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The Greatest Crime in History: How it is Being Perpetrated in Front of Your Eyes.

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The Danger of Methane Hydrates and how Some Idiots are Planning to Extract Them as Fuels.Methane hydrates may be the most dangerous thing existing on this planet. They won't do any damage until they stay where they are, underground, but some idiot is proposing to extract them as fuels. Great idea: like warming yourself by pouring gasoline onto your body and lighting a match. If it were ever done, it would be the greatest crime in history. Actually, the last one. A few years ago, I was sitting in the audience of a conference on energy. There appeared a Japanese researcher who spoke for half an hour on how they were exploring the possibility of extracting methane hydrates from the Pacific Ocean. For a while, I thought it was a joke. Then it was clear that he was speaking seriously. His company had obtained grant money from the Japanese government to do exactly what they were doing: studying how to extract hydrates from undersea deposits.When the time for questions came, I thought to rise up and tell him something like, "you are a criminal. You are worse than Hitler, Saddam, and Genghis Khan, all together. You should be arrested and shot." But I didn't do anything like that, after all, this guy had simply used some of his grant money to take a tourist trip to Europe. I think other people in the audience thought the same because he was asked just a couple of trivial questions. Then he left, not to be seen around again. You may have heard about methane hydrates: they are an enormous reservoir of methane created long ago by bacterial activity and stored underground at low temperatures in the Northern permafrost and under the ocean floor. And you know that methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, fortunately present in minute amounts in the atmosphere today. But the carbon in the stock of hydrates is probably at least twice as large as the amount of carbon in the whole atmosphere. And, obviously, if this methane were to be released into the atmosphere . . .  If it were. . .

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