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The Almighty Buck Businesses Science

$25M Bounty Offered for Global Warming Fix 766

SaDan writes "Richard Branson is offering $25M as a bounty for a fix to global warming. The person or organization that can devise a method to remove at least a billion tons of carbon dioxide a year from the atmosphere will be able to claim the bounty. There are a few catches, of course. There can't be any negative impact on the environment, and the payment will come in chunks. A 5 million dollar payout will be paid when the system is put into place with the remainder of the bounty to be paid after 10 years of continuous use."
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$25M Bounty Offered for Global Warming Fix

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  • Plant Respiration (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gbulmash ( 688770 ) * <semi_famous@yaho[ ]om ['o.c' in gap]> on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:40PM (#17954574) Homepage Journal
    How much carbon dioxide does a single tree consume in a year of respiration and how many trees could be planted for $25 million?

    Either that or find a way to build large scale air scrubbers that simulate plant respiration (stripping the carbon atom off a CO2 molecule and releasing O2), then compress the pure carbon into bricks for use in industry. If it could be done cheaply enough it might not just be eco-friendly, but profitable as well, with the $25 million payment as a bonus.

    - Greg
  • by dotmax ( 642602 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:44PM (#17954636)
    Why, that's just ~32 tons of CO2 per second. Piece of cake.
  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:47PM (#17954712)
    Trees alone won't solve the problem for the same reason they aren't solving the problem now: people keep cutting them down.

    We cannot possible reserve all of the arable land necessary to plant enough trees to scrub the carbon dioxide we are throwing into the atmosphere, because we need that land for other purposes. As the human population continues to grow, the need for developed land increases. This trend is not likely to reverse itself.

    A carbon scrubbing solution that would actually be workable would have to take up much less space than trees would to produce the same result.

  • Easy (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:49PM (#17954776)
    Could do it ourselves in the US, It would take just a few easy changes:
    1. 2$ a gallon gas tax in the US
    2. Train/Metro in every major US city
    3. Large installation of windmills
    4. A miracle and revolution in the US to a systemm where our representatives do not get campaign money from industries that benefit from pumping pollution into the sky.
  • Easy but hard. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <Satanicpuppy@NospAm.gmail.com> on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:51PM (#17954808) Journal
    Carbon sequestration is relatively easy. Plant more trees, create artificial algae blooms...Anything green and growing will take in a lot of carbon. There have been studies recently dealing with certain types of pine trees that even suggest that the trees are growing faster in the higher CO2 environment we're making for them, which suggests that natural processes will step up to take advantage of the carbon rich environment.

    The problem is, all these solutions are geologically short term, and they're not as space-efficient as say, coal. Forests catch fire, algae blooms sink to the bottom (which is good) but are bad bad bad for the water ecosystem in which they're created, and everything else gets used and processed.

    Basically, we're screwed on a quick fix until someone bio-engineers us some quick growing trees that sequester so much carbon that they're shiny. The best solution is to reduce our output of carbon, and allow the carbon cycle to re-balance itself.

    In the meantime, if you're wondering whether to take up snow skiing or water skiing, might want to go water.
  • Irony of it all (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gilesjuk ( 604902 ) <giles.jones@zen.[ ]uk ['co.' in gap]> on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:53PM (#17954876)
    Richard Branson owns an airline, if he wants he could reduce co2 by a large amount by changing his business.

    Of course if he pulls out of the market then others take his place.
  • Nuclear bomb (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ALimoges ( 870872 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:53PM (#17954892) Homepage
    Dropping a nuclear bomb every once in a while on a large cosmopolitan city would definitely do the job...
  • Re:Mother Nature (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:53PM (#17954896) Homepage Journal

    After all, I'm sure that a human can take care of the earth better than Mother Nature can.

    Mother nature's solution to global warming operates on a geologic timescale and will not help us. In fact since if we leave the situation unchecked things will get worse before they get better, the earth will probably demonstrate its lack of use for us in the meantime.

