Peak Oil Poll

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If and when will worldwide Peak Oil occur?

Poll ended at Thu Jun 21, 2007 11:05 pm

Worldwide Peak Oil occurred/will occur in 2020s
11
24%
Worldwide Peak Oil occurred/will occur in 2020s
11
24%
Worldwide Peak Oil occurred/will occur in/after 2030s
13
29%
Worldwide Peak Oil will never be reached; earth replenishes oil faster than humans consume it
10
22%
 
Total votes: 45

Topic Author
Eric White
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Peak Oil Poll

Post by Eric White »

I just finished reading a book on Peak Oil and am interested in adding another dimension to the characteristics of a typical diehard: if we think Peak Oil exists and when it will occur.

Please note that I am not providing a response that it does not exist. I do not want to conflate this question with whether alternate sources are feasible and/or likely. I have left a final option for this response to keep it straightforward based on creation and usage rates.

Depending on the results, follow on poll(s) may look at:
- expected market impacts
- investment strategies
- expected successful technologies
Valuethinker
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Re: Peak Oil Poll

Post by Valuethinker »

Eric White wrote:I just finished reading a book on Peak Oil and am interested in adding another dimension to the characteristics of a typical diehard: if we think Peak Oil exists and when it will occur.

Please note that I am not providing a response that it does not exist. I do not want to conflate this question with whether alternate sources are feasible and/or likely. I have left a final option for this response to keep it straightforward based on creation and usage rates.

Depending on the results, follow on poll(s) may look at:
- expected market impacts
- investment strategies
- expected successful technologies
I am guessing Peak Oil in the 2020s.

Market impacts?

The market is not ready. Certainly not for Peak Oil in less than 20 years.

The things that will go down will be those industries that can't cope with $150/bl fuel-- airlines, hotels, logistics etc. Automotive if people drive less.

The things that will go up will be those industries that can: telecommunications, healthcare etc.

The energy technologies that will benefit:

- wind
- energy saving anything - smart lights, smart HVAC etc.
- nuclear and uranium
- coal (but there is the global warming problem)
- gas (but we might hit peak gas at the same time)
- alternative oil eg Canadian Tar Sands
- solar (complex- -technology is largely not there yet)
Valuethinker
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Re: Peak Oil Poll

Post by Valuethinker »

Eric White wrote:I just finished reading a book on Peak Oil and am interested in adding another dimension to the characteristics of a typical diehard: if we think Peak Oil exists and when it will occur.

Please note that I am not providing a response that it does not exist. I do not want to conflate this question with whether alternate sources are feasible and/or likely. I have left a final option for this response to keep it straightforward based on creation and usage rates.

Depending on the results, follow on poll(s) may look at:
- expected market impacts
- investment strategies
- expected successful technologies
Best single book on Peak Oil is Deffyes 'Hubbert's Peak'.

Matt Simmons 'Twilight in the Desert' is also interesting, given he is an unusual 'peak oiler' (Bush Ranger, Texan investment banker, etc.).

Terzakian's 'A thousand Barrels a Second' is interesting too, given he implies Peak Oil but fails to actually mention the words, I think.

It's fascinating to read the Chevron ad campaign, which again practically say 'Peak Oil' without mentioning the words.

Most balanced treatment is Vaclav Smil's book on Energy.
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Teetlebaum
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Re: Peak Oil Poll

Post by Teetlebaum »

"Why the World Is Not About to Run Out of Oil" discusses two questions: Is the world really starting to run out of oil? And would hitting a global peak of production necessarily spell economic ruin?
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Re: Peak Oil Poll

Post by Valuethinker »

Teetlebaum wrote:"Why the World Is Not About to Run Out of Oil" discusses two questions: Is the world really starting to run out of oil? And would hitting a global peak of production necessarily spell economic ruin?
It is true that the big firms are struggling to replace reserves. But that does not mean the world is running out of oil, just that they do not have access to the vast deposits of cheap and easy oil that are left in Russia and members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). And as the great fields of the North Sea and Alaska mature, non-OPEC oil production will probably peak by 2010 or 2015. That is soon—but it says nothing of what really matters, which is the global picture.

When the United States Geological Survey (USGS) studied the matter closely, it concluded that the world had around 3 trillion barrels of recoverable conventional oil in the ground. Of that, only one-third has been produced. That, argued the USGS, puts the global peak beyond 2025. And if "unconventional" hydrocarbons such as tar sands and shale oil (which can be converted with greater effort to petrol) are included, the resource base grows dramatically—and the peak recedes much further into the future.
I took that out of the website you linked to.

You will be interested to know the Peak Oil response:

- if the Russians have vast reserves of oil, they sure haven't found them, despite 20 years of desperate searching

- there's no evidence the OPEC members have that oil, either. Gawar is a mature field and may be declining. The only reason, in the last 20 years, that OPEC members have increased declared reserves has been to increase their allowed production quotas.

It's a typical piece of western ethnocentrism to assume that we have a monopoly on the ability to find oil. The people in the Russian oil companies, or Saudi Aramco, are the best people those countries have, they too have Phds in petroleum geology and geophysics from the world's top universities. Saudi Aramco has the best computers in the world working on reservoir management.

- USGS has inevitably, been challenged. Some analysts think that total world oil reserves are less than 2 trillion barrels, of which perhaps 1 trillion has been pumped. It would be politically impossible for the USGS to announce that the world was running out of oil.

- new oil production technology increases production *rates*, it doesn't increase total *reserves*

A 10 billion barrel discover seems like a big discovery, and it is, in this day and age-- the last super (more than 50 bn barrels) was discovered in the 1960s. Yet the US burns c. 7.6 bn barrels *a year* and the world 30.7 bn barrels a year. It's been a long time since anyone has announced a discovery north of 10 bn barrels.

http://rubyesque.com/major_fields/repor ... size_in_Gb

Whatever we can say about new reserves, it is pretty clear that exponential growth in oil consumption cannot continue as it has in the past.

If you read the Chevron ads, they too make these points. But they don't mention the words 'peak oil'. But they say the same things the Peak Oilers are saying.

On unconventional oil, despite the profitability of those resources, they have not been developed. And they, too, are finite.

In the case of the Alberta Tar Sands, the best alternative oil source on the planet (other than the Venezuelan equivalent), the reserves are there (Saudi Arabian size ie c. 200bn barrels extractible) but there are finite physical limits on capacity expansion. Alberta is straining to get from 1m b/d to 3m b/d of oil sands production by 2015-- everything you need to do it (natural gas, water, labour, etc.) is in short supply. It is not an infinitely scalable resource. 5m b/d is certainly possible, 10 m b/d is very hard to see (but probably not before 2030-- a gas pipeline from the Mackenzie Delta has to be built first).

Shale oil? As one geologist said 'it's neither shale, nor oil'. Shell spent over $1bn on it in the 70s, then abandoned it. Probably at $100/bl, we can make it work. The technology isn't there yet.

Stripper wells? The US has the most advanced stripper wells in the world, and the most experience running them. The financial incentives are clear: they are highly profitable. US stripper well production is less than 1m b/d (1/8th of production, 1/20th of consumption).

In the short run, supply and demand for oil are essentially inelastic. The price could be $20/bl, or $120/bl with equal probability.

But in the long run, resource economics theory says the price of an exhaustible resource should rise, over time, until it reaches the price of the available substitutes.


*that* is a big number. $50/bl at least. The long run average price of oil has been closer to $30. $50 (or $70) is a new world.

http://www.econbrowser.com/archives/200 ... n_ame.html
strafe
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Post by strafe »

Anyone interested in reading about energy technology and policy from a non-partisan perspective should check out Robert Rapier's R-Squared Energy Blog.
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Adrian Nenu
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The Oil Reserve Fallacy

Post by Adrian Nenu »

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TravisMorien
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some more poll questions...

Post by TravisMorien »

Assuming that it was peak oil, we knew for a fact that peak oil had just happened and nobody with any credibility was saying otherwise, how many people here would actually make any significant changes to their lifestyle?

Would you, for instance, seriously consider using a bicycle as a means of "serious" (as opposed to merely fun) transportation?

If you were simply too far or too unfit to ride a bike to work, would you use public transport more often or switch to a more fuel efficient vehicle?

Would you support laws which prohibited the sale of fuel guzzling monster trucks to people who were unable to demonstrate a legitimate need for an offroad or heavy haulage vehicle?

Do you support in principle the idea of carbon credit trading, irrespective of whether you consider any currently proposed implementation, i.e. Kyoto, to be fair and reasonable?

Travis
dauterman
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Post by dauterman »

Hi,

The world may have passed peak oil sometime in 2005:

- No new major finds in the last 40 years.

- Saudi Arabia is producing only about 8.8 MBPD now compared to 10.2 MBPS 2 years ago.

- Other large oil fields (e.g. Cantarrel in Mexico) are also in irreversable decline.

- There is not enough new production of oil coming online in the next few years to replace output lost due to depletion at existing fields.

- World production of oil so far this year is 84 MBPD which is DOWN from 85 MBPS in 2005/06. Since no more oil can be produced than is already being produced, there is demand destruction (high prices) to reduce demand to the level of availabe supply.

- In all certainty Light Sweet Crude is post-peak, but heavy sour has yet to peak.

For more discussion see:

http://www.peakoil.com/fortopic27310.html
http://www.peakoil.com/fortopic25320.html
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TravisMorien
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Post by TravisMorien »

I saw a few people answered the poll saying that the earth makes about as much oil naturally as we consume.

Actually very little oil has been created for many millions of years.

Almost all of the world's oil deposits were created over time as a direct result of events which occurred during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

The way oil is formed is a fascinating process. Essentially what happens is an organic sludge forms on the ocean floor, the sludge is buried and then cooked in the heat of the Earth. How much it is cooked depends on how deep it was buried, if it was buried too deeply it gets too hot and becomes natural gas. Too shallow and you just get oil shales. If its buried at just the right depth, it becomes "light sweet crude".

But the formation of the organic sludge is the essential first step, and requires very specific conditions.

On a few occasions in the Earth's history vast amounts of carbon dioxide have been emitted into the atmosphere primarily by volcanic activity. this carbon dioxide fed phytoplankton in the ocean causing them to bloom. When the phytoplankton falls to the bottom of the ocean it decays and this decay uses up oxygen. If enough dead plankton is raining down all of the oxygen in the ocean depths gets consumed and the deep ocean becomes a lifeless stagnant anoxic zone.

All oxygen dependent life in the ocean depths dies, and without either animals to eat it or oxygen to help it decompose organic material sinking to the bottom just builds up into a thick sludge.

It is that sludge which becomes crude oil, eventually.

The "problem" is, this level of stagnation in the ocean depths is very rare. It has only happened on a handful of occasions in hundreds of millions of years and almost all of the world's oil was formed on those occasions. When these events don't occur, negligible amounts of oil can form except under very localised conditions such as at the bottom of certain lakes.

