Robert Wilson: No, well—
David Keith: Hard to do.
Robert Wilson: The growth rates of some of these ocean materials are far greater than the growth rate of some of the grasses that people are talking about today. So, this is why it is of interest to some people.
Alan Wolsky, Argonne National Laboratory: This is a comment prompted by some of the things that have been said, but the comment is really directed to the organizers of the meeting and the National Academies. Our field does not have a cumulative literature that would help in these discussions. For example, 20 years ago, people tried to grow kelp and they were successful because kelp grows like crazy, but 19 years ago, they found out that when a storm came they couldn't protect the kelp and they lost their crop. This is a factoid I know about, but the absence of a general knowledge of it illustrates the lack of continuity in our literature.
The difference between the science and this quasi-policy discussion is that in science, there are usually indices and a way to benefit from the work already done. In policy I know many cubic feet of reports—and many of these cubic feet discuss topics we are touching on here—but we have failed to benefit from past work, just as our discussions may not be accessible to the future. So just to do one more study without thinking about how the present interest in climate change can be made accessible to those who come after us misses an opportunity to really make a contribution.
Tom Baker, Los Alamos National Laboratory: The thing that has been disappointing for chemists in the issue of carbon sequestration has been the lack of interest in the United States in expanding funding for the fundamental chemistry of carbon dioxide. In Europe, there is a lot of focus on CO2 reuse and recycling. Here, instead, the attitude has been that it is never going to be large enough to make a difference in the sequestration area, so let's spend our money elsewhere where we are going to solve the larger problem. In fact, there is a lot of chemistry that needs to be worked out with CO2. We still really don't know much about the very basic fundamentals, and in spite of the thermodynamics, there is still a lot of chemistry that could be done with higher-energy coreactants. So how do you think we could go about getting the United States to pay a little more attention to the fundamental chemistry of CO2?
Carol Creutz, Brookhaven National Laboratory: I agree with your assessment and do not have any new ideas on how to focus attention on fundamental CO2 chemistry. I would also comment that within even the Office of Science at the Department of Energy, there seems to have been a much more dominant role of the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (OBER) in attacking the carbon management problem and identifying sequestration as the solution. I don't know if this reflects a whole community or the local response within the United States. Yet the problem has been taken on as a sequestration problem, which—to me as a chemist—doesn't make sense. It seems to me that there would be a lot of things we could be doing and benefiting from.