Wade Frazier

Global Warming, Peak Oil, and related topics

24 posts in this topic

Hi:

As a brief addendum to the Global Warming debate, a pal in another forum wrote that mentioning Cato Institute’s name was all that I needed to do, and I replied with:

To your Cato Institute, “nuff said,” they are just one of an army like them: the Heritage Foundation, the Heartland Institute, ad infinitum, and Professors Limbaugh and Coulter at the Fox News School of Climate Science cannot get enough of it.

I encountered my first “AstroTurf” organization when I became Dennis’s partner, as they shamelessly promoted nuclear energy. The nuclear establishment literally used a death camp Nazi to promote nuclear energy in the 1950s, to write a children’s book on the wonders of nuclear energy, which also became a Disney show. You can’t make this stuff up.

Unfortunately, the so-called “environmental” organizations can be as deceptive. I studied Elizabeth Whelan’s work, and her chutzpa was astounding, as she was openly on the agribusiness and chemical polluter payroll, attacking anybody who disputed the “all chemicals are great” philosophy that she spouted, while calling their motivation into question, even Ralph Nader’s. But those people excel at chutzpa. When she became bedfellows with Steve Milloy it was surreal, as Whelan’s only “legitimate” claim to fame was taking on smoking, while Milloy was on the tobacco company payroll to discredit the second-hand smoke evidence, even coining the term “Junk Science” to attack it.

They are all heading to a very fitting place when their days on Earth are done.

Best,

Wade

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Hi:

Before I begin my busy day, I want to make a post on what I touched on yesterday, with the Western Antarctica ice sheet, before I get back to Peak Oil. Scientific literacy does not mean blindly accepting the pronouncements of any scientific authority, but means understanding the evidence, the hypotheses, the theories, how the evidence was amassed, and one of the most important aspects of scientific literacy is understanding when the scientific process has been corrupted by vested interests and why. As Bucky Fuller noted, scientists can be rather naïve about that part. It is kind of like believing that the American plutocracy is some kind of democracy (or that we have a free press), and that America’s politicians are anything more than disposable puppets, which Fuller also noted.

It is kind of bizarre that conspiracists call Global Warming a hoax and conspiracy, when its effects are easily noticeable. Not only are they easily noticeable, but the prevailing hypotheses predict them, and the hypotheses are partly formed from studying the hot and cold periods in Earth’s past, when forests or ice were at the poles. It really is not all that hard to understand the basics of climate change, and the recent model that recreated the prior relatively ice-free period on Earth is important to understand. Take away the “girdle” of floating ice, and the ice sheets become much more vulnerable to disintegration. This latest model doubles the maximum sea level rise formerly predicted by the IPCC, which Global Warming “skeptics” decry as an alarmist organization, and conspiracist “skeptics” call the IPCC part of some global conspiracy. Conspiracies don’t work like that, in my experience, and I have some. :) The leading Republican candidates for the American presidency dismiss global warming as a “hoax,” etc., as they echo Professor Limbaugh at the Fox News School of Climate Science. Ted Cruz literally made his Global Warming denial statements at a Koch brothers’ event, who are infamous for funding right-wing think tanks such as The Heritage Foundation and The Heartland Institute, the kind that Brian O’Leary’s former colleague sold his soul to work for. Somehow, the conspiracists give the very obvious manipulations of the Koch brothers and friends a free pass. Those benevolent billionaires.

It can be very educational to read Global Warming denier works. The scientifically illiterate try to dismiss carbon dioxide’s role in warming Earth’s atmosphere, which has zero credibility with anybody who is scientifically literate. I have seen so-called scientists dismiss both the temperature and carbon dioxide data, as they state that it was collected near cities and other “heat islands” or sources of carbon dioxide, such as the Mauna Loa Observatory readings. I have, of course, never seen one of those naysayers ever do any of the work to demonstrate that the Mauna Loa data is faulty, or is not reproduced by other gathering sites around Earth. In fact, when there has been some contamination of the data from the active volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island, the Mauna Loa scientists then adjust out the contamination.

