He who refuses to do the arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense”. - John McCarthy, Stanford University

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wallis and Futuna and Cement Carbon Sequestration

The tiny island nation of Wallis and Futuna lies in western Polynesia a few hundred miles north east of Fiji. So remote it doesn't even receive much tourism even though it is a beautiful place.

About 15,000 people live here surviving on a primarily subsistence agriculture economy with GDP per capita around 12,000 most of that from French government subsidies.

Cement Carbon Sequestration if you have not heard of it is using CO2 from emissions to mix with seawater and produce cement which permanently holds to CO2 preventing it from becoming part of atmospheric CO2. Many have supported this as a means to reduce carbon emissions. Granted that cement production contributes around 5% of global CO2 emission. However this production process is nearly twice as energy intensive as conventional cement production so net carbon reduction is negligible.

What does this have to do with Wallis and Futuna? If all cement in the US were produced with this method rather than conventional production it would offset the carbon footprint of Wallis and Futuna. So while the technology is interesting and possibly even economic in some applications it cannot possibly scale to have any impact on global carbon emissions.

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