I put "problem" in quotes, because actually this is a very good thing for us today. During the oceanic anoxic events almost all life in the oceans was extinguished, with almost all of the world's oceans simultaneously becoming stagnant and anoxic. Almost as bad, in the absence of oxygen hydrogen sulphide wells up from the depths making the oceans not only virtually lifeless, but also extremely toxic.

If an anoxic event happened today, not only would seafood be off the menu but we'd have to evacuate all of the world's coastal regions because they would be choked with highly toxic "rotten egg" gases. And even away from the coast you wouldn't be safe because hydrogen sulphide attacks ozone, so the ozone layer would be greatly thinned as well causing a huge increase in ultraviolet radiation reaching the surface. Many micro fossils from the time of oceanic anoxic events show the signs of UV damage. We do not want one of these things happening today!

The irony of it is that oceanic anoxic events are one of the world's mechanisms for removing excessive carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The carbon gets taken down to the ocean depths in the bodies of dead plankton and then becomes buried and eventually turned into oil. The kicker is that by releasing the carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere we risk another massive global algal bloom precipitating another global ocean anoxic event. The anoxic event would eventually remove the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but from the geological record we know that this isn't a rapid process, previous anoxic events lasted for hundreds of thousands of years.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anoxic_event

All of the world's great oil producing regions were covered by water during the time of previous oceanic anoxic events. The whole Middle East lay on the bottom of the Tethys Ocean millions of years ago.

The reason why the whole middle east is not uniformly covered in oil is because in addition to burying the ooze and then heating it under the surface, you also need other factors such as the right kinds of rocks which hold the oil in place. Since oil is lighter than water it also tends to rise over time, so it flows uphill. The richest oil producing fields in Saudi Arabia are where the geology was just right for the creation and accumulation of oil.

Travis
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orthros
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Post by orthros »

Travis,

Unfortunately, the assumption here is that the earth is millions of years old, and that it takes eons to make oil. Given that laboratory conditions have allowed for making oil in very short periods of time, and that not everyone buys the old Earth theory, I can see why "peak oil" has become the "doomsday clock" of our present decade.

Ironically, I am an avid supporter of alternative fuels... just for other reasons than what I consider to be an overly alarmist perspective.

[admin Tashina says: It is noted that "not everyone believes in the old Earth theory". This opens a whole new can of worms. Taking the conversation in this direction will involve religion which is not allowed on this board. Any further discussion on this part of the topic will be removed.]
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tadamsmar
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Oil Futures don't predict Peak Oil soon

Post by tadamsmar »

Granted, the futures are only available for a few years. But if there was a demand for them, they would be available farther out.

The market is not signaling a big increase in the price of oil at any time in the near future.

I am not sure how far you can project out the price signal of futures as a useful indicator.
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TravisMorien
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Post by TravisMorien »

post removed

[ tashina says: Sorry Travis, I know you posted this before my above message, but I don't want to turn this thread into a religious argument]
Last edited by TravisMorien on Thu Jun 14, 2007 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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TravisMorien
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Post by TravisMorien »

TravisMorien wrote:post removed

[ tashina says: Sorry Travis, I know you posted this before my above message, but I don't want to turn this thread into a religious argument]
Fair enough. While I enjoy a good old faith vs evidence type debate as much as the next scientist, these things tend to get ugly fast.

Travis
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Cosmo
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Never

Post by Cosmo »

Peak Oil will NEVER come. Why? Commodity prices will go up sharply well in advance and the economics will force us to turn to other technologies out there: fuel cells, solar power, wind, etc..... in addition to smaller cars... thus sharply reducing demand of the black stuff. Are we there yet? Probably not quite.
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Re: Never

Post by Alex Frakt »

Cosmo wrote:Peak Oil will NEVER come. Why? Commodity prices will go up sharply well in advance and the economics will force us to turn to other technologies out there: fuel cells, solar power, wind, etc..... in addition to smaller cars... thus sharply reducing demand of the black stuff. Are we there yet? Probably not quite.
This is only true if you are arguing against us running completely out of oil. But Peak Oil is not the same as No Oil. Peak Oil would occur (has occured?) when peak production is reached. If we are pre-peak, there is still excess production capacity, and thus commodity prices should moderate over the long term as production ramps up to meet demand. For commodity prices to rise sharply and stay up there are just three possibilites: 1) we have passed the production peak, 2) capacity continues to increase, but demand grows faster than capacity, 3) capacity continues to increase, but the extraction costs of each new barrel are greater then the previous barrel.

While 2 & 3 don't meet the definition of Peak Oil, the mid-term economic effects are the same. In the long term 2 & 3 are better since Peak Oil predicts substitution of energy sources will have to occur at any ever increasing rate rather than a steady rate.
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TravisMorien
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Re: Never

Post by TravisMorien »

Cosmo wrote:Peak Oil will NEVER come. Why? Commodity prices will go up sharply well in advance and the economics will force us to turn to other technologies out there: fuel cells, solar power, wind, etc..... in addition to smaller cars... thus sharply reducing demand of the black stuff. Are we there yet? Probably not quite.
No, peak oil is the point at which oil production levels off and then starts to decline.

That happened in the 1970s in America. Its a fact that American oil production has been falling since then.

Scientific consensus internationally is that global peak oil is right about now. No large new oil fields have been discovered for a long time, and there simply aren't any corners of the Earth which haven't been explored yet. To form the view that we are not at peak oil already we'd have to assume that there are still giant undiscovered fields out there, but given the technology available already today and the money which goes into exploration its very difficult to imagine that there might be another Saudi Arabia out there somewhere.

Once peak oil has been reached, the next step is the long decline in production around the world, and the switching to more expensive sources of oil such as oil shales and sands, use of the Fischer-Tropsch process to turn coal into fuel (as the Germans did in WW2) etc.

There is more than enough of these other resources to keep us going for centuries, but they all carry substantial costs such as the CO2 production which results from having to cook the oil shales yourself (if you recall my post above about OAEs, oil is formed when the earth cooks these shales with geothermal energy).

At this point global warming is the more serious concern than peak oil itself, though peak oil does have significant implications for the cost of energy.

Travis
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billions not millions...

Post by D Newton »

For clarity purposes, actually the earth is several billion years old, not millions....(I suppose one could say several thousand million years old)...what's a few decimal points :)

I am not aware of any scientific studies that document the "making" of oil in a laboratory in a "short period of time". I would be interested in readying that paper.

At some point, however, the world's production of oil will decline...call it what you want. However, there is plenty of oil for the foreseeable future, even at today's consumption rate, and with the likely decline in production we will seen in the next decade or so. The price will go up as supplies decline. Of course if we use less of it, through conservation measures, or developing alternative energy, or making it in a laboratory, the price will adjust to market conditions.
Regards, | Doug
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Post by Valuethinker »

TravisMorien wrote:
TravisMorien wrote:post removed

[ tashina says: Sorry Travis, I know you posted this before my above message, but I don't want to turn this thread into a religious argument]
Fair enough. While I enjoy a good old faith vs evidence type debate as much as the next scientist, these things tend to get ugly fast.

Travis
[note to moderator: you may wish to delete this.. your call and apologies in advance]

[religious content removed by Moderator]
Valuethinker
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Re: Never

Post by Valuethinker »

Cosmo wrote:Peak Oil will NEVER come. Why? Commodity prices will go up sharply well in advance and the economics will force us to turn to other technologies out there: fuel cells, solar power, wind, etc..... in addition to smaller cars... thus sharply reducing demand of the black stuff. Are we there yet? Probably not quite.
Cosmo

It would still be 'Peak Oil', it would be conventional Peak Oil.

The PO argument is that readily extractible oil reserves are running out, or rather that Peak production will be reached when 50% of extractible reserves of oil have been extracted.

A PO tends to believe that after extracting c. 1 trillion barrels of oil since 1865, we are now at 1/2 way through the oil era (conventional oil) and so production will inexorably decline. Typical rates of production decline from a 'peaking' oil field are 2 to 8% per annum. At 4% say, world oil production in 2043 will be half of current (assuming 2007 was a peak).

An optimist believes there might be 3 trillion barrels of oil out there, and so we are only 1/3rd of the way through, and Peak Oil is at least another 17 years (at current extraction rates). They also tend to believe that production can be sustained at higher levels (ie the rate of fall in production post halfway point is 0 or even positive).

The existence of substitutes is inevitable, and normal. Again what a PO person would point out is that the EROEI (the reverse of the ratio of energy cost to extract vs. energy liberated from consumption) of oil is c. 17:1, whereas for other forms of energy (eg coal) it is much lower: as low as 4:1 or even 1:1 or 0.85:1 (ethanol).

PO people tend to believe that this implies industrial degradation: a fall in the net energy available to civilisation, hence a fall in standards of living.

An economist would say that if you raise the cost of energy in an economy, that economy simply becomes more efficient in the use of energy. Hence California is 40% more efficient in the use of electricity than the country as a whole. And Japan is more than twice as efficient in the use of energy as the USA, despite having a relatively larger industrial sector.

Optimists say oil is simply another exhaustible resource, and civilisation's response to exhaustible resources is to find substitutes.

What is interesting now is how many oil companies are talking about the problem of reserve replacement, whilst studiously avoiding any mention of the words 'Peak Oil'. What is also interesting is the degree to which the major producers appear to have 'capped out' in terms of production: USA (falling), Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran etc. if there is new oil there, it is not being produced.

My own view is that Peak Oil is a threat (and Peak Gas an even more worrying one) but that the short term threat is much more serious: global warming. There is more than enough carbon locked up in our fossil fuel reserves of coal, oil and gas to kill us as a civilisation, and possibly to kill the human race, *before* we get to the thorny question of resource exhaustion.
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Science isn't democratic

Post by asset_chaos »

I'm dubious that questions of science fact can be decided by ballot. Science isn't democratic.
Regards, | | Guy
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Re: Science isn't democratic

Post by Valuethinker »

asset_chaos wrote:I'm dubious that questions of science fact can be decided by ballot. Science isn't democratic.
To be precise, it is paradigmatic. At least to take Thomas Kuhn's perspective on it.

A consensus emerges about what is the truth, which becomes the dominant paradigm. Every few decades, that paradigm gets overturned by new discoveries or insights-- such was true of plate tectonics in the 1950s.

Usually the theory and the data race each other. Someone comes up with a new theory, then empirical research goes out and collects lots of new data, which is then tested against the theory. This happens all the time in atomic particle science, for example. Similarly observational astrophysics has driven our understanding of the origin of the Universe.

If I recall correctly, it was an observed anomaly in the orbit of Mercury which led to the Theory of Relativity.
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Re: Never

Post by LH »

TravisMorien wrote:

To form the view that we are not at peak oil already we'd have to assume that there are still giant undiscovered fields out there, but given the technology available already today and the money which goes into exploration its very difficult to imagine that there might be another Saudi Arabia out there somewhere.
What about the Artic and Antartic? With global warming, one will be able to sit in a bathing suit with al gore, and prospect for oil at the north pole : )

I do not know anything about it, but I would suspect the Artic and Antartic have not really been well explored oil wise?
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Post by Rick_29T9W »

I don't know when worldwide peak oil will occur, but industrialization of China and India will also mean increased competition for oil. If supply problems do occur during my lifetime, will we be able to adapt? Will we all be running around in ultra-small fuel efficient hybrid gas/electric or diesel cars or 100 MPG motor scooters or riding on buses? Will people be forced to avoid long commutes by living closer to where the work and shop or by telecommuting? Will people be forced to carpool to the grocery store? Personally, I live next door to where I work and not too far from the grocery store, so I don't use very much gas.

