NO HOPE WITHOUT NEGATIVE EMISSIONS - John Wawrzonek

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DOING THE IMPOSSIBLE

"If something is impossible, don't disturb the person who is doing it."

Dr. Amar Bose

Why "no hope." Without negative emissions (or what I call "active") negative emissions, the world just gets warmer and warmer and less liveable even if we cut our emissions to ZERO. Why? Because CO2 just doesn't go away so more and more heat is trapped. Period.

During this time the CO2 is climbing from 280 ppm where it started, to 350 which Bill McGibben said was the max, to 410 where it is now to 600, 700, 800 which means it gets warmer faster every year. That is just like compound interest. If we wait a very long time the atmosphere starts to "fill up" with CO2 and then I cannot guess what will go on, but by then we will all be gone.(There is also methane and other gasses, but that has to wait.)

Unless we get emissions down to zero (give or take) and start to bring CO2 back to what it once was, the target being 350 ppm, we are "screwed."(excuse med for quoting myself when I first read about all this.f)It will take hundreds or thousands of years, but we are at least partly on the way back. This is why negative emissions is so important, no matter the cost. Because a roaring economy isn't much good if everyone has died from the heat.

Now all the naysayers pop in and tell you why you can't do it (when you haven't yet tried).

My mentor at MIT and later at Bose Corporation (I was its 5th employee) was Dr. Amar Bose. I was in the first class he ever taught at MIT, worked with him one-on-one many times at Bose Corporation where I worked for 23 years, and we were friends until his death at age 83.

If there was one thing he could not tolerate it was whenever someone said something was impossible. As a consequence he changed the audio industry forever.

A fabulous example was his donation in his will, $100,000 awards to MIT students doing research. The sole criteria was that no one else would fund their ideas.

One of my favorite memories of him, was when he charged me to introduce his first compact music system. My charge was "get the best set of reviews any audio product has every gotten."

With a bit of luck and a great deal of help, I did. But the real "luck" was that we had worked together long enough that he trusted me to do it how I wanted to do it, without having to justify even the most outrageous ideas to anyone, so my mind was always free of worry that someone would second-guess me.

Now, negative emissions is several worlds harder. But there is a recent story that is one of the most remarkable in the history of science, and that is the direct detection of gravational waves.

Einsten predicted them but said they were too small to ever to be detected.

I worked in the acoustics lab at MIT in the same building (the old WW II barracks radar facility known as Building 20) as Dr. Rainer Weiss who proposed to his physics students a problem of finding how to do it.

It took 50 years and over 1000 scientists and one billion dollars, but the utterly extraordinary facility, on September 14, 2015, shortly after it was turned on in its latest incarnation, and prior to its official use detected (along with its confirming twin 2000 miles away) the merger of two black holes. The system had to detect by laser interfermometry the movemnt of a mirror 1/10000 the width of a proton.

(click for Wiki article)

Three Noble prizes were awarded two years later.

Why would I dwell on this? When something may be necessary for the survival of the Earth is deemed not worth trying, it seems to me treason to the Creation itself.

Below: One arm of two joined at right angles and totally 3 miles in length. There were two such facilities, one in Louisiana and one in Hanford, Washington. Each containd a vacuum tube about one foot in diameter and with a vacuum about 10 times better than outer space. If the laser beams bumped into anything, the apparatus would not work. So don't tell me it cannot be done.

One arm of one of the two LIGO facilities.

The signals from the first detection from the merger of two black holes. One about 36 solar masses and one about 24.

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