and may well beat American industry to a fully-functioning plant. a lower interest rate makes capital investment more attractive. they think pollution. conducts OTEC research around the islands. Perhaps the most interest is in the Philippines . although the proposal was ultimately defeated. Environmentally. and uncertain popularity of OTEC. In addition. a company specializing in OTEC technology. The Naval Research Academy and Oregon State University are conducting research programs off the coasts of Oahu and Oregon . respectively. Given the risks. there has been significant academic interest in OTEC. severe weather could be debilitating. OTEC plants may also generate revenue from non-energy products. At $65-70 per barrel. when initial OTEC cost projections were made. Hawaii ’s National Energy Laboratory. not the Republicans. Huang said that the changes in the economic climate over the past few decades have increased OTEC’s viability. “Look at Africa . there is a risk that the salt water surrounding an OTEC plant would cause the machinery to “rust or corrode” or “fill up with seaweed or mud. although the National Institute of Ocean Technology project has stalled due to a lack of funding. has run into capital cost issues. it seems unlikely that federal support for OTEC is forthcoming. Do the Benefits Outweight the Costs? Oceanic energy advocates insist that the long-term benefits of OTEC more than justify the short-term expense. OTEC could change the face of energy consumption by causing a shift away from fossil fuels. Taiwan and various European nations have also explored OTEC as part of their long-term energy strategy.” OTEC is not completely off the government’s radar. Moreover. but Saga University ’s Institute of Ocean Energy has recently won prizes for advances in refinement of the OTEC cycle. however. for the first time in a decade. Congress debated reviving the oceanic energy program in the energy bill. too. look at South America . In India . OTEC even enjoys some support on a state level.

having an alternative energy source could free the United States . By tapping into our most abundant resource. from foreign oil dependency. Worldwide. the future isn’t very bright…For the future. “We just cannot ignore oceanic energy. because the ocean is so huge and the potential is so big… No matter who assesses. and with only relatively small variations from summer to winter. energy-intensive central refrigeration methods can be replaced by Seawater Air Conditioning (SWAC). our oceans. BSc in conservative biology. Already. OTEC’s ability to help countries reduce their energy-related carbon dioxide emissions is staggering. . DOI 6/25/2014. that same 10-MW plant can produce as much as 75 million liters of fresh drinking water on a daily basis via desalination (removing salt and other minerals from seawater). For large buildings and hotels. by comparison. Meanwhile. especially OTEC. yet intermittent. With the thermal resources of the ocean available day and night. senior communications specialist for the Ocean Thermal Energy and the future is in the ocean. giving it a great advantage over other important. http://empowertheocean. One 10-MW OTEC plant alone can provide clean. Chile. renewable-energy sources. SDC Plant by using the deep cold water in OTEC plant pipes. and other countries. “OTEC Can Help Countries Get Serious About Climate Change”. OTEC can produce clean energy 24 hours a day. if you rely on fossil energy for the future.” PLAN Thus the plan: The United States federal government should commercially develop and deploy Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion power plants. India. and Saudi Arabia recognize the crucial role of desalination and have plans to build plants in the near future. replacing the burning of 50. has been proven to deliver huge energy savings (up to 90%) and to reduce cooling-associated emissions significantly. seven days a week. Empower the Ocean. particularly in tropical climates. look for the big resources. When the plant’s energy is not in demand. bidding. we have to look into renewable energy. Seawater Air Conditioning (SWAC). and China manage water shortages via desalination plants. the surge in proposals. Solvency: Adv. air conditioning (AC) is the single greatest demand on energy and is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions. countries such as the United Arab Emirates.greenhouse gas emissions and decrease the rate of global warming. 1: Warming OTEC reduces CO2 emissions and causes a massive shift towards clean energy Websdale. MEL] As these changes in lifestyle and political commitment make clear. countries across the globe are serious about making sustainable changes. all without the use of fossil fuels. OTEC can allow us to meet energy and water demands sustainably by utilizing temperature differences between warm surface water and cold deep water. Geopolitically. As Huang said.000 tons of CO2 per year into the atmosphere. 2014 *Emma.000 barrels of oil and preventing the release of 80. March 5. One technology that can benefit nearly all of these locations by helping them reach their clean-energy and emission-reduction targets is Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC). and deployment of desalination plants reflects an awareness of the climate-proof potential for desalination and its capacity to separate industrial water demand from public water supplies. reliable energy for approximately 10. countries including the United States. Australia.000 people. helping countries reach emission-reduction targets.