  • I'm sure we could (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:53PM (#17954900)
    But it would require energy. The whole reason hydrocarbons are a good source of energy is precisely because the C + O2 -> CO2 reaction gives off energy. So to make it go the other way, you need input energy. Plants get it from the sun, where would we get it from. Then, of course, assuming you have a source the question is why not just cut the middle man and use that source directly?
  • by jeff4747 ( 256583 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:54PM (#17954916)

    Plant also produce carbondioxide at night.

    Plants produce carbon dioxide during the day and at night. However, they produce far more oxygen during the day than CO2 produced during a 24-hour period.

    That's why we have oxygen in our atmosphere at all. Plants produced it.

  • by LighterShadeOfBlack ( 1011407 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:01PM (#17955086) Homepage

    How much carbon dioxide does a single tree consume in a year of respiration and how many trees could be planted for $25 million?
    - Depends on the trees. I'm no expert but I'll bet $25 million worth of any plant is going to consume far far less than a billion metric tonnes of CO2. Plus you don't plant wholly grown trees so you've got to wait however many years for them to mature before getting the real benefit - time we don't have. Also, planting $25 million worth of trees would most likely be considered eco-unfriendly since you'd need to find a pretty huge amount of space that isn't already developed - meaning that presumably you'd be destroying a non-forested habitat by sticking trees all over it. More importantly though, it would be missing the point. The technology we use that is creating the pollution is going to become more and more abundant as more and more countries become part of the "developed world". We can't keep planting x thousand trees for every person on Earth and keep everything else as-is, it's just not feasible in the short-term and not sustainable in the long-term.
  • by Pollux ( 102520 ) <{ge.ten.atadet} {ta} {reteps}> on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:01PM (#17955088) Journal
    The person or organization that can devise a method to remove at least a billion tons of carbon dioxide a year from the atmosphere will be able to claim the bounty. There are a few catches, of course. There can't be any negative impact on the environment.

    That's like asking a baker to take all that unhealthy fat out of a doughnut, but not have it have any impact on the taste. It would be foolish of Branson to think that you can make a dramatic change to the chemical makeup of our atmosphere, but not have any "negative" consequences. Plants need CO2, so removing it from the atmosphere might harm plant life. Temperatures will decrease (probably), and I'm sure that there's at least some species of wildlife that's now thriving with the warmer temperatures. Wind paterns will change. Climate patterns will change. To expect absolutely no "negative impact" on the environment is foolhardy.
  • by viking80 ( 697716 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:03PM (#17955132) Journal
    Running out of oil will do this quite effectively, and that will happen within not too many years.

  • Re:Irony of it all (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr. Sketch ( 111112 ) <mister.sketch@gm ... om minus painter> on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:05PM (#17955176)
    True, but he launched Virgin Fuels to research alternative fuels:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=2862 259 [go.com]


    Branson, whose business interests include Virgin Atlantic airline and Virgin Trains, rejected charges that it was hypocritical for him to sponsor the prize. He reiterated a commitment made in September to invest $3 billion toward fighting global warming, saying he would commit all profits from his travel companies over the next 10 years.

    As part of that pledge, he launched a new Virgin Fuels business, which is to invest up to $400 million in green energy projects over the next three years.
  • by Socguy ( 933973 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:11PM (#17955308)
    Now correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm under the impression that the global O2 output from the plants on land was only about half of the total generated. The other half of the O2 generation on this planet is from phytoplankton found in the oceans. Since this stuff is also food for the oceans, maybe we should be looking to the oceans to help solve our current problems. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/06/06 07_040607_phytoplankton.html [nationalgeographic.com]
  • by heroine ( 1220 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:13PM (#17955358) Homepage
    Back in the 80's, there was a graph showing percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere vs. year starting in the 1800's and ending at some point before 1980. It was level until 1880, then suddenly shut up until the end of the graph. They never said how they deduced the CO2 quantity and the graph was scaled between 2 rediculously small percentages.

    Now wouldn't it be neat if we had a graph of annual CO2 percentage up to today? Such graphs are nowhere to be seen. Google searches don't find them. The media doesn't show them. There are lots of references to CO2 levels but not a single graph of CO2 level vs. year.
  • by iamlucky13 ( 795185 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:13PM (#17955360)
    This is definitely a Catch-22.