If I am not mistaken, some types of fertilizer for our farms are derived from petroleum products, so would food prices be greatly affected?

In the long run, I hope we can start to move on to some other alternative energy source such as solar power or fusion power. Fusion power is different than how existing nuclear power plants work. I am no expert, but my understanding is that fusion power would not produce high-level radioactive waste and uses fusion of hydrogen or hydrogen isotopes like the sun (or the hydrogen bomb) instead of uranium fission. I have not heard how fusion power research is going lately, but for decades now they have always been saying that fusion power is at least about 10 years away. If fusion power ever becomes practical perhaps we could all switch to electric cars and charge them up from the power produced by fusion power plants. Solar power might also be an option although the cost per KW would probably be more than what we are paying now. Either way, civilization could probably go on using alternative energy sources that are somewhat more expensive. If peak oil were to catch us by surprise too quickly before we could adapt perhaps we could have much greater economic problems.

Perhaps we will be trying to pay for the development of new alternative energy sources at the same time baby the boomers retire and are demanding Social Security and Medicaid payments. Perhaps, at the same time, we might also be facing the consequences of decades of federal deficit spending and the borrowing money from Asian countries such as China. Will we be able to do all of that at once?
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Re: Never

Post by Valuethinker »

LH wrote:
TravisMorien wrote:

To form the view that we are not at peak oil already we'd have to assume that there are still giant undiscovered fields out there, but given the technology available already today and the money which goes into exploration its very difficult to imagine that there might be another Saudi Arabia out there somewhere.
What about the Artic and Antartic? With global warming, one will be able to sit in a bathing suit with al gore, and prospect for oil at the north pole : )

I do not know anything about it, but I would suspect the Artic and Antartic have not really been well explored oil wise?
Let's put aside the irony of burning oil and gas, to create a global warming problem, that allows to explore for *more* oil and gas, in the Arctic and Antarctic :D

For context, if we find a field of say, 20 billion barrels (ie larger than Prudhoe Bay, Alaska) in the Arctic, that is 2/3rds of one year of world consumption.

Broadly speaking, drilling has been going on off Arctic Canada and Alaska for 30+ years. I don't know about Russia.

There isn't a lot of hope that there is oil off the Continental Shelf, so once you get out of the Canadian Arctic islands, we aren't likely to find oil. We've certainly not found commercial quantities of oil where we have drilled.

(gas is something of another matter. There is quite a bit of natural gas in the Canadian Arctic).

My (limited) understanding of the geology is that you tend to find oil on what was formerly, or is now, land or Continental Shelf. That doesn't characterise the Arctic Basin.

Over to Antarctica. The ice is over a mile thick in most places. You can't drill through that (ice moves).

The offshore conditions are daunting so it's not clear we could produce even if we found the oil. And it would be in far and away the most environmentally fragile region on the planet. Do damage there, and it takes centuries to heal, if it ever does.

This isn't idle curiousity. At the root of the Antarctic food chain is sea plankton and small shrimp (krill) that feed things, that in turn are eaten by just about every sea creature we eat. The currents carry them north to places that fish feed. Disrupt that and we could kill the entire planetary sea food chain.

If the Antarctic Ice did melt, world sea levels would be 100 to 300 feet higher than they are now. I would question whether in that situation we would have the desire, let alone the resources, to go after oil in Antarctica.

Similarly for the High Arctic, if we assume that the Greenland ice pack has also melted (a reasonable assumption if we assume open water at the North Pole) then world sea levels are 20 feet higher, which raises its own set of questions.

My overall conclusion is:

- Arctic Ocean - yes we will drill. But we are not likely to find huge further amounts of oil. We will probably find more gas.

- Antarctic - for the foreseeable future, the technical problems are almost unsolvable. By the time we are in a position to solve them, we either don't need the oil, or it is too late.
Valuethinker
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Post by Valuethinker »

Rick_29T9W wrote:I don't know when worldwide peak oil will occur, but industrialization of China and India will also mean increased competition for oil. If supply problems do occur during my lifetime, will we be able to adapt? Will we all be running around in ultra-small fuel efficient hybrid gas/electric or diesel cars or 100 MPG motor scooters or riding on buses? Will people be forced to avoid long commutes by living closer to where the work and shop or by telecommuting? Will people be forced to carpool to the grocery store? Personally, I live next door to where I work and not too far from the grocery store, so I don't use very much gas.

If I am not mistaken, some types of fertilizer for our farms are derived from petroleum products, so would food prices be greatly affected?

In the long run, I hope we can start to move on to some other alternative energy source such as solar power or fusion power. Fusion power is different than how existing nuclear power plants work. I am no expert, but my understanding is that fusion power would not produce high-level radioactive waste and uses fusion of hydrogen or hydrogen isotopes like the sun (or the hydrogen bomb) instead of uranium fission. I have not heard how fusion power research is going lately, but for decades now they have always been saying that fusion power is at least about 10 years away. If fusion power ever becomes practical perhaps we could all switch to electric cars and charge them up from the power produced by fusion power plants. Solar power might also be an option although the cost per KW would probably be more than what we are paying now. Either way, civilization could probably go on using alternative energy sources that are somewhat more expensive. If peak oil were to catch us by surprise too quickly before we could adapt perhaps we could have much greater economic problems.

Perhaps we will be trying to pay for the development of new alternative energy sources at the same time baby the boomers retire and are demanding Social Security and Medicaid payments. Perhaps, at the same time, we might also be facing the consequences of decades of federal deficit spending and the borrowing money from Asian countries such as China. Will we be able to do all of that at once?

- yes modern farming is almost completely petroleum dependent. Natural gas is the major source of fertilizer (and US fertilizer production collapsed when the gas price went up), and farming is crucially dependent on fuel for the tractors, and fuel for the trucks that get the food to market

- doubling the price of oil won't kill us. Americans have $3.50/gal gasoline, Europeans $7/gallon. If Americans pay European gas prices, they will drive less, and drive more efficient cars. Suburban sprawl will be reduced.

However you could have a very nasty recession if oil prices shot to $120/bl tomorrow.

As to alternatives:

- fusion is a likely non starter. When I first studied physics 30 years ago, nuclear fission would be practicable 'in about 50 years'. Guess what, the predictions for the new multi-billion dollar ITER fusion testbed are 'commercial fusion in another 50 years'.

It's the holy grail, and like the grail, we'll probably never find it. (never meaning in the next 50 years-- the 50 years after that, who knows?)

- we already have a large working fusion reactor, with 4.5 billion years of test experience. It's called the Sun.

The fall in per kw production costs of solar and wind power (wind is actually a form of solar power) has been dramatic. Wind is now competitive with comparable conventional forms of electric power generation (assuming a reasonable charge for carbon emission). Solar is a long way from that, but continues to move down the cost curve at an impressive rate.

A modern coal fired power station is c. 5-6 cents/ kwhr, fully costed, with no carbon charge. A modern gas fired station is 4-6 cents/ kwhr. A modern nuclear station is c. 8 cents, if we fully cost the subsidies. A modern wind station is 4-10 cents, depending on location, wind conditions, grid connections etc. Solar is 15 to 20 cents/ kwhr.

Saving electricity in some cases has a negative cost, ie you can 'produce' energy by saving it for a cost less than the savings generated (eg by changing lightbulbs, or using power efficient setttings on PCs).

On the 20 year horizon, solar is unlikely to be a big part of our total energy mix. On the 50 year horizon, it's quite likely to be huge. Wind will be 10-20% of world electric power production long before then.

The big problem, both in transportation and electric power generation, is storage. The key is some big improvements in battery cost/efficiency need to happen, possibly via fuel cells.
dauterman
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Re: Never

Post by dauterman »

LH wrote:
TravisMorien wrote:

To form the view that we are not at peak oil already we'd have to assume that there are still giant undiscovered fields out there, but given the technology available already today and the money which goes into exploration its very difficult to imagine that there might be another Saudi Arabia out there somewhere.
What about the Artic and Antartic? With global warming, one will be able to sit in a bathing suit with al gore, and prospect for oil at the north pole : )

I do not know anything about it, but I would suspect the Artic and Antartic have not really been well explored oil wise?
Hi,

Let's look at it in terms of the big picture. The Ultimate Recoverable Reserve (URR) is the total amount of oil that can be gotten out of the ground for any area. The URR of the entire planet is estimated at about 2000 to 3000 billion barrels of oil.

We can't know for sure how much is still left until we get it out of the ground. But we can know for a certainty that about 1000 billion barrels of oil have already been produced worldwide. That means we have already gone through about 1/3 to 1/2 of the world's endowment of liquid fossil fuels.

According to the Peak Oil theory, the peak occurs at the midpoint of production. So the world is at Peak or close to Peak, give or take a decade or two.

The world is currently using about 32 billion barrels of oil a year. So if we find a huge amount of oil there - say 200 billion barrels, as much as Saudi Arabia - that would delay Peak Oil a number of years, maybe a decade. But that would not disprove the Peak Oil theory, it would only delay the inevitable.

As other posters have said, we'd need to find as much oil as several Saudi Arabias to make a significant difference. Otherwise, Peak Oil is going to play itself out just like the theory proposed by Hubbert in 1956.
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LH
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Post by LH »

Well, its all interesting stuff.

I do not believe in global warming as being cause by man neccessarily, it is an open question.

I find it hard to believe that out of all the factors involved in weather, that they can nail it down to the increase in CO2 from man that is causing warming. Warming and cooling have been a continual process prior to mans creation of CO2.

Simply, the science is dismal.

They cannot predict the weather 10 days in advance. Most recently, after all those hurricanes that one year, they stated it was dues to global warming, that the water temp was up 1 degree, providing more energy.

Ok plausible.

Now, for all you black swan and Karl Popper fans, lets look for falsification opportunities, lets look for something to TEST.

Well, these guys made the prediction that the next year, there would again be many hurricanes, I think the next year, there were about zero. There prediction was completely wrong.

Now in terms of c02 causing this temperature change, how does one test that? One cannot really. One can htough, look back in history, pre man made co2, and see temperature change, so we know that the others things besides mans excess co2 can accomplish global warming.....

Ok,

1)they cannot even predict weather 10 days in advance. Yet they are going to predict a pattern for the next 20-100 years, AND tell me they know what the driving factor is, man and his co2(throw whatever other man made factors in as well)?

2)The worlds weather has fluctuated back and forth BEFORE man and his co2. Are we out of any reasonable historical range here? Are we even close?