a trend consistent with (1) retreat of northern hemisphere snow and Arctic sea ice in the last 40 years. Adopted in October 2006. http://www. lake sediments. citing dozens of peer-reviewed publications. Its global importance is recognized by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the United States Department of Energy (DOE). resolved a previous discrepancy with ground-station trends. and colder intervals with more widespread glaciation. (2) greater heat storage in the ocean over the last 50 years. Santer et al. boreholes. but may also reflect internal responses generated by large ice sheets. Given the knowledge gained from paleoclimatic studies. Changes in Earth’s tectonism and its orbit are far too slow to have played a significant role in a . 2005. but later studies (Mears and Wentz. “Climate Change: Rationale”. the satellite data are now in basic agreement with ground-station data and confirm a warming trend since 1979. Every data method and prediction model indicates fast anthropogenic warming – all natural long-term explanations are flawed – the ocean is key to sustainability – and continuation will risk extinction Geological Society of America 2013 (The Geological Society of America. the technology is perfectly positioned to help countries successfully restrict fossil fuel use and move toward clean energy. Paleoclimatic research has demonstrated that these major changes in climate and biota are associated with significant changes in climate forcing such as continental positions and topography. Cyclic changes in ice volume during glacial periods over the last three million years have been correlated to orbital cycles and changes in greenhouse gas concentrations. The testing of increasingly sophisticated climate models by comparison to geologic proxies is continuing. March 2013. (3) retreat of most mountain glaciers since 1850. differences in time of arrival over a given location. With these factors taken into account. revised April 2010. These and other changes were accompanied by major shifts in species and ecosystems. Ground-station measurements have shown a warming trend of ~0. In a related study.8 °C since the mid-1800s. and the distribution and amount of solar energy at the top of the atmosphere caused by changes in Earth's orbit and the evolution of the sun as a main sequence star. This rich history of Earth's climate has been used as one of several key sources of information for assessing the predictive capabilities of modern climate models. Both instrumental records and proxy indices from geologic sources show that global mean surface temperature was higher during the last few decades of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st than during any comparable period during the preceding four centuries (National Research Council. 2006). and energy-saving air conditioning. With instrumental discrepancies having been resolved. several long-term causes of the current warming trend can be eliminated. which has listed 68 countries and 29 territories as suitable candidates for OTEC plants. fresh drinking water.htm.OTEC’s services can be delivered worldwide. which began in 1979.. cave deposits and corals. tree rings. (2005) found problems with corrections of tropical daytime radiosonde measurements and largely recent warming of Earth’s surface is now consistently supported by a wide range of measurements and proxies and is no longer open to serious challenge. and (5) proxy reconstructions of temperature change over past centuries from archives including ice cores. Furthermore. the greenhouse gas composition of the atmosphere. The geologic record contains unequivocal evidence of former climate change. and removal of higher-elevation effects on the lower tropospheric signal.geosociety. (4) an ongoing rise of global sea level for more than a century. Sherwood et including periods of greater warmth with limited polar ice. Accessed: 6/25/14) //AMM Scientific advances in the first decade of the 21st century have greatly reduced previous uncertainties about the amplitude and causes of recent global warming. a study performed by Dunbar identified 98 territories with access to the OTEC thermal resource. initially did not show a warming trend. leading to refinement of hypotheses and improved understanding of the drivers of past and current climate change. patterns of ocean circulation. 2008) found that the satellite data had not been fully adjusted for losses of satellite elevation through time. Measurements from satellites. With OTEC plants offering products and services including clean energy.

The vertical structure of observed changes in temperature and water vapor in the troposphere is consistent with the anthropogenic greenhouse-gas “fingerprint” simulated by climate models (Santer et al.. along with thermal expansion of seawater and melting of mountain glaciers and small ice caps. In addition. Throughout the era of satellite observation. will cause substantial future sea-level rise. continuously measured by satellites since 1979. large volcanic eruptions have cooled global climate for a year or two. 2008). The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is now ~30% higher than peak levels that have been measured in ice cores spanning 800. Greenhouse gases remain as the major explanation for the warming. 2011. 2004). which can be influenced by human activities. The other half of the estimated warming results from the net effect of feedbacks in the climate system: a large positive feedback from water vapor.000 years of age. As a result. melting of Greenland and West Antarctic ice (still highly uncertain as to amount). and the methane concentration is 2. and El Niño episodes have warmed it for about a year. and still uncertain. About half of Earth’s warming has occurred through the basic heat-trapping effect of the gases in the absence of any feedback processes. (8) acidification of the global ocean. Extensive efforts to find any other natural explanation of the recent trend have similarly failed. and (9) fundamental changes in the composition. abrupt climatic changes occurred within spans of just decades during previous ice-sheet fluctuations. the greenhouse-gas increases during the last 150 years would have caused a warming larger than that actually measured. by 2100 atmospheric CO2 concentrations will reach two to four times pre-industrial levels. subsequent observations of Sun-like stars (Foukal et al. Because large. This “clearsky” response to climate is known with high certainty. The 4th (2007) IPCC report concluded that changes in solar irradiance. 2008).rapidly changing 150-year trend. affecting densely populated coastal regions. a negative feedback from aerosols. (3) disappearance of mountain glaciers and their late-summer runoff. because the oceans take decades to centuries to respond fully to climatic forcing. the data show little evidence of increased solar influence (Foster and Rahmstorf.. the climate system has yet to register the full effect of gas increases in recent decades. and solar fluctuations are the principal remaining factors that could have changed rapidly enough and lasted long enough to explain the observed changes in global temperature. Although the 3rd (2001) IPCC report allowed that solar fluctuations might have contributed as much as 30% of the warming since 1850. At the other extreme. functioning. with reductions in spring and summer runoff for agricultural and municipal water. (5) greater soil erosion due to increases in heavy convective summer rainfall.. but neither factor dominates longer-term trends. Considered in isolation.5 °C compared to 1850. and biodiversity of many terrestrial and marine ecosystems. (2) less snow accumulation and earlier melt in mountains. (6) longer fire seasons and increases in fire frequency. (7) severe insect outbreaks in vulnerable forests. These advances in scientific understanding of recent warming form the basis for projections of future changes. for a total warming of 2 °C to 4. If greenhouse-gas emissions follow predicted trajectories. a smaller positive feedback from snow and ice albedo.. Lean and Rind. 2004) and new simulations of the evolution of solar sources of irradiance variations (Wang et al.feedbacks from clouds. This range of changes in greenhouse gas concentrations and temperature would substantially alter the functioning of the planet in many ways. but negative feedback from aerosols and possibly clouds has offset part of the warming. (4) increased evaporation from farmland soils and stress on crops. during periods of strong warming. 2005) have reduced these estimates. greenhouse gas concentrations. account for less than 10% of the last 150 years of warming. inundating farmland and dislocating large populations. Observations and climate model assessments of the natural and anthropogenic factors responsible for this warming conclude that rising anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases have been an increasingly important contributor since the mid-1800s and the major factor since the mid1900s (Meehl et al. the possibility exists for rapid future changes as . In addition.5 times higher. The projected changes involve risk to humans and other species: (1) continued shrinking of Arctic sea ice with effects on native cultures and ice-dependent biota.