    It has to do something, thereby increasing entropy, and at the same not create adverse affects. What constitutes an adverse affect? Does contributing to the heat death of the universe?

    Ok, perhaps just looking at entropy is a little extreme. I'm sure that's not actually written in the rules, and apparently there actually is some sort of judging involved here (oh look, Al Gore is a judge. Big surprise. "I took the initiative in solving global warming..."), but Branson's asking for a miracle here. Any work is going to require energy. If you don't just want to suck that billion tons CO2 out and store it somewhere, but actually break it down into more containable form, like graphite or useful hydrocarbons, it will take a lot more energy. This is effectively the same energy issue we've been flogging death for years, but in the guise of removing CO2, instead of avoiding creating it or just plain getting energy in the first place.

    As Slashdot has been debating since...um, forever...every energy source we can come up with has adverse affects, not the least of which is cost. I don't know how much energy it takes per ton to filter CO2 out of the air and bury it in an abandoned gas well, but I would bet we're talking several orders of magnitude above the prize level just in energy costs. Not such concerns means much compared to "saving the planet" (TM), but that effectively makes the prize only a formality.

    Beyond cost, there's also environmental affects with energy generation. Be it birds struck by wind turbine blades or disposal of the composites they're made out of at end-of-life, the chemicals used in making solar cells, nuclear waste, disrupted fish runs with hydroplants, altered ocean habitats for tidal solutions, possibly altered fault activity and limited supply from geothermal, and of course that practically irrelevant but still amusing increase of entropy problem from all of the above, they are there.

    I'm not sure if the story should be flagged Catch-22, vaporware, or inthishouseweobeythelawsofthermodynamics.
  • by PFI_Optix ( 936301 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:14PM (#17955378) Journal
    One word:


    It's been suggested that some of our simplest consumers of CO2 are also the most efficient. A modified algae that would flourish in parts of the ocean where it is sparse today would tie up a lot of lose carbon and ultimately send it sinking to the bottom of the ocean.
  • This will backfire (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:16PM (#17955432)
    Won't they be embarrassed when the leaders of Al-Queda win the $25 million prize with their plan to "kill millions and millions of infidel Americans" to reduce C02 emissions?
  • Hydro never lived up to the hype. Dams silt up, dams ruin rivers, and, aside from a few really good spots, dams don't generate enough power.

    If we went to fission with waste reprocessing, we could be in good shape...It'll provide more power and vastly reduce the amount of waste produced. We could even reprocess the waste we have now. The paranoia over radiation is so overblown, and has been hyped for so long that people just sort of accept that all nuclear power is going to lead to three eyed fish and crap like that.
  • That's it? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fatica ( 1036426 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:24PM (#17955648)
    After the recent request to fund the Iraq war to the tune of $245 billion, it really puts our priorities in perspective.
  • by anthony_dipierro ( 543308 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:28PM (#17955728) Journal

    C'mon, $25 million is nothing compared to something like global warming. If global warming could really be solved for $25 million someone would have done it by now. Al Gore spent more than $25 million on his presidential campaign. You think maybe he would have gotten more publicity if he instead chose to spend the money solving global warming? The petroleum industry probably spends way more than $25 million a year lobbying against Kyoto. Surely if they could make Kyoto moot by solving the problem of global warming they'd do that instead. There are probably single beachfront homes that are worth $25 million. If the problem could be solved that cheaply, surely one of those homeowners would have made it happen. There are hundreds of billionaires in the United States. $25 million would be a drop in the bucket to solve one of the biggest problems of our lifetime.

    $25 million, to solve global warming, is a joke.

  • by Ambitwistor ( 1041236 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:29PM (#17955746)
    Taking a billion tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere every year isn't going to be drastically bad, since that's still significantly less than what we put in every year. Even if we halted CO2 emissions entirely, that's still not worse than pre-industrial times when we weren't putting large amounts in.

    You are at least half right though: too much change too suddenly can have negative impacts. What would be the impact of instantaneously cutting CO2 emissions to zero tomorrow? Maybe still not that bad. Reducing CO2 concentrations to pre-industrial levels instantaneously? Probably bad.