The more scientifically literate deniers seize on regional and oscillating data, as they try to muddy the waters, but local variation is largely meaningless (glaciers are retreating worldwide, not just the glacier that I witnessed receding), and oscillating data is normal. A great deal of effort by climate scientists has been devoted to teasing the signal from the noise. You won’t find Global Warming deniers dealing with that evidence at all, as they launch their empty theories. If you follow their work much, they nearly invariably conclude their efforts by stating the immense economic cost of reducing carbon emissions, and state that with the immense cost of reducing carbon emissions, the climate change data is not robust enough to warrant doing anything, so they finish by stating that business as usual is the best answer for now, and that more study is needed. Exxon could not have said it any better. This kind of “do nothing” response to human-induced environmental change has rich precedence, going back millennia, as ancient civilizations wiped themselves out. The “business as usual” voices could be heard even back then. As George Carlin said, inertia is the most powerful force in the universe. :)

Those Global Warming deniers encourage people to bury their heads in the sand, create a seeming debate where one really does not exist, and do their best, helped out by Fox News and friends (the most vociferous of whom are directly on the payroll of the hydrocarbon lobby), to lull the masses back to sleep. And I am not making up some kind of straw man argument. One of my closest friends from college, who can’t get enough of Fox News and lionized the Bush regime, like many business school graduates, just this past month informed me that there is no evidence of manmade climate change. He has also parroted another Fox News talking point, which is that there is so much oil in the ground that we can never run out of it. So, epic increases in carbon dioxide levels will have no impact on global climate, and there is so much in the ground that we can burn it with abandon, and taking the carbon dioxide PPM to 1,000 is just fine. In fact, there are “scientists” in the pay of the hydrocarbon lobby who don’t deny that our hydrocarbon age is pumping unprecedented amounts carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but they then perform experiments to show how great that is for growing plants faster (a “scientist” in Arizona has done just that), while ignoring the calamitous effects, such as acidifying the oceans, which is already happening. I was even horrified to find a free energy magazine doing that, of all publications, as it went off the deep end after its founder was murdered.

100 million people live within three feet of sea level today, and a six-foot sea level rise will displace 13 million Americans, and that level is about what the latest study states is quite possible in this century. The USA is history’s richest nation, and those 13 million may be able to move without too much travail, but I would not want to live to see it. Poor nations such as Bangladesh will be affected far worse, and as one of Earth’s poorest nations, they won’t really have anywhere to go. More than a billion people live within 80 feet of sea level, but a mere six-foot rise will mean hundreds of millions of refugees. Again, these projections are not being made by wild-eyed conspiracists, but come from the state-of-the-art models, buttressed by data that gets more alarming each year. A ten-foot rise in this century is by no means an outrageous prediction, especially when the recent model doubled the previous one. With epic rises in carbon dioxide, we are in uncharted territory, as far as how quickly the changes could come.

That is just the sea level change. Vast changes to Earth’s arable land will also happen, accompanied by epic droughts and floods, which will precipitate immense crop failures.

But the smart money thinks that humanity will have World War III over the world’s dwindling oil supplies, centered on the Middle East, obviously, before an environmental calamity does us in. Choose your poison.

Of course, the answer to all of those scenarios has been on Earth longer than I have been alive, and has been studiously ignored by all factions, surreally.

Best,

Wade

Edited by Wade Frazier

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Hi:

This will be a post on oil formation. First, a warning: I am not a petroleum geologist. :) But I began studying Peak Oil and oil formation theory back in 2003, and while studying for my big essay, many other pieces fell into place as I studied the history of life on Earth. People have argued that petroleum geologists are either dupes or part of a conspiracy, but I don’t see it. With the rise of other sciences, the story of oil formation only gets more robust.

Those same anoxic events that often signaled mass extinctions formed the oil deposits. Paleologists generally do not work for oil companies. While petroleum geology is a prominent subspecialty of geology, it is not the only one, and other developing sciences and tools have independently validated oil formation hypotheses. I’ll cover some of them.

Plate tectonic theory began development in the 1960s, and Wegener’s hypothesis of moving continents was vindicated, although he did not understand the mechanism. At the beginning of my history of life on Earth chapters, I present world maps, such as here or here. The rise of paleomagnetism studies has provided a great deal of the evidence of continental movements in the eon of complex life, but far from the only evidence. The evidence on the seafloor is easily seen, and plate movements can be measured today, as they happen. Fossil studies have also contributed, as scientists can reconstruct biomes from the fossil and paleomagnetic evidence, combined with radioactive dating techniques and other evidence. The rise in mass spectrometers and their increasing sophistication has allowed scientists to make many inquiries which were not feasible or possible in earlier times. That data has been used in many ways over recent generations, and not just for radioactive dating, but examining isotope ratios to tell when whales began moving into marine environments, for instance. Mass spectrometers have determined that hydrocarbon deposits are all enriched in carbon-12, which is a signature of life. Not only is carbon-12 enrichment a signature of life, with the rise of molecular biology, scientists have been able to determine, step-by-step, how the remains of marine organisms were transformed into oil.