Instead of trying to escape. As a matter of fact. it has given assessments and reports every six or seven years. ScienceDirect) As horrifying as the scenario of human extinction by sudden. and soon to pass into a morbid fever that Earth’s family and an intimate part of it. another scenario of human extinction by fire is one that may not so easily be reversed in a short period of time because it is not a fast-burning fire. their findings have essentially been complementary to the 1995 report – a constant strengthening of the simple basic truth that humans were burning too much fossil fuel. endless new change of happenings whose eventual outcome the actor is entirely incapable of knowing or controlling beforehand. as the Earth and its delicate ecosystems. and the climate specialists see it as seriously ill. the IPCC report places too much emphasis on a linear progression that does not take sufficient account of the dynamics of systems theory. the average global temperature is predicted to rise about 5 degrees this century. which could turn out to be a point of no return. the one consolation is that this future can be avoided within a relatively short period of time if responsible world leaders change Cold War thinking to move away from aggressive wars over natural resources and towards the eventual dismantlement of most if not all nuclear weapons. inventor. I have to tell you. the heat of the water sneaks up on it until it is debilitated. he now acts into nature to augment and transform natural processes. by the time the politicians finally all agree with the scientific consensus that global warming is indeed human caused. Whether this fable can actually be industrial development based on the burning of fossil fuels. the scientific consensus grew global warming is verifiable. open and transparent basis the scientific.’’ *17+. its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. . transformative processes. Volume 41. In other words. in as much as we act into nature.’’*16+. almost ‘‘ is warmer and therefore holds more water than cold air. finally. On the other hand. The acidification of the global ocean and its effects on ocean life are projected to last for tens of thousands of years. 12 years later. Warming is real and causes extinction Morgan 09 – Professor of Current Affairs @ Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. we carry human unpredictability into the future with a precarious recklessness that may indeed end in human catastrophe or extinction. Heavy rainfalls are becoming more common since the air and ‘cold days. and heat waves have become more frequent. instead. this dynamism is dangerous because of its unpredictability. So. James Lovelock. which could prove to have the most devastating. or became more aggressive in our dealings with the given forces of the earth. nevertheless. The creator of the wellknown yet controversial Gaia Theory. technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of humaninduced climate change. cold nights and frost have become less sheets become vulnerable to large greenhouse-gas increases. as more andmore research continually provided concrete and empirical evidence to confirm the global warming hypothesis. “World on fire: two scenarios of the destruction of human civilization and possible extinction of the human race”. to cool the planet. Though it finally realizes its predicament and attempts to escape. We no longer know what the laws of nature are because the unpredictability of Nature increases in proportion to the degree by which industrial civilization injects its own processes into it. as early as the 1950s. that you and especially civilization are in grave danger. with a stronger scientific consensus that the slow burn is ‘‘very likely’’ human caused. She may last as long as 100. environment. carbon-climate model simulations indicate that 10–20% of the anthropogenic CO2 “pulse” could stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years. but for the first time have taken nature into the human world as such and obliterated the defensive boundaries between natural elements and the human artifice by which all previous civilizations were hedged in’’ *18+. Nature may yet have her revenge and the last word. its feeble attempt is to no avail— and the frog dies. . Futures. Nature can no longer be thought of as having absolute or iron-clad laws. which leads to a fundamentally different premise regarding the relationship between industrial civilization and nature. catastrophic consequences for the long-term future of human civilization. even if responsible world leaders change their thinking about ‘‘progress’’ and the proverbial frog in a pot of water who does not realize that the temperature of the water is gradually rising.000 years. but it could rise as much as 8 degrees. to attempt to prove that the theory had no basis in planetary history and present-day reality. which are the equivalent of the pathology lab of a hospital. It was ill luck that we started polluting at a time when the sun is too hot for comfort. mostly due to the burning of fossil fuels. as dire as it may seem. as man no longer merely takes from nature what is needed for fabrication. it has given four assessments. according to Bill McKibben [17]. Unfortunately. which starkly contrasts with previous times because the very distinction between nature and man as ‘‘Homo faber’’ has become blurred. dynamic. thus it cannot easily be changed. . As Arendt pointed out.and the splitting of the atom is precisely such a man-made natural process -we not only increased our power over nature. The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 by the WorldMeteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environmental Programme to ‘‘assess on a comprehensive. Hannah Arendt [18] observed this radical shift of emphasis in the human-nature relationship. and author. . December 2009. the 2007 report not only confirms global warming. is sufficient emphasis on the less likely but still plausible worst case scenarios. objective. . South Korea (Dennis Ray. Lovelock has recently written that it may be already too late for humanity to change course since climate centers around the world. while hot days. hot nights. .13 With all prior assessments came attacks fromsome parts of the scientific community. it is too late.’’ *17+. This is exactly the conclusion reached by the scientist. rather. This gradual process and course is long-lasting. Acting into nature to transform natural processes brings about an . Finally. extending the duration of fossil-fuel warming and its effects on humans and other species. but it also finds that the ‘‘amount of carbon in the atmosphere is now increasing at a faster rate even than before’’ and the temperature increases would be ‘‘considerably higher than they have been so far were it not for the blanket of soot and other pollution that is temporarily helping everything frozen on earth is melting. a slow burning fire is gradually heating up the planet as industrial civilization progresses and develops globally. ‘‘. especially by industry scientists. However. for elemental forces that we have yet to understand may be unleashed upon us by the very environment that we experiment with. The more human civilization becomes an integral part of this dynamic system. and atmosphere reach a tipping point. the rise in global temperature is melting the Arctic sheets. its development could be too advanced to arrest. Unless drastic action is taken soon. The moment we started natural processes of our own . fast-burning nuclear fire may seem. Since then. which could be much greater than what has been previously forecasted. Pages 683-693. As has already been evidenced in recent years. 12 years of ‘‘impressive scientific research’’ strongly confirms the 1995 report ‘‘that humans had grown so large in numbers and especially in appetite for energy that they were now damaging the most basic of stronger that human induced the earth’s systems—the balance between incoming and outgoing solar energy’’. The way that global warming will impact humanity in the future has often been depicted through the analogy of applied to frogs in heated water or not is irrelevant. through selfcreated.’’ *17+. what is missing in the IPCC report. that it is indeed human-caused. have reported the Earth’s physical condition. Issue 10. we carry our own unpredictability into our world. We have given Gaia a fever and soon her condition will worsen to a state like a coma. Thus far. it still serves as a comparable scenario of how the slow burning fire of global warming may eventually lead to a runaway condition and take humanity by surprise. which are then directed into the evolution of human civilization itself such that we become a part of the very processes that we make. As a matter of fact. the poor frog has become too weak and enfeebled to get himself out of hot water. This runaway polar melting will inflict great damage upon coastal areas. as members of the . the more difficult it becomes to extricate ourselves from it. the frog tries to adjust to the gradual temperature change. thus. Furthermore. . Indeed.