    The point here, though, is that the proposal being discussed in this story is not to reverse global warming, but merely to slow it.
  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:36PM (#17955866)
    Good point - if a nuclear power generation method is developed that is worth using we should give it a go. Spending some of that lobby money on research and development instead of trying to push 1950's designs on the taxpayer would be a start - perhaps a design good enought that it would even need government investment and subsidies would be developed?

    Currently the outlook for nuclear power is not good - but with a bit of effort on accelerated thorium and other upcoming methods it may be more than just an expensive way to make steam and North Korean and Iranian nuclear bombs.

  • by Software ( 179033 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:37PM (#17955874) Homepage Journal
    Oil will never run out, it will just become more and more expensive. As the price increases, people will find replacements or do without. But there's no guarantee that the replacement technologies will give off less CO2 (think of coal).
  • by puppetman ( 131489 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:39PM (#17955916) Homepage
    4) Eat the environmentalists; less SUV use, less air travel, less hot air, less sewage. Yuck!

    By SUV, I assume you are implying that they get poor gas mileage, and therefore produce more greenhouse gases. Not all do, of course. That said, someone who drives a Yukon is a hypocrite if they claim to be an environmentalist.

    6) End Socialism. Economic prosperity will allow people to adjust to the changing climate better. More socialism is more death and misery.

    The US, one of the least socialist countries in the world (I saw a picture of a cardboard shanty town in Florida earlier this week that definitely made me think of death and misery) produces a huge amount of greenhouse gas (per person).

    Developing communist countries do as well, but compare the CO2 production per person from the US to China shows that capitalism generates more (using your logic). Canada is more socialist than the US, and Canadians generate more greenhouse gas than Americans do. Is it because of socialism? No, it's because it's colder and not as densely populated.

    The western industrial democracies are quite capitalist, and we generate per-person more greenhouse gases than many of the poorer, "socialist" countries. Making more like us will make solve the problem? If we are relatively so much wealthier, then why aren't we willing to clean up our act, seeing as you claim the willingness to fix the problem seems to be related to wealth?

    7) "repeal" Kyoto protocols. They don't work, they are counter productive, they will cause more global warming.

    The US did not sign Kyoto. George Bush did not believe in global warming, so he reneged on the agreement made by Clinton to sign the protocol.

    Eco-Nazi talking about spending money

    It's his money. You are a big fan of capitalism, and he's a capitalist (that's how he made his money). Who are you to criticize how he spends it? That sounds very socialist to me.
  • by Broken scope ( 973885 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:43PM (#17955992) Homepage
    You know... if there was a large industry for getting rid of nuclear waste... someone would find a way to do it quickly, safely, and cheaply just so they can be a rich bastard off of it.
  • Re:Easy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Intron ( 870560 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:45PM (#17956010)
    The effect on global warming of burning forests is greater than from burning fossil fuels. So let's stop burning forests in South America and Indonesia. The best way would be to cancel the economic incentives which promote burning -- which is mostly using the cleared land for other cash crops or for grazing. Another way would be to clear the land, but not burn the biomass. Use it for making paper, wooden items, buildings, etc.
  • by drix ( 4602 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:59PM (#17956254) Homepage
    Or we could just plant fewer humans...
  • Nuclear power is statistically safer than conventional. I guarantee there were more accidents last year per kilowatt for conventional power than nuclear. (Airplanes are also statistically safer than cars.) The big problem is that terrorists have successfully terrorized people on the subjects.

    Chernobyl was using a design US engineers had rejected as unsafe, and the Three Mile Island disaster wasn't. It was a successful test of nuclear safety measures.

    As for nuclear waste, why not recycle it? R-r-recycle it! *gasp* But that produces weapons-grade material! Right, so put it in a missile! The best defense is a good offense (think Reagen's Cold-War successes). And then there is hardly anything left over! (And is nuclear waste worse than huge strip mines?)