3)The only really testable thing I have seen out of the man made global warming talk is the hurricane prediction, which failed to materialize, due to a confounding factor (I think they cited some wind current change or something). Ok, so they cannot predict weather 10 days ahead, nor predict next years hurricanes........

What can they predict with thier global warming theory? Even if it persists, how can they state its due to the co2, out of all the possible factors?

Is the global warming theory falsifiable, is it science? Or is it a belief system? If its science, its got to be testable. Not just the "science" of the weather channel lady proposing to have meteorologists "disbarred" (whatever the equivalent is) from thier ability to practice if they do not agree with her global warming. Scary stuff. Maybe shoot the apostates next?

If its science, can someone please make a short term prediction from it for me? 1 year, 5 year, 10 year, some sort of prediction.... Like the hurricane number, something "simple", like, there will be a lot of hurricanes this year due to global warming......

I remember watching CNN, they had a little blip about global warming and rising sea levels in 20 years. They followed with a story about this little beachfront trailer park lot in florida, that someone just paid a billion dollars for several acres........ They neglected to tie in the absurdity of paying 1 billion or so for something that is going to be underwater in 20 years though. I mean, not even a mention, btw, these guys are clearly idiots for buying land in florida, that will be underwater 100 years from now.

This is what is just completely rampant in these types of issue. A complete disconnect between the doomsaying, and any sort of real action, even to the point of simply applying the in ones face consequences of florida being under water. Or saying, hey, lets not live in highly inefficient mansions, and instead everyone live in smaller highly energy efficient homes, and lead by example?

I do not see any of that happening, at least from the leaders on the issue.

Peak oil, is much more simplistic than global warming, and one can actually talk about it with some meaning, so please tell me, how is peak oil going to play out? What did Huber say? World war? societal breakdown? Or 6 dollar a gallon gasoline?

What are you doing because of your belief? What action have you taken? Or is it really not a big deal, and shale oil, or whatever will fill the gap until fusion or whatever is economical?
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Post by Valuethinker »

LH wrote:Well, its all interesting stuff.

I do not believe in global warming as being cause by man neccessarily, it is an open question.
The science is the science. Tested and peer reviewed. The observed warming can only be adequately explained by the rise in 6 air pollutants (CO2, methane + 4 other greenhouse gases) plus the known effects of black and white aerosol particles.

I find it hard to believe that out of all the factors involved in weather, that they can nail it down to the increase in CO2 from man that is causing warming. Warming and cooling have been a continual process prior to mans creation of CO2.
1. do you admit then that CO2 increases could cause warming? In which case, the last 150 years has seen the fastest increase in CO2 in geologic history (bar one or two exceptions over 10 million years ago).

2. weather is not climate. Weather is short term, and, like stock market prices, has a degree of inherent unpredictability, due to the chaotic nature of the weather system.

Climate is a long term average, about which we can meaningfully speak.
Simply, the science is dismal.

They cannot predict the weather 10 days in advance. Most recently, after all those hurricanes that one year, they stated it was dues to global warming, that the water temp was up 1 degree, providing more energy.
Incorrect. Weather is not climate.

Some scientists have stated that hurricane frequency appears to have risen, and this may be a consequence of global climate change. Others have said they do not think that hurricane frequency has risen.

What is widely known about hurricanes is that rises in water temperature increase the force of hurricanes. that is an accepted scientific fact. So it is *likely* that the intensity of hurricanes has increased because of warming of the oceans caused by global warming.
Ok plausible.

Now, for all you black swan and Karl Popper fans, lets look for falsification opportunities, lets look for something to TEST.

Well, these guys made the prediction that the next year, there would again be many hurricanes, I think the next year, there were about zero. There prediction was completely wrong.
The predictions about hurricanes are separate from predictions about the long term trend of global average temperature.

Global warming theorists and hurricane scientists would be the first to say we *don't know* what the impact of higher average temperatures will be in terms of local weather in any given location.

You've hardly 'falsified' global warming theory. Global warming theory predicts the world's average temperature will rise steadily with rises in greenhouse gases, and indeed it has.
Now in terms of c02 causing this temperature change, how does one test that? One cannot really. One can htough, look back in history, pre man made co2, and see temperature change, so we know that the others things besides mans excess co2 can accomplish global warming.....

Ok,

1)they cannot even predict weather 10 days in advance. Yet they are going to predict a pattern for the next 20-100 years, AND tell me they know what the driving factor is, man and his co2(throw whatever other man made factors in as well)?
Once again you are eliding climate and weather. We cannot predict weather any more than I can tell you the price of ATT in 10 days time. What we do know is if you increase the solar insolation of the Earth (by blocking the reradiation of infrared radiation) you will get an increase in average temperature.

You can show in a lab that increasing the Co2 and water vapour in a body of gas causes it to absorb infra red radiation.
2)The worlds weather has fluctuated back and forth BEFORE man and his co2. Are we out of any reasonable historical range here? Are we even close?
In terms of the speed and scale of the runup, we are far, far outside of geologic history. With a couple of exceptions, one of which led to the extinction of 90% of the species on this planet (the Great Permian Extinction).

Another major reason the Earth's climate note not weather fluctuates is the Earth's orbit around the Sun is not a perfect circle (Milunkovitch cycles).

3)The only really testable thing I have seen out of the man made global warming talk is the hurricane prediction, which failed to materialize, due to a confounding factor (I think they cited some wind current change or something). Ok, so they cannot predict weather 10 days ahead, nor predict next years hurricanes........
No. The testable prediction was the Earth's average temperature would rise. There is a wealth of evidence of that occurring: temperature, glaciology, oceanography, migration of plants and animals, etc.
What can they predict with thier global warming theory? Even if it persists, how can they state its due to the co2, out of all the possible factors?
An intensive effort by thousands of scientists has gone on in the last 20 years to get the right balance of factors. We are pretty damned close. In 1990, with relatively primitive models, we were able to predict almost exactly the impact of the Pinatubo volcano explosion on world temperatures (a drop of 0.5 degrees centigrade for 18 months).

So we have a pretty good picture of the balance of factors.

If you'd read the IPCC summary you would know that.

http://bostonreview.net/BR32.1/emanuel.html

is a pretty good summary of what we do know, (non technical), by the world's foremost expert on hurricanes.
Is the global warming theory falsifiable, is it science? Or is it a belief system? If its science, its got to be testable. Not just the "science" of the weather channel lady proposing to have meteorologists "disbarred" (whatever the equivalent is) from thier ability to practice if they do not agree with her global warming. Scary stuff. Maybe shoot the apostates next?
We can of course test GW in the lab. And in our computer models. Which is what we have, and do, do.

Your proposal, I think, is to double CO2 levels, and then see what happens and decide if GW theory is correct.

The problem with that is, of course, we have only one planet, and the effects will not be reversible.

So your suggestion is as reckless as it is based on a false premise (that there is no science underlying GW).
If its science, can someone please make a short term prediction from it for me? 1 year, 5 year, 10 year, some sort of prediction.... Like the hurricane number, something "simple", like, there will be a lot of hurricanes this year due to global warming......
I predict that we will break record summer temperature highs in the northern hemisphere. As we have over 10 times in the last 17 years. When? I don't know. But I suspect it will be sooner rather than later.
I remember watching CNN, they had a little blip about global warming and rising sea levels in 20 years. They followed with a story about this little beachfront trailer park lot in florida, that someone just paid a billion dollars for several acres........ They neglected to tie in the absurdity of paying 1 billion or so for something that is going to be underwater in 20 years though. I mean, not even a mention, btw, these guys are clearly idiots for buying land in florida, that will be underwater 100 years from now.
1. it may have been insured. The insurers are taking the risk.

2. people bought land in Poland in 1939. Jews, including Anne Frank's family, fled Germany to Holland, hoping that Holland would be neutral in WWII (as indeed it was in WWI).

I know a guy who bought land in the Falklands in the 1970s, figuring it would be safe from nuclear war. :D
This is what is just completely rampant in these types of issue. A complete disconnect between the doomsaying, and any sort of real action.


This might have much to do with the political influence of people like you who don't think there is a problem?:?

It will be a very big change for our society to give up emitting CO2 (more than the planetary ecosystem and the oceans can absorb, ie about half our current level of emission).

'Something will come up' is not a valid strategy in the face of an ecological crisis. 'Hope is not a plan' .

No honest climate scientist thinks our 'median case' is anything other than a forecast. As I have argued again and again, things could be much, much worse than we think-- which should worry us very greatly.

(if the converse is true and we were too pessimistic, this is much less of a worry. We're a little less rich than we would otherwise have been, but we insured against catastrophe. We have a national defence budget for the same reason: to shield the US (or UK) from eventualities that we hope will never occur, like nuclear war. It's the worst cases that should worry us about global warming, because we have no easy or good ways of dealing with extinctions of 50%+ of world species, collapse of agriculture in large areas, migrations of hundreds of millions of people, wars between states over water supplies, etc.).
Last edited by Valuethinker on Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
Valuethinker
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Post by Valuethinker »

Valuethinker wrote:
we cannot predict weather any more than I can tell you the price of ATT in 10 days time
Actually that is a little unfair to our meteorologists. Statistically, the accuracy of our weather reports 5 days out, now, is as good as the accuracy of our weather reports 1 day out 25 years ago (I don't recall the exact statistic, but it is on that order).

The breakthrough has been in much more powerful computers which allow much more complex modelling.

Weather is inherently chaotic though. We have a good handle on the macro factors, but we cannot predict with certainty on how they will play out.
Valuethinker
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Re: Never

Post by Valuethinker »

dauterman wrote:
Hi,

Let's look at it in terms of the big picture. The Ultimate Recoverable Reserve (URR) is the total amount of oil that can be gotten out of the ground for any area. The URR of the entire planet is estimated at about 2000 to 3000 billion barrels of oil.

We can't know for sure how much is still left until we get it out of the ground. But we can know for a certainty that about 1000 billion barrels of oil have already been produced worldwide. That means we have already gone through about 1/3 to 1/2 of the world's endowment of liquid fossil fuels.

According to the Peak Oil theory, the peak occurs at the midpoint of production. So the world is at Peak or close to Peak, give or take a decade or two.
Huge argument then between the 2 sides over the rate of falloff. ie does total production then start to fall (as we pass the half way point) or does it keep rising? It's broadly assumed that it keeps rising (except by the Peak Oil fraternity).
The world is currently using about 32 billion barrels of oil a year. So if we find a huge amount of oil there - say 200 billion barrels, as much as Saudi Arabia - that would delay Peak Oil a number of years, maybe a decade. But that would not disprove the Peak Oil theory, it would only delay the inevitable.
And the world uses c. 2% more oil each year than it does in the previous year. The US has something like 200 million cars, China has something like 30 million, but China has 4 times the population of the US and the Chinese car market is now the world's 3rd largest I believe (after the US and Japan): about 4m cars/year v. 14m cars/year in the US. (warning: old data).
As other posters have said, we'd need to find as much oil as several Saudi Arabias to make a significant difference. Otherwise, Peak Oil is going to play itself out just like the theory proposed by Hubbert in 1956.
Alberta Tar Sands are on the order of 170-250bn barrels extractible (out of a trillion or so barrels in the ground) *however* it is vastly expensive in terms of equipment, manpower, natural gas and water to do so-- it's a mining operation, not an oil drilling option per se. $50/bl longterm to justify the new investments going in.