and neither we nor anyone else will ever get another chance. Carpenter continues. It becomes a self-sustaining collapse. not just of the earth’s population on doomsday. soil that has been continuously frozen for thousands of years.’’ *23+. This disturbing development. within the next 100 years. Sometimes you can push on a system and push on a system and. but sadly I cannot see the United States or the emerging economies of China and India cutting back in time. Both of the greenhouse gasses present in permafrost represent a global dilemma and challenge that compounds the effects of global warming and runaway climate change. contributing and accelerating global heating. it’s frightening. Those gases reach the atmosphere and help trap heat on Earth in the greenhouse effect. Whereas methane is a much more powerful agent to trap heat. They would be spared literal death but would nonetheless be victims .000 years. a scientific consensus is emerging (after repeated studies of ecological stressed ecosystems. already under way thaws permafrost. Scientists aren’t sure which is worse. reported that changes in ecosystems are not just gradual but are often sudden and catastrophic [20]. there is all the difference in the world between the mere possibility that a holocaust will bring about extinction and the certainty of it. . as Schell does: ‘‘Death lies if some small remnant does manage to survive. This mode of analysis is consistent with recent research on how ecosystems suddenly disappear. This ‘ Moreover. It is as impossible as trying to regulate your own temperature and the composition of your blood. The scary thing about it. you’re over into another regime. but of countless unborn generations. the game will be over. . The significance and severity of this problem cannot be understated since scientists have discovered that ‘‘the amount of carbon trapped in this type of permafrost called ‘‘yedoma’’ is much more prevalent than originally thought and may be 100 times *my emphasis+ the amount of carbon released into the air each year by the burning of fossil fuels’’ *21+. and we have no choice but to address the issue of nuclear weapons as though we knew for a certainty that their use would put an end to our species [23]. oceans and land surface in order to maintain the conditions right for life. For one thing. because if we lose. . finally. a professor of ecosystem ecology at the University of Florida and co-author of the study that appeared in Science.15 When we consider that beyond the horror of nuclear war. Lovelock’s forecast for climate change is based on a systems dynamics analysis of the interaction between humancreated processes and natural processes. given the right nudge. As Jonathon Foley. based on a scientific study by an international consortium.and. Permafrost under lakes will be released as methane while that which is under dry ground will be released as carbon dioxide. What could be the final push on a stressed system that could ‘‘break the camel’s back?’’ Recently. we have no right to gamble. he writes that since we have not made a positive decision to exterminate ourselves but instead have ‘‘chosen to live on the edge of extinction. Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press describes this disturbing positive feedback loop of Nature. We are in a fool’s climate. leaving us fully exposed to the heat of the global greenhouse.’’ *21+.’’ *21+. Professor Ted Schuur.’’ . it releases these gases into the atmosphere. the ‘‘several decades’’ that scientists say it will probably take to come out can just as well be considered ‘‘all at once. unthinkable prospect that there are no prospects – that there will be no future. The technological fix of dialysis helps. and they are the main source of emissions. periodically lunging toward the abyss only to draw back at the last second. or . aerosol pollution of the northern hemisphere reduces global warming by reflecting sunlight global dimming’ is transient and could disappear in a few days like the smoke that it is. Much of the tropical land mass will become scrub and desert. thus.’’ *22+. Gradual changes in vulnerability accumulate and eventually you get a shock to the system . a UW-Madison climatologist and another co-author of the Nature report. as Lovelock has predicted. then the catastrophic change is ‘‘irreversible. describes it as a ‘‘slow motion time bomb. It is a multidimensional model that appropriately reflects the dynamism of industrial civilization responsible for climate change. When we expand this analysis of ecosystems to the Earth itself. accidentally kept cool by smoke. sub-human creatures might survive such harsh conditions.’’ according to Stephen Carpenter. human civilization has been destroyed. relinquish the fire and our use of it to dominate the Earth and each other. there’s so much more that has not even been discovered yet. If ecosystems are in fact minichange) that ‘‘ models of the system of the Earth. Lovelock states that the task of trying to correct our course is hopelessly impossible. she writes: ‘‘It’s coming out a lot and there’s a lot more to come out. carbon dioxide. A 2001 article in Nature. puts it. much of the world we live in will be quite hot and may be unlivable. as Lovelock maintains. once the ‘‘flip’’ occurs. then we can expect the same kind of behavior. and before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable. We are responsible and will suffer the consequences: as the century progresses.unstoppable *22+.’’ *23+. salt and protein intake. as when warming ‘‘. it takes into account positive feedback loops that lead to ‘‘runaway’’ conditions. but it took more than 100. Would not it bring about a sort of ‘‘second death’’ – the death of the species – a possibility that the vast majority of the human race is in denial about? Talbot writes in the review of Schell’s book that it is not only the ‘‘death of the species. even mutated.17 In other words. as it thaws. and will no longer serve for regulation. . Yet time is not on our side. another horror is set into motion to interact with the subsequent nuclear winter to produce a poisonous and super heated planet. boom. but part of death’s meaning is to be found in the fact that it occurs in a biological and social world that survives. Thus. the chances of human survival seem even smaller. In the second chapter of Schell’s book.16 But what if the world itself were to perish. The worst will happen and survivors will have to adapt to a hell of a climate’’ *19+.’’ *20+. are capable of slipping rapidly from a seemingly steady state to something entirely different. is that there are ‘‘lots of mechanisms that tend to be self-perpetuating and relatively few that tend to shut it off’’ *21+. The trapped heat thaws more permafrost and so on.’’ *20+. morally they are the same. . but in terms of geological time. Katey Walters of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks describes the effects as ‘‘huge’’ and. [19] back to space. but is no replacement for living healthy kidneys’’ *19+. It is a vicious positive feedback loop that compounds the prognosis of global warming in ways that could very well prove to be the tipping point of no return. Therefore. another factor has been discovered in some areas of the arctic regions. for we are not in charge. A remnant of at the core of each person’s private existence. but for all purposes. Curiously. The less powerful heat-trapping agent.a flood or a drought . Thawed permafrost releases methane and carbon dioxide. That is the ‘‘second death’’ of humanity – the horrifying. Thus. at least by time as we commonly reckon it.’’ Also. Schell asks. as Foley maintains.14 In an accompanying AP article. a limnologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (who is also a co-author of the report). . scientifically speaking. this adds to the 40 per cent of the Earth’s surface we have depleted to feed ourselves. unless we have a ‘‘major cooling.’’ [23]. we have no other choice but to consider the finality of it all . also reported in permafrost that has locked up who knows how many tons of the greenhouse gasses.has been there before and recovered. our situation is one of uncertainty and nervous insecurity rather than of the fate of the Earth and its inhabitants has not yet been determined. what the poisonous environmental conditions would have on human evolution in the future. it only lasts for about 10 years before it dissipates into carbon dioxide or other chemicals. for those with ‘‘failing kidneys know the never-ending daily difficulty of adjusting water. and the question concerning human extinction becomes moot. Scientists are particularly worried about permafrost because. Also.’’ Surely. Of course. lasts for 100 years [21]. . although. as one researcher put it. Is it the end of human civilization and possible extinction of humankind? What Jonathon Schell wrote concerning death by the fire of nuclear holocaust also applies to the slow burning death of global warming: Once we learn that a holocaust might lead to extinction. Lovelock concludes his analysis on the fate of human civilization and Gaia by saying that we will do ‘‘our best to survive. methane and carbon dioxide. Will we will we continue to gamble with our future at this game of Russian roulette while time increasingly stacks the cards against our chances of survival? absolute hopelessness. Who knows. concerns the permafrost greenhouse gasses. the temperature will rise 8 degrees centigrade in temperate regions and 5 degrees in the tropics. you have the straw that breaks the camel’s back. . ‘‘We realize that there is a common pattern we’re seeing in ecosystems around the world. it won’t come out all at once. which will surely compound the problem of global ‘‘heating’’ (as Lovelock calls it) in unpredictable and perhaps catastrophic ways. 4. It is foolish and arrogant to think that we can regulate the atmosphere. ‘‘Nature isn’t linear.

6/17/14 *Marry. “You can't really overstate the impact of this. supporting 145. Huffman's district runs from the Golden Gate to the Oregon border. “is the biggest thing that nobody is talking about. Acidification of the world's oceans. It's hard to see. who is one of several marine lab scientists studying aspects of acidification and was among those joining Huffman on Monday. Terry Sawyer. where seafood is a $24-billion industry. The Press Democrat. put it this way: “We're dealing with something that's hard to touch. “Concern about ocean acidity prompting new attention”. The 2nd Congressional District is on the front lines of the issue because the shift toward ocean acidity is expected to be especially pronounced along the North Coast. Absorption of excess carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere at historically high rates is lowering the pH of oceans around the planet. taking in about a third of the coast of California.” Huffman said.destroys the food chain and leads to extinction – we must act now Callahan. said John Largier. smell. This dynamic effectively puts the northern California coast “at the forefront of acidification. Staff Writer at the Press Democrat. however. is often largely overlooked outside the circles of scientists. an early sign that the health of the marine ecosystem could hang in the balance. aquaculture and government. while global warming has a high degree of public recognition. etc. And yet. “We're very. I believe.” said Largier. said Huffman. owner of Hog Island Oyster Co.” Shellfish grown off the nation's West Coast already display the ill effects of rapid changes in the ocean's chemistry. Its impact on the North Coast is amplified by a natural upwelling that serves as a kind of conveyor belt. yet North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman is seeking to somehow change that and spur action on the issue before it's too late.” Huffman said at a news conference this week at Bodega Marine Laboratory that was attended by representatives from science. very quickly approaching the tipping point. scientists say. an environmental peril so daunting and widespread that it could undo much of the world's food web.Co2 is causing ocean acidification.pressdemocrat. an environmental science and policy professor at Bodega Marine Lab. bringing deep water made naturally acidic and rich in carbon dioxide by decaying organic matter toward the surface. Huffman said. D-San Rafael. on Tomales Bay. Ocean acidification. where it absorbs still more carbon dioxide. undermine global nutrition and devastate coastal economies. TYBG] BODEGA BAY — It's been called the “evil twin” of climate change. 6/24/14.” . ocean acidification is a less familiar phenomenon. Huffman said.000 jobs. hard to taste.

