Not Peak Oil. Peak Idiocy.

So where did it all go wrong for peak-oil alarmists? Interestingly, for better ‘experts’ than Monbiot, it was their abject failure to understand either energy or the economics of energy. A double failure that led inexorably into a state which economist Mike Munger rightly terms: “peak idiocy”. Munger’s thesis bears repeating:

“Of all the idiotic things people believe, the whole “peak oil” thing has to be right up there. It is literally impossible for us to run out of oil. We have never run out of anything. And we never will.
If we did start to use up the oil we have … three things would happen.
1. Prices would rise, causing people to cut back on use. More fuel efficient cars, better insulation on houses, etc. Quantity supplied goes up.
2. Prices would rise, causing people to look for more. And they would find more oil, and more ways to get at it. Quantity demanded goes down.
3. Prices of oil would rise, making the search for substitutes more profitable. At that point alternative fuels and energy sources would be economical, and would not require government subsidies, because they would pay for themselves. The supply curve for substitutes shifts downward and to the right.

Source


Peak Oil – I don’t think so.

A few days ago, I came across this article ‘Some advantages of being an aging conservative white male’ and it set me thinking/reminiscing.

I too am an aging white male. Conservative? Mmm, I prefer sceptical as my blog will tell you. In 1972 I attended my first environmental indoctrination seminar. Part of a two week schools science conference in London (I was an impressionable 16 year old). The title of the seminar was ‘2010 and all that’. Its premise – that by 2010 we would have run out of all natural resources needed as part of our technological western society. Oil was singled out as a resource long past its peak and heading towards oblivion. I was not worried, after all 2010 was 38 years into the future. It was merely an interesting ‘fact’. Clearly I lacked imagination, something available in shed loads to the legion of alarmists that stalked the school corridors, then as now.

In 1980 I bought my first (perhaps only) environmentalist book ‘Earth our Crowded Spaceship’ by science (and science fiction) writer Isaac Asimov, a tome he penned in 1974. Having read all his science fiction stories, this was (I thought) the first science book of his that I had read. But as an aging white sceptical male, I now realise that it was just more science fiction.

SUMMARY: Discusses the problems faced by the Earth’s inhabitants as population increases and energy sources, food, and land become scarce.

Basically Paul Ehrilch’s ‘The Population Bomb’(1968) and Thomas Malthus’ ‘Essay on the Principle of Population’ (1798) with knobs on. Like all alarmists Asimov was not content to predict disaster too far into the future, he wanted to be around to say I told you so, so the last line of Chapter 10 on Oil predictably reads, “…a crisis will come in our use of oil energy long before 2025, the crisis is coming now, in the 1970s —-“ Pause for 1970’s school boy snigger.

Isaac Asimov died in 1992. He was a great man. A hero of mine. He predicted the development of the world wide web, the hand held computer, the use of the atom bomb, and all before 1945. The man was a genius but his socialist leanings got in the way of his ability to see the future clearly when it came to socioeconomic issues.

To all those who like to predict the demise of life as we know it let it be known that some of us have long memories. Some of us read history, some of us remember the predictions of your failed forebears’. If you must cry ‘the end is nigh’, do yourselves a favour and make ‘nigh’ after your dead so as not to make a fool of yourself.


‘remarkable’ oil and gas industry!

It has been a long time since I have heard a politician no matter what their political hue describe the oil and gas industry as ‘remarkable’. So three cheers to George Osborn (Britain’s Economics Minister) for recognising the essential nature of the fossil fuel industry to keeping the lights on and industry rolling. And while other European nations are banning the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing to increase gas production, Osborn is giving $0.75 Billion in tax breaks to the gas industry to make Britain a “gas hub”.

While France in the 1970’s saw nuclear as their path to energy independence perhaps the UK will do the same with gas. For a moment there I thought they were going to do that by building 6,000 offshore wind turbines. But that would be utterly stupid – wouldn’t it?

Source article.


Drought and Greenhouse Effect – Can’t occupy the same space!

Global cooling in historic times has brought on periods of drought. Empirical data from ice cores, lake sediments and seabed mud cores show conclusively that a warmer world is wetter and more fertile while a colder world is dryer, stormier and less beneficial to wildlife. So the wild fires and heat wave in the US are proof (if they are proof of anything) that the earth is not warming.

The, so called, Greenhouse Effect (the nature of which I am very sceptical) needs water vapour. Droughts are a lack of water vapour. The warmists can’t have it both ways.

More interesting takes on this.


Ethanol from Corn – The NYT gets in on the act!

I read this article with some surprise. The New York Times is usually a strict adherent to the Manmade Global Warming mantra and anything that promotes the tenets of renewables and sustainability. They break faith here with the normal approach of blind sacrifice on the altar of anti-fossil fuel.

Could it be that some sense is creeping in to the tents of the warmist religious – nice fantasy, but probably not.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/31/opinion/corn-for-food-not-fuel.html?_r=1


US Corn Prices vs Enthanol Mandates – worrying correlation

Pre the GW Bush Ethanol mandates of 2007 US corn prices bumped along at a sub $3 figure for many years. From 2007 onwards we see an inexorable rise to over $6 and talk of $8 in the wake of the recent drought. Economists such as Paul Krugman (see my previous post – Loading the Climate Dice?) would have us believe that the price rise is all due to the drought but the historical price graph gives the lie to that.

