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After watching a terrifying documentaryQuestions

  1. Oct 17, 2008 #1
    I just saw a documentary on global warming called six degrees to change the world and it was talking about the consequences of global warming which i found devastating.
    Now i was wondering, would it be possible to create a giant tree that would absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen?
    Another question, what exactly does a desalination plant do?
    thats all for now and sorry if these questions are all very general and sort of off topic
     
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  3. Oct 17, 2008 #2

    mgb_phys

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    Dangerous - the vikings tried that and found it became infested with a giant serpent.
    ps. They only release oygen during the day, at night they also release CO2.

    Removes salt from seawater to turn it into fresh water. Takes a lot of energy but if you live in the middle east/australia it's your only option.
     
  4. Oct 17, 2008 #3

    f95toli

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    Sort of, there are some ongoing projects (on e.g. Iceland) where they are trying to capture CO2 from the air, the CO2 is then mixed with water and is made to react with a type of rock (I don't remember the name) to form a stable carbide. Splitting the CO2 into carbon and oxygen would require far too much energy.
    The "trees" in this case are just big scrubbers, i.e. the same type of the device that is used to remove CO2 from the air in submarines.

    That said, it is highly unlikely that this will every be a viable solution, mainly because it would be incredible expensive; it would be far better not to let the CO2 into our atmosphere in the first place. But maybe it could be used as a last resort.
     
  5. Oct 17, 2008 #4
    :rofl: Thank you!
     
  6. Oct 17, 2008 #5

    HallsofIvy

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    Much better is to use what we already have- lots of small trees- and not deforest the world.

    It takes salt out of water.
     
  7. Oct 17, 2008 #6
    Do they release as much CO2 as they absorb or less?
    thanks for the desalinate plant

    It would be costly but not doing anything would be waay more costly, i remember seeing that there would be more storms like katrina and it said something about el nino's patterns reversing and affecting more of the world, this would mean more storms, flash flooding and so on.. and the repairs would be very expensive no doubt?
    once again, tree give out less CO2 or give as much CO2 as they absorb?
     
  8. Oct 17, 2008 #7

    mgb_phys

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    Growing trees overall take in more CO2 than they give out - thats where the wood comes from. But it's not as simple as just planting trees.
    Where are you going to plant them? Existing woodland releases a lot of CO2 from the leaf litter when it is disturbed. Trees grow ery slowly and then you have to find something to do with all the timber, any that rots or burns releases CO2 back to the eniroment. The more efficent way is to grow something like algae.

    There are a few industrial carbon sequestration schemes to turn CO2 into hydrates andstore them under high presure in disuesed mines or oil wells. The trouble is that this is expensive (=lots of energy = more CO2 ) and generally requires building new power stations onto of unused salt mines. There is also the worry of what happens if the CO2 was suddenly released for some reason, not just for it's greenhouse effect - CO2 kills you and most people killed by volcanoes are killed by clouds of CO2.
     
  9. Oct 17, 2008 #8

    rcgldr

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    Note that humans are only responsible for a small part of the total amount of CO2. Most of CO2 production is natural. However the total amount of CO2 present has been increasing because of an imbalance between production and consumption of CO2. Also note that water vapor is the main cause of heat retention on the earth not CO2. Also, even if all human related CO2 were stopped, there may still be an imbalance. There's no way to really know, so some are taking the cautious route and want to minimize CO2 production. It's one argument for ramping up other forms of energy production, including nuclear with it's waste issue.
     
  10. Oct 18, 2008 #9
    man made global warming is a hoax by Al Gore and those supporting a world government to control everything and everybody....but we ARE experiencing yet another natural cycle of warming....and at some point there will likely be another ice age...which we will also be unable to affect...remember we have gone from past periods when a thouand feet of ice encircled the plant....thank heaven there was global warming after that!!!

    A desalinization plant removes salt and impurities from water....reverse osmosis is one method...
     
  11. Oct 20, 2008 #10
    ok so i understand that it takes a lot of energy and that by using all this energy a lot of CO2 is produced but what if solar power was used to provide the energy?
     
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