protective shells. are working closely with the marine lab to monitor and document conditions at his facility and develop strategies to try to adapt.” Shellfish. Sawyer and other West Coast purveyors of farm-raised oysters have seen “complete crashes” at some hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest. He and his staff. What exactly that means for the planet is still not known. executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations. given the role of calcium carbonate synthesis in skeletal development. The entire fishing industry is at risk. Those problems are likely to compound any effects of acidification. “The science is really early days. Sawyer has had similar die-offs at his Tomales Bay operation.” said Zeke Grader. are providing some clues. from the lowest phytoplankton on up. . though “it doesn't look good. potentially disrupting the entire food web. Largier and his colleagues emphasized that the world's oceans are already contending with pollution. areas of low oxygen and rampant over fishing. “This one has a potential to just be enormous and overwhelming. meanwhile. on top of the estimated 525 billion tons absorbed over the past two centuries.” he said. given the volume of past and current carbon dioxide emissions. enough so that he's building a new hatchery in Humboldt Bay to provide seed for his farm. Huffman said.Huffman organized the event in part to highlight bipartisan legislation that he is co-sponsoring with Washington state Congressman Derek Kilmer. The Ocean Acidification Innovation Act is intended to spark new research and innovation in adaptive strategies through X-Prize-style competitions. develop hard. Largier said.” Largier said. Scientists say the oceans absorb a quarter or more of the carbon dioxide humankind puts into the atmosphere — about 22 million tons a day. said one of the alarming features of ocean acidification is that a certain amount is inescapable. The bill would leverage existing federal funds to create competitions for research into solutions. “Nothing is quite as scary as acidification. and presumably other shellfish. Scientists are looking at reproductive failures in their midst in recent years — problems they ascribe to the interference of low pH water with the synthesis of calcium carbonate through which oyster larvae. But he said he also wanted to awaken public awareness to an environmental threat that has yet to receive the attention given to climate change. and particularly West Coast oysters. however. UC Davis researcher Daniel Swezey. where he and other producers obtain the oyster larvae to seed their farms. Largier said.

Financing was modified to 5% interest and a 30-year design life and assumes that federal obligation guarantees. OTEC ammonia would compete with ammonia made from foreign natural gas. Argall.S.“We're kind of locked in to a certain amount of change. Upon comparing the results with other potential hydrogen sources. the cost for “Subsidized OTEC 2010” ammonia becomes a nearly competitive $335 per tonne. global changes in human behavior might not be evident for decades. We're going to lose the planet. the U. This price is 66% more than the current price of $297 per tonne for imported ammmonia[28]. But that's “no reason not to start acting now. .65 billion have been obtained from the United States' OTEC Demonstration Fund [27]. Ammonia is shipped worldwide using propane tankers – much simpler than shipping hydrogen. “The Hydrogen Economy of 2050: OTEC Driven?”. David. and technically viable form of sustainable hydrogen production Ryzin. http://www. equivalent to 1 million tonnes of hydrogen. 2005 *Joseph V. Ocean Engineer at Makai Ocean Engineering. Table 5 presents the costs of major subsystems of this plant.. Largier said reducing carbon dioxide emissions is the only real fix but conceded that even large-scale. nitrogen air separation unit. 11. One or two decades in the future.clubdesargonautes. 6-24-14. Inc.S. Ph.S.S.” Adv. This study developed a technical and economic model for Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion plants supplying a widespread hydrogen economy. KB] Depending upon the outcome of the NAE’s four pivotal questions. “if we don't start changing the ways we're doing things now. Grandelli.. which represents one-eighth of U.” he said. are causing increased import of ammonia synthesized from low-cost foreign natural gas [26]. Makai Ocean Engineering. it is quite conceivable that ammonia from natural gas would cost the same as ammonia from OTEC. Electrolyzer purchase cost was increased to today's value of $1000 per kW [17] instead of the $125 per kW future value. as shown in Fig. The single largest worldwide use of hydrogen (25 million tonnes worldwide) is as an intermediate step in the production of 140 million tonnes of ammonia from natural gas. can begin a shift to carbon-free domestic energy using present technology is to use OTEC-derived hydrogen to produce ammonia. and 14-day Patrick. The cost per tonne of ammonia with these parameters is $494 per tonne. 2005. 2: OIL OTEC provides an economically. we're going to lose our ocean. Inc.pdf. reducing American dependence on imported energy.9¢ per kWhr for renewable energy production [29] presently exists. We modified our baseline 100-tonne per day OTEC hydrogen model to include costs of the ammonia synthesis reactor vessels. Momentous choices must be made. In 2004. hydrogen production.” said Grader. up to $1. Ocean Engineer working in OTEC software. Richard. This subsidized cost would be competitive if natural gas costs increase 13%. Senior Ocean Engineer in charge of OTEC design.” Largier said. Constructing such a plant seems within present offshore fabrication capabilities. High natural gas prices in the U. Lipp. “Even if we completely adapt.D in Ocean Engineering. One initial method where the U. it’s clear that no source is ideal but OTEC is attractive overall. it will be 10-30 years (or perhaps never) until the hydrogen economy develops. imported 6 million tonnes of ammonia. environmentally. A tax credit of 1. If this tax credit is applied to ammonia production.

