Another Desperately Stupid Scheme

Barb Wire

It’s too bad we can’t Save the Planet from self-anointed chowderheads who want to Save the Planet.

Here’s a scheme for you. They’ve pumped 1 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the air and stored it underground near Decatur, Illinois, population some 75,000.

So what’s wrong with storing a million tons of pressurized CO2 near a population center?

Here and there, this kind of “storage” occurs in nature. Lake Nyos in Cameroon is such a place. It traps a lot of CO2 in the water, and occasionally an earthquake or some other natural cause disrupts the arrangement and the CO2 escapes as a ground-hugging cloud of unbreathable gas that suffocates every living thing in its path. This happened at Lake Nyos in 1986 and killed some 1,700 people in a sparsely-populated rural area, according to Wikipedia.

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The man-made CO2 trap by Decatur is several times larger than the one under Lake Nyos–and heaven help Decatur if an earthquake comes along, or if someone at the monitoring station gets lazy or sloppy or forgetful, or if someone decides to pocket some money by cutting corners on safety and maintenance… Oh, but that would never happen in Illinois! The state’s so full of honest, conscientious men and women who run everything with clean hands.

Why is this a totally dumbass scheme?

In addition to the risks involved, it’d be kind of like trying to store the ocean underground. We’re talking about the earth’s atmosphere, which contains kabillions of tons of CO2.

Know why? Because, among another reasons, animals exhale it. It’s called breathing. And plants consume it, which leads to plans producing oxygen, which animals must breathe. The CO2 in the atmosphere is constantly being regenerated and replaced. It would be impossible to remove enough of it from the atmosphere to make a difference. But a massive, futile effort along those lines sure would cost a lot of money!

So, yeah, let’s see how many Lake Nyos-style CO2 traps we can build, and then see how long it takes for something to go awry with one of them and wipe out a nearby population center.

“Oh, but see!” cries the Global Warming nut. “Even if it goes wrong, it reduces the population! So there is no downside!”

Stupidity kills.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Lee Duigon
Lee Duigon, a contributing editor with the Chalcedon Foundation, is a former newspaper reporter and editor, small businessman, teacher, and horror novelist. He has been married to his wife, Patricia, for 34 years. See his new fantasy/adventure novels, Bell Mountain and The Cellar Beneath the Cellar, available on

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