    The only real obstacle to nuclear power is public terror.
  • by skelly33 ( 891182 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @08:12PM (#17957246)
    But you think $10M was enough to put Scaled Composites' Spaceship One into LEO? It's a token offering to inspire the imagination. Don't knock a generous and genuine offer just because you have not been inspired.
  • by PermanentMarker ( 916408 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @08:17PM (#17957306) Homepage Journal
    Going to nuclear is only a transformation of waste. Simply this is a shift in waste not a solution. Then suddenly its no longer CO2 but it is some radioactive stuff that needs to be buried for thousends of years underground. One might store CO2 in the first place underground and skip the expensive uranium in between. Remember uranium isn't an endless power solution either, thats why we try to research fusion. Uranium is a limited feul on earth. The best things here would be a natural energy source.
  • by DaveJay ( 133437 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @09:18PM (#17957892)
    That's like asking a baker to take all that unhealthy fat out of a doughnut, but not have it have any impact on the taste. It would be foolish of Branson to think that you can make a dramatic change to the chemical makeup of our atmosphere, but not have any "negative" consequences. Plants need CO2, so removing it from the atmosphere might harm plant life. Temperatures will decrease (probably), and I'm sure that there's at least some species of wildlife that's now thriving with the warmer temperatures. Wind paterns will change. Climate patterns will change. To expect absolutely no "negative impact" on the environment is foolhardy.

    I respectfully disagree.

    First, on the donut front: my wife and I eat a vegan donut that a small company came up with. It's about as good as a crispy creme, which is as good as a donut needs to be, and has no refined sugars and no fat. However, the price is high, about four times as high as a normal donut. So from this perspective, it's possible to do without negative impact on the taste, but not without negative impact altogether: for this donut, there's a negative cost impact.

    Similarly, on the CO2 front: it's absolutely conceivable to develop a technology that can achieve the stated goal without negative impact on the environment; however, there will be a negative impact on something, and history tells us that if it isn't on the environment, then it will be on convenience, attractiveness, space efficiency, cost, or some combination thereof.

    For instance: what if you could solve the problem with no difficulty whatsoever, provided every homeowner in America was willing to put a metal box on their roof? The box could ugly, take up many square feet of space, require about ten minutes of attention per week, and cost each homeowner $50 -- and yet be 100% recyclable, solar-powered, quiet and therefore have no negative impact on the environment. Theoretical straw-man, obviously, but necessary to make the point.
  • by kestasjk ( 933987 ) * on Friday February 09, 2007 @10:04PM (#17958250) Homepage
    If a modified algae would be so successful that it could soak up all the CO2 in the atmosphere, why hasn't Darwin done it for us?
  • by jo42 ( 227475 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @11:26PM (#17958946) Homepage
    Beg to differ.

    It is NOT a political problem. It is a Greed problem.

    Tell Exxon Mobil it can't make over $35 billion a year in profit.

    Humanity is screwing up the plant. To avoid messing it up to the point where we can't exist on it anymore will require that we fundamentally change the way we live and work. Good luck in making that happen.
  • by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @11:35PM (#17959000)
    Don't pin it all on the long-hairs - people are also a bit worried about nuclear reactors/plants blowing the fuck up on their doorstop, or the effects from such an explosion raining down on their homes. Those folks are not greenist nutters - they have legitimate worries.

    And don't confuse the US with the rest of the world. The rest of the world hasn't "politicized" nuclear power to the extent you claim the US has. Maybe the US will take the lead from other countries, once it's realised it's beneficial.
  • by RealGrouchy ( 943109 ) on Friday February 09, 2007 @11:39PM (#17959038)

    If we went to fission with waste reprocessing, we could be in good shape...It'll provide more power and vastly reduce the amount of waste produced.

    It would consume some of the waste we produce, but it would not prevent that waste from being produced in the first place. (In fact, if successful, it would require more waste to be produced!)

    How does the amount of energy derived from $PROCESSing waste compare to the amount that went into producing it?

