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PersianPaladin

Why Are Climate Scientists Ignoring Peak Oil And Coal?

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Climate scientists often make assumptions about large-scale growth in resource extraction without thoroughly referring to relevant studies in other disciplines. This is partially understandable given that they are not economists or political scientists. Yet I believe it is cause for concern.

http://www.ourfuture...ak-oil-and-coal

A read of the comments section shows a general misunderstanding from climate-science proponents about the structural economic factors that contribute to growth (including the exponential growth in CO2).

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Describe to me in under ten words what is a "Climate Scientist"?

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The Climate Change public relations machine is now obsolete. The attempt to get the public to listen; in a mix of obfuscated and complex science - has failed. End of story.

It is quite clear that the world has hit Peak growth already. This is something that most climate scientists are not really understanding properly. They also seem to misunderstand the fact that it doesn't matter how much oil and coal remains beneath the ground. If it takes MORE energy to get out, than you get from burning - then it's a total waste of time. That applies for remaining coal reserves, oil shale, deep-ocean, tar-sands, etc. And burning these things to "keep warm" or "cook food" is not the sort of usage that has sent this world into crisis. It is the burning of these things for industrial profit, manufacturing, etc that has been the driver.

I had an article published concerning Peak Oil vis a vis climate change, and one commenter wrote the following:-

"It is supremely obvious ANY additional CO2e is not just ill-advised, but supremely dangerous, and this is an obvious conclusion. When we add in the residence time of CO2 being centuries."

It is profound ignorance like that which makes me very irritated. Do they want poor people to starve to death or go cold? Really? Also..maybe they should actually check the figures of the sort of things that overwhelmingly contribute to CO2:-

(In the case of Britain):-

http://www.guardian....arbonfootprints

Now think about what the figures would be if people started growing their own food, burned charcoal or bio-methane to heat and cook their own food, and used only public transport and local materials, etc.

I also get arguments from people saying "well, recent studies on feedback mechanisms mean that we are going to face up to 4C warming from just a 1C rise - and this will happen even if we drastically cut CO2 today". They claim that the feedbacks are all inherently +C in their effects and that there is growing certainty in that +C picture. But there isn't - as this NASA/NOAA study seems to illustrate:-

http://www.scienceda...01208085145.htm

We now have no choice at all - but to change our economic system to one based on a steady-state, non-debt paradigm. We are facing a potential mass-default on the debt in every nation-state up to its heels in toxic derivatives. The collateral on the debt no longer exists in a world where oil has peaked and can no longer meet growing demand. No amount of fossil-fuels remaining on this planet - can replace the current global economic edifice that has been created by oil. Contraction is inevitable, and that threatens very dangerous geopolitical consequences. Oil is liquid hegemonic power. The consequences of global warfare are very great if powers insist on holding onto oil as some form of industrial hegemony.

Climate scientist Kevin Anderson said in Cancun that “the only way to reduce global emissions enough, while allowing the poor nations to continue to grow, is to halt economic growth in the rich world over the next twenty years". If we are past peak growth and if we are at the point of debt-saturation, please explain to me how these nations can keep growing overall in the next 5 years (never mind the next 20)? And then please explain to me what happens when we go to war with China or Russia over energy-reserves in Eurasia?

We have NO CHOICE but to act now. Our economy is going to shrink regardless, we are going to get poorer and poorer, we are going to get bogged down in wars, rationing is coming and potential mass die-offs of people. Look what happens to a global fossil-fuel economy when oil reaches $300 a barrel. It turns off like a light-switch.

The "end of growth" reality is easier to articulate to people than the more complex issue of anthropogenic global warming. This is because we have zero evidence that oil production is going to regain its all-time peak that it acquired in 2006. Even if "abiotic oil" exists (unlikely) - it doesn't mean much for people if they can't have access to it and companies are unable to harness its apparent existence. I've even heard people on the libertarian right-wing who are contemplating preparing for a massive economic collapse and starting to engage in survivalist movements. They just need to realise that community is more important than rugged individualism in a post-peak world.

That's the bottomline.

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Here's another way of looking at Peak everything and awareness. The industrial revolution started in the UK, and many other countries were decades behind in their technological development. Now I'd say that the UK has experienced enormous economic driven changes ever since WW1, and for many decades we have had a greatly over-populated island home to a post-industrial society, living in industrial squalour, but pretty much without any industry worthy of mention. Nothing new has come along other than greedy Thatcherism, which is why we all cut each others' hair and sell insurance to each other. Napoleon Buonaparte was right, the British are a nation of shopkeepers.

Meanwhile, most of the other established industrial countries failed to see what was in store for them too if they simply carried on growing along the same lines, and now they are suffering the same fate at the UK. It seems politicians everywhere have no practical vision of how society could be in, say, 2025 and 2050, and there is therefore no plan, and consequently no appropriate action. The fact is, the entire western world is busy attending to problem after problem, leaving us walking backwards into the future, and the USA is walking fastest. If peak everything really does come to pass, then people in the USA are facing the greatest changes in their lifestyle, and they know that already. Meanwhile, in Europe, people are trusting it will be back to business as usual before long.

It is no good bringing peak everything up for wide public discussion, because the general public isn't interested. I'd say that while climate change might be serious, it is NOT the biggest problem facing Homo sapiens. Economists have for ages made assumptions that do not correspond with reality - unlimited growth - and politicians have gone along with their nonsense. I even heard of one politician who said "so what if we run out of copper? We'll just make some more!" Homo sapiens? Well, maybe not so sapiens after all.

By the way, I liked the mention of a steady-state economy and no debt, but somehow I don't think many people will agree with me. Whenever I mention sustainable living, people tease me about a society of nymphs and shepherds, and dancing round maypoles, and then go on to tell me about their next three-week holiday in Thailand.

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In answer to your question PP, your wrong they don't ignore it. The models run under a number of CO2 scenarios including no growth of CO2 and even a decline of CO2, which is why it takes peak oil etc into account.

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In answer to your question PP, your wrong they don't ignore it. The models run under a number of CO2 scenarios including no growth of CO2 and even a decline of CO2, which is why it takes peak oil etc into account.

Well they haven't ignored the "concept" of Peak Oil, but they (albeit not all of them) HAVE ignored the present dynamics, timing and consequences of peak oil.

I think this book is excellent in how it evaluates the issues of climate change, peak oil, peak debt, food shortages, terrorism, political breakdown, etc in an inter-disciplinary way:-

http://www.plutobook...K=9780745330532

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  • High pressure in the driving seat until at least the end of May

    High pressure continues to dominate our weather until at least early next week, with most staying dry and fine. The warm conditions will spread north, and the highest temperatures will transfer to the west as the high moves east and eventually over Scandinavia. Read the full update here

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    More warmth and little rain in the forecast as May ends

    HIgh pressure is slipping over the UK bringing settled and dry weather. Light winds before it moves away eastwards at the end of the week and the warmth extends northwards. Read the full update here

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