Media Culpa has done some digging into the recent goings on at the National Research Council. Specifically, a leaked document recently emerged suggesting that the NRC will turn its focus from "curiosity science" to the stuff that makes moolah (to employ a non-technical term). Several of its new "poster child" projects relate to adapting to AGW and developing Carbon Capture technologies:
• Doubling the productivity of wheat farming, by developing strains of wheat that are highly tolerant to environmental and climate stress;
• Using algae to soak up carbon dioxide from large-scale emitters such as power plants or the Alberta oilsands. In theory, the algae could then be converted to fuel on an industrial scale, and still reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions...
But the funny thing is, the stories related to the NRC's new direction were denied by the NRC, and pulled from some of but not all of the media sites that first published them. The document was not the NRC's official position, and etc.
Media Culpa traces the odd career path of new NRC President John McDougall, and some of the lobbying he did previous to his appointment there on...wait for it... Carbon Algae Recycling. Certainly, the "poster child" initiatives in the NRC document reflect Mr. McDougall's personal concerns. Here's what he said before becoming NRC President:
“What prevents us from thinking about greenhouse gases as an untapped resource that is already being produced?”
“Will algae become a tool for capturing carbon and a feedstock for new products such as bio-fuels, food and other products?”
I know very little about the possibilities/drawbacks of carbon algae recycling...for example, doesn't turning the algae into feedstock after it has done its work defeat the purpose of carbon sequestration, which is to keep theCO2 in the ground? And I don't really have a problem of the nation turning its scientists to the task of greening the tar sands. But theres' a $700,000,000 plus budget involved, and a good deal of discretion on Mr. McDougall's part as to how the money should be distributed. So: should the NRC become a vehicle for his own personal obsessions?