Canada is ramping oil sands production from 1m b/d to 3m b/d on an $85bn capex. Some people are talking 5m b/d. It is causing huge inflation and bottlenecks in Alberta *and* to make it work, we are going to need to build that natural gas pipeline down from the Mackenzie Delta. There's also the water problem (northern Alberta is effectively a cold desert).

Venezuela has similar scales of oil sands reserves, with the same issues (plus politics).

Saudi Arabia was about 200 bn barrels, but Saudi oil reserves are the most closely kept secret in the Kingdom. No other country has more than c. 120bn barrels (from memory). All OPEC estimates of oil reserves are dodgy: the countries raised their stated reserves in the mid 80s to earn themselves larger production quotas.

About 70% of US oil consumption now is transport demand. About 50% is private passenger vehicles (ie c. 11m b/d out of 21 m b/d). The rest is home heating and petrochemicals, primarily.

A number of nations have entered 'peak oil decline' in production: United Kingdom, USA, Canada (for conventional oil), Mexico, Russia (so it appears), Kuwait, Qatar. Questions over Saudi Arabia and Iran (and Iraq).

Any alternative technology (Coal-to-Oil, Natural Gas Liquids, Tar Sands, Oil Shale) is vastly expensive and has unpleasant environmental characteristics.
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TravisMorien
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Observations by a former scientist

Post by TravisMorien »

Its interesting how when an issue is politically or religiously controversial so many people without any scientific training or relevant expertise of any sort can have such strong views on the science underlying that issue and be willing to vehemently criticise the scientific consensus among experts in the field.

I wonder how many armchair climatologists and atmospheric chemists, petroleum geologists and evolutionary biologists would be willing to challenge the standard model of particle physics, or offer up their own deeply held personal conviction about why nobody has yet succeeded in creating a room temperature superconductor. Anyone want to offer up their own alternative to quantum mechanics to replace the obviously flawed "theory" which those "dogmatic" scientists have put forward?

I've seen elementary school students lining up to lecture biologists on the "gaps" in evolutionary biology, how come we never see these kids and their parents and pastors lecturing physicists on "gaps" in the Standard Model (such as, for instance, its inability to explain gravity from first principles).

As many of you know, I was a scientist before I got into investing. Having obtained my degree in chemistry, I know that its quite a hard slog to get through all of that. In your first year as a chemistry student you learn that everything you were taught up to that point in high school chemistry and anything you saw on a popular science documentary is grossly oversimplified at best and extremely misleading at worst. While you're learning that, you study mathematics, physics, engineering, computer science and a heap of other stuff... all of it things that you just don't pick up by yourself in high school, the Discovery Channel and during Op Ed pieces on Fox News.

As you get further into the education, in second and third years and then honours and post-graduate studies you learn ever more specialised and complicated things. You meet and learn from people who have studied this for a much longer time than you have and become world class experts in their respective fields. As you interact with these people you begin to appreciate just how much effort these guys have put into their education. Decades of intensive study and research, tremendous intellects, wholly focused effort by bona fide geniuses to become the premier expert in the world on their very narrow subject specialisation.

After meeting and working with and learning from people like this, its hard not to come away immensely impressed with them, awed even. You also become acutely aware of just how ignorant the public is about science.

And then you see on television what some politician or preacher has to say on the issue. And not just on the ethics of the issue, or the economic or moral implications of it... the actual science itself!!

Many of the "controversies" which pundits, politicians and preachers like to rant and rave about simply are not subjects of scientific controversy. They have among scientists a similar status to the Round Earth Theory, the Heliocentric Solar System Theory and the Atomic Theory of Matter. While there is always work going on, and scientists doing their absolute best to overturn old theories by looking for contrary evidence or superior theories, among scientists they are regarded essentially as proven facts, things which are known and supported beyond all reasonable doubt with all of the extensive evidence we have accumulated after years and sometimes centuries of evidence gathering... though even proven facts can be revised if some piece of evidence ever comes along which disproves them.

I'm also amazed by how this happens in the Diehards Forum (or Bogleheads, whatever we call ourselves these days), where we're quite accustomed to talking about "popular" sources of information as "financial pornography" and dismissing it as a bunch of self-serving nonsense, pointing to academic research as an honest source of reliable evidence.

Are the people who are openly hostile to the viewpoints of these scientists just as hostile to academics who are involved in research in financial subjects, or are they selective about which "experts" in which fields they choose to regard as bungling incompetents who can't see the flaws which any elementary school student can see in the "theory"?

Travis
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Re: Observations by a former scientist

Post by Valuethinker »

TravisMorien wrote:Its interesting how when an issue is politically or religiously controversial so many people without any scientific training or relevant expertise of any sort can have such strong views on the science underlying that issue and be willing to vehemently criticise the scientific consensus among experts in the field.


Travis
On Peak Oil there is a small group of rebel geologists who have a real point-- individual oil fields show exactly the pattern of production that they predict. So in aggregate, world oil fields might do the same thing.

Whether they are right or not about total reserves is another matter-- but they are not questioning the basic science of oil or petroleum geology, they are questioning the industry view that there is always enough oil to be discovered-- which is really just an assertion, rather than a statement of scientific fact.

(actually the heterodox science re Peak Oil comes from a group of Russians, who argued that oil and gas do not come from organic origins, and therefore we have an infinite supply. They have a much stronger case on gas, to my mind, than on oil. But certainly no mainstream geologist believes the thesis).

In fact the best answer to Peak Oil comes from economists, rather than geologists per se, who point out that a rise in prices brings in oil supplies that were previously uneconomic.

On global warming I think it is fundamentally so challenging to the notion that we are free agents in the world, able to do what we want to the environment without worrying about it, and also challenging to notion that climate is this highly stable thing, that does not change rapidly, that the desire is to find a reason to deny global warming.

So no amount of 'facts' or 'logic' will persuade them. They'll just find a (more outlandish) theory justifying their view that global warming is not a problem.

I'll confess to having once thought that global warming, whilst possible, was a long way away-- a conceptual problem more than a real one. Events and scientific data of the last few years have convinced me otherwise. I don't know about the situation in North America, but I have seen endless evidence in the world around me of climate change: earlier springs, hotter summers, warmer winters, changes in the plants and animals.

(it was the same observations of changes in wildlife at her country estate in Sandringham, that prompted Her Majesty to ask for a briefing on global warming from our chief meteorologist. HM Queen Elizabeth II does not normally trouble herself with scientific theories, I can assure you! We'll never know what Sir John Houghton said to her, (he is our representative to the IPCC), but it has been stated that he did brief her on the subject).

I don't have any more chemistry or physics than American Grade 12. But I dug out the textbooks, and read the scientific reports, and realised that this was a detailed, complex science into which a lot of thinking and work had gone. Any possible objection I could come up with had already been answered.

www.realclimate.org is a goldmine of useful info
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/ar ... tart-here/


What frightened me were the Donald Rumsfeld 'unknown unknowns'. Even the scientists admit that things could be a lot worse than we forecast, and we just don't know. By the time we do know, it may be too late to do anything about it.
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LH
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Post by LH »

Valuethinker wrote:
LH wrote:Well, its all interesting stuff.

I do not believe in global warming as being cause by man neccessarily, it is an open question.
The science is the science. Tested and peer reviewed. The observed warming can only be adequately explained by the rise in 6 air pollutants (CO2, methane + 4 other greenhouse gases) plus the known effects of black and white aerosol particles.
So, the warming can only be explained by 6 air pollutants(co2,methane, + 4other greenhouse gases) plus black white aerosol particles.

8 factors(7 factors if the black white aerosol simplify to just just one).

So its only 8 factors that predict the climate? Interesting.

Completely ignores the Suns energy output though, which I guess is the current fashion in the scientific consensus right? Current consensus opinion again right? I would posit, the information on the suns energy output long term variations is sorely lacking/absent.

To the other poster about non expert commentating on experts consensus? Its rather easy to do, consensus opinion depends on the data available. Its just basic scientific principles. Predicting climate change is an enormous undertaking. There are so many factors involved, the science behing it is rather poor, the ability to predict is poor. Just on the face of it, they do not know that much. Yeah, it is potentially scary. So was global cooling. So was the carrying capacity of the earth and worldwide starvation when the population reached what, 1 billion?

The logical holes in the issues are so huge, the political overhang so clear, that it is childs play to state the "consensus" is not adequetely backed by science. Ergo the need to resort to consensus. The basic scientific method is sorely lacking.

Also back to weather versus climate, Ok make some predictions of climate then? Lets try to falsify the theory? If its only 8 variables, and somehow the long term climate, is easier to predict than the short term weather(interesting concept that in a real world multivariate system) then please run out the data points, average temperature in say 5 year increments? Or 10 years, or something? Run out the resultant sea level rise in 5 year increments?

Lets do science.

Climatologists record of consensus opinion, I think we can all agree, is rather poor of late? We just went from global cooling consensus, to global warming consensus, in a meaningless amount of time relative to the subject matter.

Ah, but now we have it right now consensus wise? We are so much smarter now, and so much wiser, our science is so much more advanced?

Lets see, of the 4 factors actually listed out (ignoring the sun as is the fashion) methane was one. Lets take just a cursory look at the current status of methane scientific data recently:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4604332.stm

Interesting. When I first read that a while ago, I went and looked up all the nice scientific piecharts of where methane comes from, all will have to be seriously redone. So methane, one of the main factors, we do not even know where a large part of it has been coming from, mistakingly attributing it to other factors in the piechart. So just the basic data, is still in flux.

Climate prediction seems to be an exciting field, with lots of new discorveries yet to be made. Seems to be a field in flux, going from global cooling to global warming long term predictions, in relatively short order. Seems to be a field where making predictions, short term weather, long term climate, is going to be real tough.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... rming.html

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/p ... 21009.html
(pluto, due to lack of data, is not really germane, ie, I do not want to debate the pluto global warming issue please : ), I just found it amusing)

Global warming/cooling has simply been going on for a long long time. Can man made factors be contributing to global warming? Sure. Could they be the determining cause? Possibly. But looking at the science, it appears pretty dismal. The consensus seems hugely political. The people who recently discovered the methane coming from the rainforests for example, felt the need to say that they hated to bring it up, fearing backlash.

I will state that the science behind the CO2 increase appears to be rock solid. Beautiful stuff and kudos to the scientists involved.

Then one gets to causastion of that CO2 factor to climate change. Then one runs into serious problems scientifically, and also into a LOT of politics, which is a bad combination for the advancement of science.

So far, historically, we are simply in a period of normal variation of global climate.