Now I am a firm adherent to the maxim that ‘correlation does not necessarily mean causality’. Having said that when the US is MANDATED yes mandated to convert what could be 50% of its corn crop (40% last year) into Ethanol, in 2012, then is there any wonder that the price of corn has doubled in 5 years.

The current government with its eye on sustainable energy is not going to change tack and the corn producers certainly are not going to look for any change so don’t hold your breath for a U turn on the Ethanol mandate any time soon.

Just another example of blind adherence to a political dogma that flies in the face of commonsense when natural gas prices in the US have halved during the same period.

More interesting takes on this.


There are NO Climate Experts!

If you believe everything you read in the blogosphere you would imagine that the scientific community was awash with Climate experts. On a daily basis I hear someone being introduced as a climate expert. But there is no such thing. It is like a Cardiac surgeon claiming to be a human body expert. Just because he has expertise in one aspect of the human body, in this case – the heart, this does not give him the right to claim expert knowledge of the entire human organism. And indeed no surgeon would make such an outrageous claim. So why do we allow these scienticians to get away with claiming to be experts in the equally complex area of the climate. To run with the human body analogy a little longer we might perhaps compare a meteorologist with a GP (General Practitioner) but having said that who in their right mind would allow a GP to treat them if they got their diagnosis (or forecast) as wrong as the average weather man/woman (for the Brits – who can forget Michael Fish). The climate and its influences are many and varied and in numerous ways are far less understood than the workings of the human body.

So often I read claim and counter claim between warmists and sceptics about whose scientific qualifications are superior to who’s when debating a particular point about Global Warming. This is Aristotle’s number one logical fallacy, similar to the child’s playground retort of ‘My dad’s bigger than yours’ but because we are adults we call it the appeal-to-authority fallacy.

I think the most glaring example of this was Dr. Rajendra Pachauri’s dismissal of Indian Glaciologists when he accused them of using Voodoo science because they dared to question his sacred IPCC’s peer reviewed data on Himalayan glacial melting. The subsequent investigation exonerated the Indian scientists extracted an apology from Pachauri and exposed the fact that a lot of information used by the IPCC that should have been peer reviewed (including the Himalayan Glacial melt claim) was not.

If the head of the IPCC can be such a jerk when it comes to an appeal-to-authority on climate then I doubt there is anyone else who could claim to have a greater breadth of knowledge of climate that would single them out for the title of ‘Climate Expert’.


Weather forecasting by the stars?

Ok then, weather forecasting by the star? Or to be absolutely correct our star the Sun. Much as I love the idea that WeatherAction can produce highly accurate long range weather forecasts by interpreting Solar activity, the old sceptic in me wants to know how it’s done.

Yes I know Piers Corbin makes money from his predictions and I would not want him to lose his livelihood by divulging his methodology but hey, if his methods are that accurate his methodology must have a significant dollar value. Is there no philanthropist (Bill Gates – if you are reading this…) or far sighted government out there that would buy him out and make his techniques available for the common good?

I want to believe. The idea that Solar based predictions can trump CO2 biased computer models fills me with joy. Buuut – is there anyone out there who can persuade me that it’s not all smoke and mirrors?


Mann vs Ball now Mann vs Styne

We wait with baited breath, Michael Mann’s response to Tim Ball’s discovery requests in Mann’s British Columbia Supreme Court action. Mann had been counting on Ball caving in and publishing a retraction over his accusation of a cover-up at Penn State in relation to Mann’s famous  Hockey Stick Graph data. Now if Mann wishes to proceed with the action his is going to have to produce the data (r-squared correlation coefficient numbers) which he has so desperately tried to hide from the ‘sceptical’ scientific community since the ‘hockey stick’ graph was debunked.

Now Mann, clearly a glutton for punishment has begun legal proceedings against ‘The National Review’s’ Mark Styne. Again any thought that Styne will roll over in the face of legal proceedings have been quickly disabused. Mann, if he had any sense, should cleave to the maxim, ‘If you are in a hole, stop digging’. But I am so glad that he would appear to have an unlimited number of shovels. I know I am being overly optimistic to think that Mann will actually produce the data. No, he will take the hit, pay Ball’s costs, (after all he is not short of a bob or two with all that research grant money) and slink back behind the veil of secrecy which has been his defence since he was caught out ‘Hiding the decline’.

More interesting takes on this.


BBC’s Lost Credibility

If anyone was in any doubt that the BBC was the official mouth piece of Global Warming Alarmism then this article  “Satellites reveal sudden Greenland ice melt” confirms it.

While the headline is entirely correct it only took three lines before the BBC pushed the panic button.  “Scientists said the “unprecedented” melting took place…” NO – what the real scientists said (not the ‘scienticians’ employed in NASA’s propaganda division) was;

“Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,” says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data.

Now place your mouse cursor over this word “unprecedented” right click, then choose ‘synonyms’ from the drop down menu. What do you see;

Unparalleled
Extraordinary
Record
First-time
Unique
Exceptional
Unmatched

Nowhere does it say, ‘on a regular basis’.

Even the satellite images are misleading. The natural inference is that all the ice has melted. I know that’s not what has happened – but what about Joe Public?

I despair; these once great organisations (BBC, NASA) can no longer be believed when it comes to reporting on Global Warming. If we can’t believe them on this, then why should we believe them on anything?