Monday, November 1, 2010

"There is No Reason For Optimism"


The age of oil is ending. "Can the political order face up to the challenge? There is no reason for optimism." I don't usually do a lot of politics in this blog, but regarding the elections tomorrow, think about who might represent you, and who represents Big Oil ("drill, baby, drill"). Oil is running out worldwide. We cannot drill ourselves out of our energy problems, and in fact we have maybe at best a five year supply in our own country if we stopped importing oil today. We need tough politicians to represent us; not Republican lies or Democrat timidity. And we need a crash program to develop alternative energy sources. We need a vision for clean energy, because without one, we might end up fighting wars over petroleum resources in places like the Middle East. Oh...wait a minute...

We are represented by cowards on the one hand and dangerously ignorant fools on the other. And I fear tomorrow's elections will make things far, far worse. We need to be working hard for a common goal that will benefit all of us, not ignoring elephants in the room.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Baseless drivel. Really, you want to quote some moron that says 5 years? The debate is not closed. For you to pick and choose some duration because is suits you is disingenuous, dishonest, and down right slimy. Who says 5 years is the god almighty truth? IDIOT

Garry Hayes said...

Dear Anonymous - Thank you for your reasoned, polite, and intelligent response. Proven reserves in the the US as of 2008 are about 21 billion barrels of oil (http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/natural_gas/data_publications/crude_oil_natural_gas_reserves/cr.html). Our country uses 5 or 6 billion barrels each year. Do the math.

Randy A. said...

Dear Anonymous:

It doesn't matter whether we have a 5 year supply or 50 year supply! The oil is running out.

We have to switch to an alternative fuel supply, and we have to do it before the old fuel (oil) runs out.

Since the data indicates that 5 years is a much better estimate than 50 years, and since burning oil produces pollution and global warming, the sooner the better.

Anonymous said...

I am afraid it is all about the money with the big oil companies and unless alternative energy makes some politician rich nothing is going to be done about it. When we elect someone new we are choosing the lessor of two evils. One of the only reasons I vote is so I can say something about it. Either way the oil companies have too many of our politicians in their pockets and that is all politicians not just democrats or republicans. Garry is right that we need a vision for clean energy and he is right we are represented by cowards and dangerously ignorant fools. Oh and don't forget the warmongers (dangerously ignorant fools as well). We should not be in any other country fighting a war. We are the ones creating the wars and for what OIL. No wonder every other country hates America. We should be worried about other countries. And I am not the anonymous idiot on the above post.

Jeanette said...

Garry Hayes, I read your blog daily and enjoy taking many of your California trips (many I have taken before) with an eye to geology. I regret this latest blog entry because it sounds like Democratic Machine propaganda. I am a Democrat and always have voted such, but not this time. You seem to be taken up with "boken notions" such as "running out" and "oil as evil". I refer you and your readers to E.M. Smith's blog (chiefio.wp.c))and three entries. I will link to the first on Jevons Paradox. His work takes some reading, but the wisdom is worth it.
http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/05/12/jevons-paradox-coal-oil-conservation/
His other entries to read are "THERE IS NO SHORTAGE of energy" and "Nor is there a shortage of STUFF like petrochemicals".

The current Democrats have swallowed the marxist kool-ade and want everyone taxed so that a chosen elite can rule. I hate to see students subjected to this propaganda. I say this respectfully and I hope you take it as such. (For what its is worth, there is no science at present that can prove AGW - anthropogenic global warming. Almost all changes involve natural processes, as any geologists should be aware.)

Randy A. said...

Jeanette, science can never prove a positive. That is the nature of science. So you're right, we can't prove that we are causing global warming (but we can state that the best evidence to date is very clear, and shows that global temperatures are rising due to human emissions of greenhouse gasses).

But that is the wrong question.

A much better question is: can we take the chance that global warming is really our fault? After all, the consequences of inaction could be very dire...

As the proud father of two wonderful children, my answer is unequivocally NO!!!

It helps that the proposed solutions to global warming have many positive side effects. Energy conservation is also money conservation! Using less fossil fuels means less pollution.

And for the second "anonymous" -- if we start to use less oil, oil company profits will fall, and they won't be able to buy all the politicians!

So please stop reading blogs and go vote for informed, intelligent candidates. Candidates who don't confuse facts with opinions. Candidates who will actually represent us, the people, and not faceless corporations...

Randy A. said...

By the way, Jeanette said "...so that a chosen elite can rule."

Please remember, we live in a democracy. WE are the ones who get to choose the rulers!

So make a wise choice, everybody!

SciGuy315 said...

Sigh... come on folks (two in particular), please, please, PLEASE take an environmental geology course from a reputed university or read the ACTUAL scientific literature pertaining to a topic before making comments that are ignorant or downright fictitious. The onus should not continuously fall on the scientific community to debase, debunk and disprove the "feelings" and malformed opinions of pundits that flood the media. Apparently scientists need to do a better job of community outreach and presenting their findings in a manner more accessible to the general public… oh wait, that’s what Geotripper is doing! Keep reading this blog and get enlightened, folks.