    - RG>
  • by patio11 ( 857072 ) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @01:26AM (#17959790)
    ... with solar panels, and still not have enough capacity to power Chicago. Much of the world does not live in Southern California! We have strange weather phenomena, like clouds! And this isn't a once in a while problem, its EVERY FREAKING DAY! In the spring, at least. In the winter, we have clouds and snow and ABSCENCE OF SUN for weeks at a time. Perhaps we could put Lake Michigan on stilts and use it as a battery. (Seriously, most pumped water storage is like hydroelectric power, heavily constrained by having local geography which is conducive to it. If you don't happen to have two bodies of water at vastly different elevations nearby then you get to build one or both of them yourself, and it AIN'T CHEAP -- per MW capital investment is similar to building a nuclear plant, and that is on top of the cost of the solar/whatever you need to actually fill the battery. It also isn't ecologically neutral -- ask the million folks China displaced to get their Three Gorges facility working. You need an awful lot of water falling from a relatively high place to a relatively low place, and that does not just spontaneously happen frequently in nature.)

    I've said it before and I'll say it again -- greens need to get over their dogmatic, irrational reluctance to use nukes.
  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @02:35AM (#17960278)
    Please point to any instance in the last 50 years or so in which the USA was actually being seriously threatened by another country.

    Let me go through all the wars since WWII (which I concede was a serious threat):

    1) Korea. No threat there.

    2) Vietnam. Definitely no threat there either; some VC with AK-47s weren't going to come over on boats and invade the US.

    At least for these you can make some kind of case for the mentality people had during the Cold War, which is now long since over. That brings us to...

    3) Iraq. No threat there either, unless you're one of the few idiots left who still believe Saddam had WMD and was going to use them against the US. (No, a few canisters of ancient chemical gas which was far beyond its useful lifespan doesn't count.)

    As for "last couple centuries", no one's debating the necessity of WWII, or whether the Civil War should have been fought, or the Phillipines War, or whatever. That's ancient history; what's important is the wars being fought right now or in the recent past.
  • by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @03:28AM (#17960528) Homepage
    You know, I'm aware that Exxon-Mobil has done a variety of indisputably unethical things. Go ahead and impugn them for whatever like that.
    And they have also earned a profit. Oh, horror!

    Consider: They need to send surveyors to locate oil fields, procure the rights to these oil fields from the oft-recalcitrant local authorities, drill wells thousands of feet into the earth, build big pumps to raise the oil, build pipelines for hundreds or thousands of miles through inhospitable territories, construct truly enormous processing facilities (go watch the Discovery Channel sometime, their stuff about 'superstructures', those refineries are crazy!), refine the oil into gasoline (and other stuff), load and ship the oil over the oceans in massive tankers, unload them, and finally distribute it to service stations across the country. The scale of it all is staggering.

    So do you think that anyone would try and expend so much effort, so much production, so much money (I wouldn't be surprised if they've spent over a trillion) investing in these various things to get billions of barrels of oil out of the ground each year and gasoline into a million cars.... just so they can break even? OF COURSE they're after a profit, for Christ's sake!

    Exxon is NOT forcing crude oil down peoples' throats. The problem is that people like warm homes in the winter, and air conditioning in the summer, and a nice house out in the suburbs and maybe even a yard and nice things like trees (and that means they need to drive to get places). Imagine that- fresh air, peace and quiet, TREES. Not everyone wants to pay twice as much money to live in half the space in an area with noisy neighbors, higher crime rates, more smog, where everything is paved in some form of concrete, BUT you have practical public transportation. Of course people are going to go off to the suburbs!

    So, I say, it's not a greed problem, unless maybe liking many of the things that environmentalists usually praise is "greed". (Are we permitted to like them only to be denied their actual realization) No one burns oil or gas out of greed. In fact, the most truly greedy would take every opportunity to be as frugal as possible and use as little energy as possible since it all costs money. And even if it is a greed problem, it's certainly not Exxon's greed that's damaging the planet. (And the car companies are glad to sell you more fuel-efficient cars! You'll be happier with them, and be more willing to buy them, and pay more!)

    The blame for global warming is a distributed thing - like most problems of this nature, it is a problem the people who cause the damage are largely not the same people who worry about paying for it.

  • by skinfitz ( 564041 ) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @06:29AM (#17961306) Journal
    How much of big oil profit gets spent on researching alternative energy?

    They are precisely the people who need to be developing things like E85 ethanol and electric cars, but it isn't happening because with all that profit, there is no incentive.