I will state that no amount of psuedoscience, no amount of politics, no amount of ad hominen technigues, no amount of "it may already be too late" type of talk will dissuade people from carrying on the scientific debate. I can just copy all that kind of talk from previous possible world wide disaster scientific issues throughout our history, and there have been many. This is a matter of science, and its no where near a done deal that mans CO2 has caused the increase in temperature this period......

This is simplistic stuff. Look at it from another point of view.

What caused the other increases and decreases in climate BEFORE man, please tell me that? Give me the current scientific explanation, in hindsight(always easier than future predictions) of why the climate varied before mans CO2? Then show me how those same factors are not accounting for the current normal variation in climate?

I posit that the current science cannot do either.
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Post by TravisMorien »

LH wrote:
Valuethinker wrote: The science is the science. Tested and peer reviewed. The observed warming can only be adequately explained by the rise in 6 air pollutants (CO2, methane + 4 other greenhouse gases) plus the known effects of black and white aerosol particles.
So, the warming can only be explained by 6 air pollutants(co2,methane, + 4other greenhouse gases) plus black white aerosol particles.

8 factors(7 factors if the black white aerosol simplify to just just one).

So its only 8 factors that predict the climate? Interesting.
No, that's not what what anyone said. Modelling and research which climate researchers have been doing shows that these factors explain the amount of warming over and above natural factors. Only by adding those natural factors (and there are heaps of them) with the man made ones do you get a reasonably complete picture of the whole.

Travis
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Post by Valuethinker »

LH wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:
LH wrote:Well, its all interesting stuff.

I do not believe in global warming as being cause by man neccessarily, it is an open question.
The science is the science. Tested and peer reviewed. The observed warming can only be adequately explained by the rise in 6 air pollutants (CO2, methane + 4 other greenhouse gases) plus the known effects of black and white aerosol particles.
So, the warming can only be explained by 6 air pollutants(co2,methane, + 4other greenhouse gases) plus black white aerosol particles.

8 factors(7 factors if the black white aerosol simplify to just just one).

So its only 8 factors that predict the climate? Interesting.
As Travis points out, you are misrepresenting what I said.

What I said was we can explain the observed warming to date, only by reference to human-related factors.


Completely ignores the Suns energy output though, which I guess is the current fashion in the scientific consensus right?
Wrong. As you would know, had you bothered to research the question, there has been a lot of discussion of the role of the Sun in observed warming.

The answer is, for the period for which we have data, there is no observed tendency in the Sun to be brighter, or cooler.

Therefore it cannot be causing the observed warming (there is actually a probability calculation in there, which might attribute less than 20% of the observed warming to solar flux).
Current consensus opinion again right? I would posit, the information on the suns energy output long term variations is sorely lacking/absent.
There is direct data for the period for which we have observed warming. Before that, we have proxies.
To the other poster about non expert commentating on experts consensus? Its rather easy to do, consensus opinion depends on the data available. Its just basic scientific principles. Predicting climate change is an enormous undertaking. There are so many factors involved, the science behing it is rather poor, the ability to predict is poor.
Any climate scientist worth his or her salt will admit that the models may be underpredicting what will occur (with a greater likelihood than that they are overpredicting). Things could be a lot worse that our median forecast.

Uncertainty should make us more cautious in our approach to global warming, not more keen to do nothing.
Just on the face of it, they do not know that much. Yeah, it is potentially scary. So was global cooling. So was the carrying capacity of the earth and worldwide starvation when the population reached what, 1 billion?
Irrelevant. There will be 9-10 billion of us by 2050. In a world at least 2 degrees warmer.

We have to prepare *now* for that likely world (or an even hotter one). And do what we can to forestall it.
The logical holes in the issues are so huge, the political overhang so clear, that it is childs play to state the "consensus" is not adequetely backed by science.
You will not find a reputable climate scientist, nor a peer reviewed scientific article, that disproves anthropogenic global warming. Most (90% or so) will support it.
Ergo the need to resort to consensus. The basic scientific method is sorely lacking.
False. The scientific method has been tested to destruction on this one.

other than your proposal of 'light the blue touch paper, and let her rip' ie double the atmospheric CO2, and see what happens.
Also back to weather versus climate, Ok make some predictions of climate then? Lets try to falsify the theory?
You don't really understand Karl Popper. I seems you have read one book by Taleb and you think you understand his philosophy?
If its only 8 variables, and somehow the long term climate, is easier to predict than the short term weather(interesting concept that in a real world multivariate system)
You don't understand chaos as a concept if you would write that.
then please run out the data points, average temperature in say 5 year increments? Or 10 years, or something? Run out the resultant sea level rise in 5 year increments?
Which James Hansen did in 1988. And you know what? He was right, within reasonable accuracy, for his forecast of world temperatures to 2007.

So right that his leading critic deleted that forecast, in criticising his forecasts.
Lets do science.

Climatologists record of consensus opinion, I think we can all agree, is rather poor of late? We just went from global cooling consensus, to global warming consensus, in a meaningless amount of time relative to the subject matter.
The 'global cooling consensus' is a canard. An outright lie, in fact, if you check.

http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/ ... 1970s.html

What happened is a couple of people wrote speculative papers in the 70s. The popular press picked up on it because we were having cold winters. ('we' being North America-- the experience was different in other parts of the world. Whereas the warming we have now is almost universal). The majority of climate scientists never endorsed the thesis.
Ah, but now we have it right now consensus wise? We are so much smarter now, and so much wiser, our science is so much more advanced?
Like most fields of science, climate science has advanced hugely since the 1970s. We have far better data, more data collection points, more satellites, and better computers (but several thousand fold).
Lets see, of the 4 factors actually listed out (ignoring the sun as is the fashion) methane was one. Lets take just a cursory look at the current status of methane scientific data recently:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4604332.stm

Interesting. When I first read that a while ago, I went and looked up all the nice scientific piecharts of where methane comes from, all will have to be seriously redone. So methane, one of the main factors, we do not even know where a large part of it has been coming from, mistakingly attributing it to other factors in the piechart. So just the basic data, is still in flux.
If this is the 'plants create methane' case, then other experimenters haven't been able to duplicate their results. Again, if you would read what the original researchers wrote, they note that the effect would be small vis a vis the CO2 reduction that plants cause.
Climate prediction seems to be an exciting field, with lots of new discorveries yet to be made. Seems to be a field in flux, going from global cooling to global warming long term predictions, in relatively short order.
Again, you are misrepresenting the truth there. The world climate community has been worrying about global warming since the late 19th century (as an abstract concept). It's only been since the late 1950s that we managed to track atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and the late 1970s that we've had the satellite data.

There was no 'switch' from cooling to warming.
Seems to be a field where making predictions, short term weather, long term climate, is going to be real tough.
Climate is not meteorology. Weather forecasting has improved dramatically since the 1970s-- better models, better data. But we'll never be able to predict weather perfectly: you'd need to model every little bit of air and ground.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... rming.html

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/p ... 21009.html
(pluto, due to lack of data, is not really germane, ie, I do not want to debate the pluto global warming issue please : ), I just found it amusing)
Here, you are using another rhetorical tactic-- irrelevant information. Attempting to link Mars' climate, and Pluto's, to the Earth's. Lindzen tries this all the time. It's bogus. We know a tiny amount about either world compared to our own, and the atmospheric dynamics of both are totally different.

I might note that Venus remains very hot :)
Global warming/cooling has simply been going on for a long long time. Can man made factors be contributing to global warming? Sure. Could they be the determining cause? Possibly. But looking at the science, it appears pretty dismal.
You've shown, again and again, that you are not familiar with the published reports and you cherry pick the science you want to read.

Glad you admit humans might be causing global warming.

In the geologic record that we have available to us, there has never been a rise in CO2 of the speed and size that we have triggered off.

http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/ ... leads.html

You have to change the laws of physics and chemistry for a rise in CO2 in the atmosphere *not* to cause a rise in world temperatures.


The consensus seems hugely political.
In part because scientists have been attacked on political grounds. In addition, while the science itself is not political, the implications are political. (well less so in Europe, where the question is now what to do about it? See also Newt Gingrich).
The people who recently discovered the methane coming from the rainforests for example, felt the need to say that they hated to bring it up, fearing backlash.
Hmmm... rather like the political attacks on climate scientists who say we must do something?
I will state that the science behind the CO2 increase appears to be rock solid. Beautiful stuff and kudos to the scientists involved.
Nice to know you think that :)
Then one gets to causastion of that CO2 factor to climate change. Then one runs into serious problems scientifically,
You have yet to name one 'serious problem scientifically' with the thesis.
and also into a LOT of politics, which is a bad combination for the advancement of science.
Particularly the part where leading climate scientists are attacked as 'anti American way of life'.
So far, historically, we are simply in a period of normal variation of global climate.
Welcome to the 1990s, mate. The scientific data has broken way out of the explicable rise in climate temperature.

Pinatubo was key. We now know, empirically, what a release of SO2 does to the atmospheric temperature. Map that back, and we can see the cooling effect of post war industrialisation on the planet (the 1970s cool spell) and the dropping away of that more recently (CO2 lasts hundreds of years in the atmosphere, SO2 a few weeks before forming acid rain), thus giving us a picture of the true underlying trend of global warming.
I will state that no amount of psuedoscience, no amount of politics, no amount of ad hominen technigues, no amount of "it may already be too late" type of talk will dissuade people from carrying on the scientific debate.
You haven't demonstrated this is pseudoscience.

I hope the science goes on. But the existing science is telling us that we have a vanishing window to act. Just as we did with CFCs and the ozone layer: the discovery of the holes in the ozone layer turned a theoretical discussion into an urgent policy matter.

We are at the same point with global warming. The temperature extremes and changes in natural conditions we are seeing are an early warning of far greater things to come, if we do nothing.
I can just copy all that kind of talk from previous possible world wide disaster scientific issues throughout our history, and there have been many.
Argument by false analogy.

Lots of scientific alarms turned out to be true:

- DDT really did kill millions of birds
- CFCs really do destroy the ozone layer
- tobacco really does cause lung cancer
- lead really is bad for people if you put it in gasoline and paint, especially for children
- small particulates really do cause increased death rates in populations exposed to them
- bacteria in water from fecal matter really do cause fatal diseases (deeply controversial at the time: Florence Nightingale tried to stop London building a sewage system)

Many of the 'scientists' and lobby groups closely involved with global warming denialism previously attacked the 'tobacco smoke causes cancer' thesis. We have the records on this, because they were published as part of the 'smoking gun' suits on the tobacco industry.
This is a matter of science, and its no where near a done deal that mans CO2 has caused the increase in temperature this period......
We've exhaustively tried to screen out all the other possible factors (still working on cosmic rays), and come up blank. But our models of radiative forcings work very well in predicting temperature changes.
This is simplistic stuff. Look at it from another point of view.

What caused the other increases and decreases in climate BEFORE man, please tell me that? Give me the current scientific explanation, in hindsight(always easier than future predictions) of why the climate varied before mans CO2? Then show me how those same factors are not accounting for the current normal variation in climate?
This is what I mean about you haven't done your homework. Any ordinary textbook would tell you what we know about climate cycles.