SciGuy315 said...

To add to my previous thought, community and junior colleges are most righteously included on the list of reputed institutions.

Jeanette said...

Garry, your readers have many strong differences of opinion. My suggestion is that just because someone thinks/opines that the big END/COLLAPLSE IS "almost" here, this simply is no sane argument for big changes in political policy or massive geo-engineering, especially those projects/taxes that will decimate the prosperity the world has known -- and maybe its life-enhancing warm environment.

These do-ot-now-or-else arguments are silly and should be called mindless (lack of scientific research and method) "Activist" propositions. I once believed in the "end of oil", "sustainable energy development" and "human-caused global warming" (AGW), now Climate Disruption. That was in 2006 because I read Science, Nature, Scientific American, ScienceNews, and publications of many (pseudo)environmental organizations to which I used to belong. Those charges were so serious, the future so imminently bleak and dangerous, that I took a great deal of time to research the science. I can tell you that we have many energy reserves that can and should be developed; energy sources called "sustainable" are anything but, and most today are inefficient and will take tax dollars their entire "life"; that there is no physics to support the "danger" of
CO2 in the atmosphere; CO2 is esential to life, has contributed to the greening of the globe and its protection against drought; thermomenters that give us "global temperatures" have been dropped out in the coldest places and "rounded-up" at almost every airport; only this tactic gives the high temperatures we read about today; read the emails from CRU and see that a tiny portion of tree rings were used, falsely, to develop Mann's Hockey Stick, and protesting scientists were prevented from publishing their alternative research in peer review journals.

There is more, much, much more, but this is your blog. I end by urging you to explore the research on Global Warming, or any other Alarmist position, in some detail. I think you will see the usual, not the outrageous, challenges face us today, as yesterday. Steady as she goes. Excellent science comes first.

Garry Hayes said...

Jeanette...

Science, Nature, Scientific American, ScienceNews are hardly alarmist publications. They report on peer-reviewed science, and the science is clear. Wishing or believing away the bad news is not going to end the challenges that face us. And accepting the rosy statements of politicians whose pockets are full of money from oil and gas companies is dangerously ignorant. They and the cable news pundits are hardly a source for accurate information about climate science. I know I am not going to change your mind, but I will offer these thoughts from http://www.springerlink.com/content/n31866651q820822/fulltext.pdf for anyone to use as a starting point for learning about the issues that face us in regards to energy consumption and global warming.

"1. The essential findings of mainstream climate change science are firm. The world is warming. There are many kinds of evidence: air temperatures, ocean temperatures, melting ice, rising sea levels, and much more. Human activities are the main cause. The warming is not natural. It is not due to the sun, for example. We know this because we can measure the effect of man-made carbon dioxide and it is much stronger than that of changes in the sun, which we also measure.

2. The greenhouse effect is well understood. It is as real as gravity. The foundations of the science are more than 150 years old. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere traps heat. We know carbon dioxide is increasing because we measure it. We know the increase is due to human activities like burning fossil fuels because we can analyze the chemical evidence for that.

3. Our climate predictions are coming true. Many observed climate changes, like rising sea level, are occurring at the high end of the predicted range. Some observed changes, like melting sea ice, are happening faster than the anticipated worst case. Unless mankind takes strong steps to halt and reverse the rapid global increase of fossil fuel use and the other activities that cause climate change, and does so in a very few years, severe climate change is inevitable. Urgent action is needed if global warming is to be limited to moderate levels.

4. The standard skeptical arguments have been refuted many times over. The refutations are on many web sites and in many books. For example, the mechanisms causing natural climate change like ice ages are irrelevant to the current warming. We know why ice ages come and go. That is due to changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun, changes that take thousands of years. The warming that is occurring now, over just a few decades, cannot possibly be caused by such slow-acting processes. But it can be caused by man-made changes in the greenhouse effect.

5. Science has its own high standards. It does not work by unqualified people making claims on television or the Internet. It works by expert scientists doing research and publishing it in carefully reviewed research journals. Other scientists examine the research and repeat it and extend it. Valid results are confirmed, and wrong ones are exposed and abandoned. Science is self-correcting. People who are not experts, who are not trained and experienced in this field, who do not do research and publish it following standard scientific practice, are not doing science. When they claim that they are the real experts, they are just plain wrong.

6. The leading scientific organizations of the world, like national academies of science and professional scientific societies, have carefully examined the results of climate science and endorsed these results. It is silly to imagine that thousands of climate scientists worldwide are engaged in a massive conspiracy to fool everybody. It is also silly to think that a few minor errors in the extensive IPCC reports can invalidate the reports. The first thing that the world needs to do to confront the challenge of climate change wisely is to learn about what science has discovered and accept it. The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report at www.ipcc.ch is a good place to start."

Anonymous said...

Ignore the naysayers. This is a very articulate and compelling article, and I wish I could permanently post it on my Facebook profile. Thank you for clarifying so many points and illustrating the difference between fact and wishful thinking. I wish I could write half as well as you.

Amy (sorry I posted as anonymous, but I don't have a Google accout!)