. development and dissemination that will facilitate a significant role for hydrogen in the future. biomass. wind energy. The following have been established as the guiding principles on which the IEA Hydrogen Program is based: 1. and non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC). All countries possess some form of sustainable primary energy sources. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. geothermal. nuclear. distribution and conversion. Elizabet Fjermestad Hagen. Barriers.and long-term applications and the steps to realize the potential for applications in appropriate time frames must be understood and implemented. SunaTech. 3. 7. research. Gregoire Padro. “Realizing the hydrogen future: the International Energy Agency’s efforts to advance hydrogen energy technologies”. Peter Lindblad. including global warming due to anthropogenic carbon emissions. p. Vol. Gary Sandrock. mobile source emissions such as CO. hydrogen can broaden the role of renewables in the supply of clean fuels for transportation and heating. Utilization of hydrogen technologies can contribute to energy security. Hydrogen can assist in the development of renewable and sustainable energy sources by providing an effective means of storage. 6. clean fuel from the world’s sustainable non-fossil primary energy sources—solar energy. or tidal. NOx.SOx. with the addition of hydrogen. Hydrogen has the potential for short-. hence. This effort can help create competitive hydrogen energy production and end-use technologies. thus providing a flexible. diversity and flexibility. . Hydrogen can be produced as a storable. 2003 [Carolyn C. 6. Uppsala University. hydrogen energy technologies offer an important potential alternative to fossil fuel energy supply (in many instances to imported fuels). KB] The members of the IEA Hydrogen Agreement recognize that a long-term research and development effort is required to realize the significant technological potential of hydrogen energy. Hydrogen can be used as a fuel for a wide variety of end-use applications including important uses in the transportation and utility sectors. carbon dioxide emissions can be used to produce useful chemicals and fuels. Australian National Institute. 4. 601-607. medium. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. 8.. All sustainable energy sources require conversion from their originaal form. It is necessary to carry out the analysis. and particulates. studies. 28: No. both technical and non-technical. complimentary options in the future. Hydrogen—now mainly used as a chemical for up-grading fossil-based energy carriers—will in the future increasingly become an energy carrier itself. sustainable fuel. Ultimately. Catherine E. 2. solid and liquid fossil fuels. Andreas Luzzi.Research done by the International Energy Association indicates that hydrogen energy offers an alternative to fossil-fuel sources and is a uniquely sustainable resource Elam. et al. Significant use of hydrogen will contribute to the reduction of energy-linked environmental impacts. and supports development of the infrastructure required for its use. hydropower. Hydrogen also has the unique feature that it can upgrade biomass to common liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Conversion to electricity and/or hydrogen will constitute two prominent. 10. Hydrogen is currently used to up-grade lower-quality. moreover. 5. The use of hydrogen in such applications reduces harmful emissions through more efficient end-use conversion processes and extends the range of applicability. 9. Norsk Hydro. such as coal and heavy oils. Inc. to the introduction of hydrogen are being reduced through advances in renewable energy technologies and hydrogen systems including progress in addressing hydrogen storage and safety concerns.

Bangladesh. Meanwhile. as the global energy giant.S. This is not an ideal strategy for China. Chinese firms try to engage in all stages of oil extraction. the Chinese government has encouraged state-owned oil companies to reach extraction agreements with so-called “rogue” states such as Iran. oil imports by 2015.S. then China will likely respond by . the U. Above all.S. China’s global oil strategy signals a dangerous threat to U. raising real risks of social instability in China. and wields enormous power in global oil institutions. China’s policies are raising tensions with the United States. Africa. which supplies over a quarter of China’s oil and gas imports and is expected to provide a quarter of all U. U. accessed 6/24/14.S. The U. dependency causes Chinese Instability and a military buildup race that makes Sino-American conflict inevitable Reilly. and criticism of China’s oil investments in Canada and Venezuela as undermining U. seeks to exploit China’s energy weakness. Efforts to deny China access to oil are not merely misguided--they are dangerous. If the technological potential of hydrogen is realized.S. The “China Threat” Approach For some people in Washington. is the third largest oil producer in the world after Saudi Arabia and Russia. LLM) China’s dependence on imported oil raises political anxieties in Beijing. The development of hydrogen technologies in niche applications will result in improvements and cost reductions that will lead to broader application in the future. and Venezuela. focuses on the Gulf of Guinea.pdf. Inasmuch as hydrogen is in a pre-commercial phase. has been much more of a rogue element than China in the world oil market.11. Cooperative efforts among nations can help speed effective progress towards these goals. is manipulating energy policies to weaken and contain China. oil imports over the past decade. oil companies. EAST ASIA . a region dominated by major oil producing states.civicactions. is already emerging as the next battleground over oil. in an effort to ensure secure oil transport through critical sea lanes. while military modernization diverts scarce resources away from economic development at home. Long-term.S. many experts argue that given the rapid increase in U. Beijing is also worried that the U. rising oil costs.S.afsc. If Beijing believes that the U. Myanmar. Efforts to deny China access to oil also are popular at home. importing almost twice the total oil consumption of China and accounting for one-quarter of the world’s daily oil consumption. high-risk investments in unstable states carry high economic and political costs for China. The U. the Chinese military has modernized its navy and tightened naval ties with countries such as Pakistan. AFRICOM will be augmented by forward basing and access agreements the U. U.S. “AVOIDING AN ENERGY WAR WITH th CHINA”. China’s global oil strategy responds to these perceived vulnerabilities. it will contribute to the sustainable growth of the world economy by facilitating a stable supply of energy and by helping to reduce future emissions of carbon dioxide. Uzbekistan. is now expanding its influence into Central Asia and Africa. Since Western companies control oil resources from major producers like Saudi Arabia and Iraq. has recently struck across Africa. having gone to war twice in Iraq to secure access to Persian Gulf oil. September 5 . The newest U. China’s government stakes its political right to rule on economic performance and rising standards of living. the Sudan. QUAKER INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS REPRESENTATIVE. China’s largest investor and trading partner. After all. military command. Hydrogen energy systems have potential value for locations where a conventional energy supply infrastructure does not exist.S. and transport. evident in the outcry against China National Offshore Oil Corporation’s bid for Unocal in 2005. They call for denying China access to energy resources while building up U. 2013 (James. China sees the U.S. military capacity and strengthening alliances with key oil producing states. military. and Myanmar. and the specter of long-term global energy “scarcity” could undermine the country’s economic growth and seriously jeopardize job creation.S. policies have reshaped Iraq’s post-invasion oil development to benefit U. it is particularly suited to collaboration as there are fewer proprietary issues than in many energy technologies. navy controls all critical energy transport sea lanes. After all. seventy-five percent of known available oil reserves are in countries where outside investment in oil development is excluded or sharply http://www. Such rhetoric is often based upon misperceptions about how today’s global oil markets actually work. While China has been widely criticized for rapidly rising world oil prices. interests.S. oil security. refinement.S. To avoid their vulnerability to domestic instability in oil-producing countries.S. The U. Domestic energy shortages.S.

