Undesirable consequences of decarbonization of flue gases
Technologies now exist for the removal of carbon and carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and particulate material from the gaseous emissions of combusted carbon-based fuels, applicable, for example, at power stations. Widespread adoption of flue gas "scrubbing" raises the problem of what to do with the waste products.
Sulphur removed from coal and oil-fired chimneys can be sold, as to a limited extent can flue ash. However, current carbon emissions dwarf any human experience in handling masses of material. Annual world steel production, for example, was about 700 million tons; carbon dioxide emissions from energy are 22 billion tons. Reinjection of carbon dioxide into depleted natural gas or oil fields would quickly fill the available reserves. Proposals to inject carbon dioxide into the deep ocean, which has enormous buffering capacity, carries unknown environmental effects.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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