A place to start is Milunkovitch cycles: the peturbation in the Earth's orbit around the Sun, leading to roughly 20,000 years between ice ages.

Another is giant meteor impacts, which our planet is subjected to on a fairly regular irregular basis.

Then there is the natural CO2 cycle, which is linked to the Ice Ages (more ice cover of the surface water, less CO2 absorption).
I posit that the current science cannot do either.


What you posit is we wait around to 2050, watch CO2 double, and see what the consequences are.

I argue that by the time we have done that, it will be too late to do anything if we don't like the consequences.

I also argue that the existing models are potentially massively too conservative in their outcomes. The world could be a *lot* hotter than we think-- because there are embedded positive feedback loops (such as plants losing the ability to sequester CO2, death of rainforest etc.) which once triggered, will make it impossible for us to stop the rise in atmospheric CO2.

I would argue, therefore, that that is a gamble not worth taking. It would be reckless to bet our future, our children's future, and their future unto the generations on the guess that we can afford to do nothing about global warming.

To my mind you only need a 1% chance of a 3 degree Centigrade (7 degree F) rise or more to justify taking immediate and significant action.
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Post by dauterman »

Hi,

I work in a Lab and do some work with probability of outcomes. Let's look at it as follows:

Either Global warming is real or it isn't....
Either the whole world does somthing about it or we don't...

The four possible combinations (and outcomes) are:

1. Global Warming is real & we do something to fix it. Outcome: No Problem

2. Global Warming is false & we don't do anything about it. Outcome: No Problem

3. Global Warming is false & We do something to fix it. Outcome: Lots of wasted resources, but nobody dies.

4. Global Warming is real & we do nothing to fix it. Outcome: Billions of people will die, possible extinction of the human species.

:):):)

Because outcome #4 is so disasterous it has to be avoided at all costs. Even if the risk of Global Warming it very small, less than 1%, it is still worthwhile to waste lots of resources (Outcome #3) rather than run the risk of the horrific outcome #4.
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LH
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Post by LH »

TravisMorien wrote:
LH wrote:
Valuethinker wrote: The science is the science. Tested and peer reviewed. The observed warming can only be adequately explained by the rise in 6 air pollutants (CO2, methane + 4 other greenhouse gases) plus the known effects of black and white aerosol particles.
So, the warming can only be explained by 6 air pollutants(co2,methane, + 4other greenhouse gases) plus black white aerosol particles.

8 factors(7 factors if the black white aerosol simplify to just just one).

So its only 8 factors that predict the climate? Interesting.
No, that's not what what anyone said. Modelling and research which climate researchers have been doing shows that these factors explain the amount of warming over and above natural factors. Only by adding those natural factors (and there are heaps of them) with the man made ones do you get a reasonably complete picture of the whole.

Travis
Well, thats what he just said.

"The observed warming can only be adequately explained by the rise in 6 air pollutants (CO2, methane + 4 other greenhouse gases) plus the known effects of black and white aerosol particles"

He prefaced its with a truisms "science is science" and such, but thats what he said. He used the phrases "can only" pretty exclusionary, and "adequetely explained" and then listed out 8 factors.

Seems a pretty clear cut, definitive statement to me. I guess the science is not the science. I have no clue what he intended to say, but I am not misrepresenting anything.

You can take all the "science is science", every other truism, all the perhaps you should read more, and every sort of ad hominem type attack and skip it. Save your breath please.

The climate debate is wide open. There is a huge lack of data, the task is extraordinarily complex, the science is in its infancy, the predictive ability is non existant over the time frame of a week.

So, I will read all this other stuff, but before you accuse me of "misrepresenting" what was said, and say, no one is saying that, well heck, yeah it was said. That was very specific and very definitely worded statement.

If you guys want to cry foul over that first paragraph, and say its my fault, and I should read more. No point in going forward here.

So its 8 factors plus a heap of other things, and the science is the science. I gotcha.

Now lets put it to the test, what do these models predict? You guys are clearly well read, what are the specific predictions?

"reasonably complete picture of the whole" would that be the same as an "adequate" picture? Hmmm. "No, that's not what what anyone said" Hmmm. Fascinating stuff this climatology and global warming.

Sorry for the repetition, but I find it stunning.
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Post by Valuethinker »

LH wrote:
The climate debate is wide open. There is a huge lack of data, the task is extraordinarily complex, the science is in its infancy, the predictive ability is non existant over the time frame of a week.
No.

The debate is closing rapidly. Paradigms can always be busted, but the dominant paradigm has emerged. Good analogies to continental drift and plate tectonics (there are still people who deny those, btw).

There is a huge amount of data. And more all the time.

Yes the task is complex. We'll make new discoveries

and those discoveries could well be worse news than we expect, rather than better. The difference is that bad news means we have to act even faster than we currently think. And the consequences of good news are not particularly terrible, whereas the consequences of bad news could be truly disastrous.


Again and again you seek to confuse the issue by bringing in our ability to forecast weather over the next week (which, by the way, is pretty good) and making a false analogy to our ability to forecast average temperature over the decades and centuries to come.

http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/ ... roven.html
http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/ ... -week.html


On the latter, we now have a good forecasting record. And if we are overly optimistic, then we have a far worse problem on our hands than if we are too pessimistic.


So, I will read all this other stuff, but before you accuse me of "misrepresenting" what was said, and say, no one is saying that, well heck, yeah it was said. That was very specific and very definitely worded statement.

If you guys want to cry foul over that first paragraph, and say its my fault, and I should read more. No point in going forward here.

So its 8 factors plus a heap of other things, and the science is the science. I gotcha.
'the science is the science' is simply a statement of what the consensus paradigm is: which has never been successfully challenged and is the product of over 100 years of developing data and theory*. It's like the random walk thesis of stock prices: no one has produced a reliable competing paradigm.

We know, as best we can know, the factors that are causing the observed rise in world temperatures.

We also have a very good, lab tested theory of why those factors would cause rises in average temperature (some would cause cooling). The IPCC also gives carefully thought out bounds on which factors we understand well, and which factors we understand less well.

It's (as least) as likely that things are worse than we think, than that they are better. Some factor may have a greater power in raising the world temperature than we realise.

If science says, and it does say, that if we continue on the current course we have a significant probability of causing an environmental and human disaster, then we have to pay attention to that science.

* in the 1890s, the Swedish Nobel Prize in Chemistry winner, Svend Arrhenius, predicted that human emission of CO2 would cause the temperature to rise. He also noted that this was a theoretical curiousity, as humans would emit CO2 so slowly that it would take centuries or longer for this to play out! Score him 1 for his science, but 0 for his economic forecasting :D
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LH
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Post by LH »

dauterman wrote:Hi,

I work in a Lab and do some work with probability of outcomes. Let's look at it as follows:

Either Global warming is real or it isn't....
Either the whole world does somthing about it or we don't...

The four possible combinations (and outcomes) are:

1. Global Warming is real & we do something to fix it. Outcome: No Problem

2. Global Warming is false & we don't do anything about it. Outcome: No Problem

3. Global Warming is false & We do something to fix it. Outcome: Lots of wasted resources, but nobody dies.

4. Global Warming is real & we do nothing to fix it. Outcome: Billions of people will die, possible extinction of the human species.

:):):)

Because outcome #4 is so disasterous it has to be avoided at all costs. Even if the risk of Global Warming it very small, less than 1%, it is still worthwhile to waste lots of resources (Outcome #3) rather than run the risk of the horrific outcome #4.
Ah, I like that approach, very reasonable and open to discussion.

Four has been addressed before with the carrying capacity of the earth problem, once the population got above a certain level(I forget the number) mass starvation would occur, end of the world type stuff. We are now well past that number, but we could have taken drastic measures to forestall it, and kept population low through I dunno, sterilization maybe? It would have been worth it due to the possibility of whatever doomsday scenero was spun at that time though. Also a comet could hit and obliterate the earth, that is a real possibility with extinction risk, so we should immediately dump a billions/trillion dollars into that. whatever it takes? At least that is definitively solvable I would posit, given current knowledge and technology, we could prevent it if we throw enough money at it.

So as of now, two current issues, with mass extinction possibilities. One solvable one maybe solvable?

Lets do the solvable one then. Lets pass a trillion dollar budget to produce a comet/asteroid interceptor system surrounding earth, human survival is at stake. It must be avoided at all cost. : )
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Post by LH »

geesh valuethinker. That website seems silly to me, but wise to you, different strokes. Seems low on science, more like a political primer on how to spread a political opinion and denigrate ones opponents.

I posit this:

Scientific theories are falsifiable. If they are not falsifiable, it is not science.

So, there is this theory of global warming caused by man.

Give me some solid predictions by all these wonderful models then. Just list some for fun, also, tell me who is running them, I have a perfect weather like system they could model too, and predict the future, and make some cash. I bet people would line up to put the money down right?

Basically, there is not much science in climatology predictions, it, like predicting the stock market, is very difficult. Multivariate with multiple unknowns.

I think your bold faced part though hits on the truth, its not science thats driving this, its fear of the consequences, which could be real, just as global cooling could have been real, just as the world wide carrying capacity before starvation could have been real. Just like a large asteroid could obliterate the earth as I type these sentences.
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Post by TravisMorien »

LH wrote:
TravisMorien wrote:
LH wrote:
Valuethinker wrote: The science is the science. Tested and peer reviewed. The observed warming can only be adequately explained by the rise in 6 air pollutants (CO2, methane + 4 other greenhouse gases) plus the known effects of black and white aerosol particles.
So, the warming can only be explained by 6 air pollutants(co2,methane, + 4other greenhouse gases) plus black white aerosol particles.

8 factors(7 factors if the black white aerosol simplify to just just one).

So its only 8 factors that predict the climate? Interesting.
No, that's not what what anyone said. Modelling and research which climate researchers have been doing shows that these factors explain the amount of warming over and above natural factors. Only by adding those natural factors (and there are heaps of them) with the man made ones do you get a reasonably complete picture of the whole.

Travis
Well, thats what he just said.
No, read what he said.

Saying that 8 factors explain the degree of warming is NOT the same as saying 8 factors predict the climate.

Travis
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Post by LH »

Valuethinker wrote:
LH wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:
LH wrote:Well, its all interesting stuff.

I do not believe in global warming as being cause by man neccessarily, it is an open question.
The science is the science. Tested and peer reviewed. The observed warming can only be adequately explained by the rise in 6 air pollutants (CO2, methane + 4 other greenhouse gases) plus the known effects of black and white aerosol particles.
So, the warming can only be explained by 6 air pollutants(co2,methane, + 4other greenhouse gases) plus black white aerosol particles.

8 factors(7 factors if the black white aerosol simplify to just just one).

So its only 8 factors that predict the climate? Interesting.
As Travis points out, you are misrepresenting what I said.

What I said was we can explain the observed warming to date, only by reference to human-related factors.