there are signs that it could. the conflict almost slipped into a nuclear war. relations with China might end up providing us with yet another example of this phenomenon. with nations employing their deadliest weapons. and. And yet. The current deterioration of U. military ties with other nations in the Pacific region. both the United States and China possess large numbers of nuclear weapons. during their conflict over the future of China's offshore islands. But the Kargil War of 1999. In the midst of the latter confrontation.html. Disturbed by China's growing economic and military strength. China didn't have nuclear weapons then. tying Chinese energy investments abroad ever more closely to dubious regimes.S. government officials really believed that nuclear deterrence worked. that U. there remains a danger that they will be used. After all. they would not have resorted to championing "Star Wars" and its modern variant. the United States was "asserting our own position as a Pacific power. nuclear weapons would "be used just exactly as you would use a bullet or anything else." But need this lead to nuclear war? Not necessarily. government recently challenged China's claims in the South China Sea. After all. the conflict. admittedly. and deepened U. the U. President Dwight Eisenhower declared publicly. for.S.S. According to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But what would that "victory" entail? An attack with these Chinese nuclear weapons would immediately slaughter at least 10 million Americans in a great storm of blast and fire.military defense systems needed if other nuclear powers are deterred from attacking by U. The gathering tension between the United States and China is clear enough. NATO leaders didn't feel deterred. later. between nuclear-armed India and nuclear-armed Pakistan. Why are these vastly expensive -. radioactive wastelands." Of course.huffingtonpost. nuclear saber-rattling persists.S. government threatened to attack China with nuclear weapons during the Korean War and. if U. should convince us that such wars can occur. though. and Soviet government officials during the Cold War. NATO's strategy was to respond to a Soviet conventional military attack on Western Europe by launching a Western nuclear attack on the nuclear-armed Soviet Union. if the war escalated. Today. At the least. 11-30-2011. his country felt free to use "any weapon" in its arsenal During. when both nations had vast nuclear arsenals. and chillingly. Now that it does. http://www. government possesses over 5. throughout the Cold War. nuclear might? Of course.and probably unworkable -.increasing the pace of its military modernization. Quemoy and Matsu. increased the U. national missile defense. in that case. . rendering the “China threat” a self-fulfilling prophesy. Some pundits argue that nuclear weapons prevent wars between nuclear-armed nations. for centuries international conflicts have led to wars.S.S. Pakistan's foreign secretary threatened that. Both nations would be reduced to smoldering. it is claimed.S. But the loose nuclear threats of U.S.S. Pakistan did move nuclear weapons toward its border. while the Chinese government has a total inventory of roughly 300 . Surely the United States would "win" any nuclear war with China. Hardliners in Beijing who warn of the U. don't nuclear weapons deter a nuclear attack? Do they? Obviously. Indeed. “Is Nuclear War with China Possible”. readied its own nuclear missiles for an attack on Pakistan. while leaving many more dying horribly of sickness and radiation poisoning. even as the military ante is raised.000 nuclear warheads.S. promoting security cooperation with adversarial governments. military presence in Australia. and politicizing global energy markets. China war escalates to extinction Wittner 11 – professor of history emeritus at SUNY Albany. while DOI 7/12014] While nuclear weapons exist. should convince us that. military threat will be strengthened. 2011 [Lawrence. The Chinese death toll in a nuclear war would be far higher.S. there haven't been very many least not yet. only about 40 of these Chinese nuclear weapons can reach the United States. The U. Moreover. Also. Furthermore. nuclear arsenal is far greater than its Chinese counterpart. perhaps the behavior of national leaders will be more temperate. the bottom line for those Americans convinced that nuclear weapons safeguard them from a Chinese nuclear attack might be it is estimated that the U.S. radioactive debris sent aloft by the nuclear explosions would blot out the sun and bring that the U.

government. . has plans to spend hundreds of billions of dollars "modernizing" its nuclear weapons and nuclear production facilities over the next decade.on a "nuclear winter" around the globe -. in turn. and by the year 2020 it is expected to more than double its number of nuclear weapons that can hit the United States. The Chinese government is currently expanding its nuclear arsenal.destroying agriculture. in another decade the extent of this catastrophe would be far worse. and generating chaos and destruction.S. The U. creating worldwide famine. Moreover.