Completely ignores the Suns energy output though, which I guess is the current fashion in the scientific consensus right?
Wrong. As you would know, had you bothered to research the question, there has been a lot of discussion of the role of the Sun in observed warming.

The answer is, for the period for which we have data, there is no observed tendency in the Sun to be brighter, or cooler.
I am a pretty simple guy Valuethinker, and since you want to bold face references like "had you bothered to research the question" I will simply respond to all this by reposting YOUR statement.

"The science is the science. Tested and peer reviewed. The observed warming can only be adequately explained by the rise in 6 air pollutants (CO2, methane + 4 other greenhouse gases) plus the known effects of black and white aerosol particles."

This is false as written. It makes it look like you have no clue about the sun. It makes it look like you have not bothered to research the question. I was merely being polite in my wording. Maybe I should bold this? A question worth consideration I guess. I would avoid phrases like "can only be adequetely explained" if you do not mean them. There are other things which can explain this.

I submit, again, your statement as written is false.
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Post by Valuethinker »

LH wrote: geesh valuethinker. That website seems silly to me, but wise to you, different strokes. Seems low on science, more like a political primer on how to spread a political opinion and denigrate ones opponents.
www.realclimate.org has the same material. I was trying to give you the less techie-versions of the same thing.

http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Pub_FAQs.pdf

is an excellent guide to the Frequently Asked Questions about climate science.
I posit this:

Scientific theories are falsifiable. If they are not falsifiable, it is not science.
We can't prove quantum mechanics. We can only observe that nothing else fits the data as well.

We can't prove our theories of the Big Bang, or cosmology in general. We can only collect more data and see if it disproves our theory.

So, there is this theory of global warming caused by man.


Give me some solid predictions by all these wonderful models then. Just list some for fun, also, tell me who is running them,
The IPCC (which I am pretty sure you have never read) goes through exhaustive detail on the Global Climate Models, who runs them, what their outputs are, what the range of output is.

Hanson (1988) made good forecasts of the world we would encounter now. So far, we are in line with his central case.
I have a perfect weather like system they could model too, and predict the future, and make some cash. I bet people would line up to put the money down right?
If you track the insurance rates of coastal properties, the market is making a bet.

But it depends on the shape of the bet. Temperatures will rise, but the timing and scope is uncertain. The best we can say is that the median prediction is pretty unpleasant if we do nothing.
Basically, there is not much science in climatology predictions, it, like predicting the stock market, is very difficult. Multivariate with multiple unknowns.
The analogy is false. You keep trying to make climate weather. There is as much science in climatology as there is in any observational science.
I think your bold faced part though hits on the truth, its not science thats driving this, its fear of the consequences,
Once again a false disjuncture: you've mastered every rhetorical trick in the book.

Science *is* driving this. Science is saying a temperature range which will be unpleasant, even at the lower end, and at the higher end, I don't think as a civilisation we can deal with.
which could be real,


just as global cooling could have been real,
Once again reasoning by false analogy. You've already been told why 'global cooling' is different from 'global warming' as a subject for scientific concern.

You could have written 'just as the threat of CFCs to the ozone layer could have been real'.
Which it was. And we did something about it.
just as the world wide carrying capacity before starvation could have been real.
You have just precisely proved my point by arguing in my favour.

Consider:

food production is inadequate => humans do things to improve food production and distribution = > mass starvation is averted

You see? Problem => action to rectify.
ust like a large asteroid could obliterate the earth as I type these sentences.
False analogy, again. We can't (yet) do anything about large asteroids. But we are looking for them-- it's a NASA project. If the threat emerges, and we can do something (and we are, technically, very close to the point where we could) we will spend whatever it takes to avert that catastrophe.

Building a fleet of space boosters to reach the surface of an onrushing asteroid, so that we could divert it (using nuclear bombs, if nothing else) is not beyond our current technology. It would merely be expensive and difficult.

More expensive, and more difficult, it so happens, than doing something about global warming.

You are a classic case of confirmation bias. You will only seek out information that allows you to conclude that global warming is not happening, and that we should not do anything about it if it is.

You're hiding behind the mask of 'scientific scepticism'. But actually, what you are doing is promulgating crank science. There are unknowns in climate science, but they should make us more cautious, not less so.

I've shown you where on the web the science is (another good textbook is John Houghton Global Warming: the Complete Briefing, a good generalist book is Tim Flannery The Weather Makers) and those books would answer the questions you raise re the science. So too would reading the IPCC technical report (in a somewhat denser and more complex way).

http://www.amazon.com/Global-Warming-Co ... 0521528747
(4th edition due shortly)

Weather-Makers-Changing-Climate-Means

I predict you will consider none of those works, nor their arguments.

You've hijacked a thread on Peak Oil to attack the notion of global warming, and I shall endeavour to leave the last word to you, unless I get really too provoked by another rhetorical trick.

[long url edited by tashina]
Last edited by Valuethinker on Tue Jun 19, 2007 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
Valuethinker
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Post by Valuethinker »

LH wrote:
dauterman wrote:Hi,

I work in a Lab and do some work with probability of outcomes. Let's look at it as follows:

Either Global warming is real or it isn't....
Either the whole world does somthing about it or we don't...

The four possible combinations (and outcomes) are:

1. Global Warming is real & we do something to fix it. Outcome: No Problem

2. Global Warming is false & we don't do anything about it. Outcome: No Problem

3. Global Warming is false & We do something to fix it. Outcome: Lots of wasted resources, but nobody dies.

4. Global Warming is real & we do nothing to fix it. Outcome: Billions of people will die, possible extinction of the human species.

:):):)

Because outcome #4 is so disasterous it has to be avoided at all costs. Even if the risk of Global Warming it very small, less than 1%, it is still worthwhile to waste lots of resources (Outcome #3) rather than run the risk of the horrific outcome #4.
Ah, I like that approach, very reasonable and open to discussion.

Four has been addressed before with the carrying capacity of the earth problem, once the population got above a certain level(I forget the number) mass starvation would occur, end of the world type stuff. We are now well past that number, but we could have taken drastic measures to forestall it, and kept population low through I dunno, sterilization maybe?
Welcome to a policy debate.

And what was done was to throw huge resources into the Green Revolution, and to studying and understanding famine (it turns out people don't starve because of an insufficiency of food, they starve because the access to food was cut off in some way).

And not incidentally, the birth rate across most of the planet plummeted-- TFR in India fell from over 5 to around 3 in 30 years, and in China even more dramatically. Again, human action (to be precise, action by women, all the evidence says that in most societies where the birth rate fell, it was a choice made by women).

The problem in the global warming case is we are not, so far, doing enough to minimise the problem. And the consequences of pollutants we emit now will be felt for decades, if not centuries.

It would have been worth it due to the possibility of whatever doomsday scenero was spun at that time though. Also a comet could hit and obliterate the earth, that is a real possibility with extinction risk, so we should immediately dump a billions/trillion dollars into that. whatever it takes? At least that is definitively solvable I would posit, given current knowledge and technology, we could prevent it if we throw enough money at it.
You like making arguments with false logic!

The possibility of a giant asteroid hitting us within the lifetime of this civilisation, let alone the human race on this planet, is believed to be low.

But we are *looking* (NASA Skywatch) and if we find that threat, we will probably try to do something about it.

By contrast, global warming is near as dammit certain, it's simply a debate now about *how much*, and *how much do we spend to stop it*.

You see the difference: a (very low) probability event for which we are remaining alert to the prospect that it might turn out to be a certain event.

vs. a high probability or certain event, directly influenced by our actions now.
So as of now, two current issues, with mass extinction possibilities. One solvable one maybe solvable?
One issue a catastrophic event for which we have no good way of assessing probabilities (but we are trying to get a fix on it).

The other an event (global warming) which our best current science tells us is certain, given our actions to date and our future actions. And the question is how much damage will it cause? and what should we do about it?
Lets do the solvable one then. Lets pass a trillion dollar budget to produce a comet/asteroid interceptor system surrounding earth, human survival is at stake. It must be avoided at all cost. : )
Again you are using a rhetorical trick. Equating the cost/ technical challenges of one problem, with the cost/technical challenges of another, and implying they are of the same probability, or that efforts of the same scale are of necessity implied for both.

The only other threat to the human race on the scale of global warming is the the threat of nuclear war*. But there again, this is entirely at the discretion of human beings whether we choose to hold one, and how much damage we will do if we do so.

Global warming is really a bit like nuclear war. As a civilisation, we can choose to have it, or not. There are big institutional issues in that choice (nuclear wars can start by mistake or be fought for stupid reasons) but it is really down to our politics and our institutions whether we want to fight a nuclear war, or to have global warming.

* arguably a third is a genetic modification of plants and animals that could run out of control. My own view of nuclear war and global warming is that humans are adaptable, so it's more likely that we would survive than not. But the cost could be unimaginable: how do you value Shakespeare? Or 50% of the planet's species? Or the Bangladesh? Or the Impressionists?

Again, if we took *absolutely no* action on global warming, then we could extinct ourselves: the Great Permian Extinction took place at a CO2 concentration of c. 850ppm (maybe as high as 1000ppm) triggering a massive release of hydrogen sulphide from the deep ocean (latest theory, backed up by conditions in the Black Sea). Given that 500ppm CO2, and probably 550ppm CO2, is almost inevitable, that isn't a big zone of comfort, especially as there are embedded positive feedback loops out there (permafrost melt and methane release, etc.).

However the change in climate on the way is highly likely to be so unpleasant that we will probably do something drastic before that occurs.
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orthros
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Post by orthros »

The fallacy of the Four Point argument (which, essentially, is Pascal's Wager) is clearly shown in this:

Replace "global warming" with "abortion"....

rest deleted by admin - sorry folks we have clearly reached the "more likely to cause distress than add anything of value" point here. so I am locking the topic per forum policies.
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Met Income
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Post by Met Income »

dauterman wrote:Hi,

I work in a Lab and do some work with probability of outcomes. Let's look at it as follows:

Either Global warming is real or it isn't....
Either the whole world does somthing about it or we don't...

The four possible combinations (and outcomes) are:

1. Global Warming is real & we do something to fix it. Outcome: No Problem

2. Global Warming is false & we don't do anything about it. Outcome: No Problem

3. Global Warming is false & We do something to fix it. Outcome: Lots of wasted resources, but nobody dies.

4. Global Warming is real & we do nothing to fix it. Outcome: Billions of people will die, possible extinction of the human species.

:):):)

Because outcome #4 is so disasterous it has to be avoided at all costs. Even if the risk of Global Warming it very small, less than 1%, it is still worthwhile to waste lots of resources (Outcome #3) rather than run the risk of the horrific outcome #4.
It's really not all that simple - everything is a matter of degree and probability

If I leave my house, the chances of me dying due to a car accident, etc. (#4 the worst possible scenario) have increased. I don't know if I will or will not die due to leaving my house, but the chance remains. The outcome of #4 is disastrous but it doesn't mean I waste my life staying inside due to fear of dying.
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Post by Alex Frakt »

One more slipped in. I'll leave it, but the thread is locked as of now.
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