If you review the world maps in my big essay, you can see the births and deaths of the oceans that produced most of Earth’s oil deposits, especially the Tethys. The squeezing of those oceans subducted those ancient anoxic shores and formed the deep oil deposits in today’s Middle East.

Before the rise of plate tectonics, molecular biology, ubiquitous mass spectrometers, and the like, some Stalinist scientists revived the idea that oil was not formed via geological processes working on marine sediments, but was due to some primordial processes in Earth’s mantle. In the West, respected scientist Thomas Gold championed the hypothesis, but with the rise of those sciences and techniques, the abiogenic hypothesis (meaning that life was not involved in oil formation) has fallen by the wayside, and for good reason. Einstein wrote the forward to Hapgood’s pole-shift book, too, before the rise of plate tectonics, and Einstein would be the first today to disavow Hapgood’s pole-shift hypothesis.

With a process called thermal depolymerization, the multi-million-year processes that geologists think made the oil deposits has been shortened to mere hours. For those who refute the idea that geological processes can turn marine sediments into oil (Stalinist scientists, for instance), thermal depolymerization supports a powerful counterargument.

Hypotheses come and go. That is the process of science. Most new hypotheses receive harsh receptions from orthodoxy, which is just partly how science works, and it is often unfair. I know of entire bodies of theory, developed from amazing and “impossible” tools that orthodoxy has ignored for nearly a century, and I know that technologies exist on Earth today that turn the physics textbooks into doorstops. I am intimately familiar with the failings of orthodox science, and when powerful vested interests get involved, mainstream science can be misdirected or come to a screeching halt. I make no bones about that. But those dynamics and techniques work in specific ways on specific targets. With the national security state, it is easy to put the kibosh on UFO information and fools applying for patents for free energy devices, cover-up the murder of the head of state, and the like, but private interests run the show, not the world’s governments. Their “private” methods are more effective than the governmental ones, and making a free energy inventor an offer that he can’t refuse is one of their specialties. But those strategies only work when the phenomena are at the margins of perception, when the targets for neutralization are relatively few, and when the issue is important enough to warrant a huge effort.

The UFO/ET and exotic technology cover-ups are conjoined, and Ed Mitchell’s view of the UFO/ET cover-up is very close to mine. Brian’s life was shortened due to his snooping into the UFO issue, and Brian’s life was probably the epitome of the intersection of the UFO/ET and FE issues.

If you try to peddle high-MPG carburetors, the oil interests will get involved, up to and including the Rockefellers, and even they treat the sitting American president as stooge. We encountered them more than once on our journey, or more accurately, they encountered us. :) But they are not at the top. Arab sheiks also have an interest in foiling FE attempts, but they are not at the top, either, or anywhere near it. The ploys by those at the top are highly sophisticated and subtle and rarely need to get overtly violent.

But none of that seems to have much relationship with oil formation or Peak Oil hypotheses. There are thousands of scientists traipsing across the globe, in various disciplines, gathering data, studying it, and forming their hypotheses. I have yet to hear of a fossil bed being classified, mass spectrometers being outlawed, or scientific papers on those issues being put under the national security kibosh. Of course, armchair conspiracists (or “whistleblowers” with little credibility – Ralph is an example of a credible one) spin wild yarns with almost no evidence, and as Ed Mitchell said about UFOs, a lot of that conspiratorial hyperventilating and the attendant circus is often part of a disinformation effort, to muddy the waters and portray all alternatives to the orthodox view as tin-foil-hat stuff. And the masses oblige them, in their paranoid, tabloid-reading, scientifically illiterate fervor.

To be scientifically literate on oil formation hypotheses does not mean uncritically accepting any of them, but means that the observer is familiar with the evidence, the hypotheses, the state of debate (or lack thereof), and so on. Only when you have some familiarity with the orthodox hypotheses and evidence can you credibly digest the alternative hypotheses, but I have found that almost none of the prominent challengers have any, but they regurgitate lists of talking points provided by dubious sources.

Has anybody noticed that for every mass killing in the USA (which happens with numbing regularity as the American middle class crumbles), that the Internet is filled with “false flag” “analyses” within hours of the events? There is an entire conspiracist cottage industry that floats “false flag” “evidence” for any and all mass killings, often before there are even any suspects. That is not how credible investigations are performed, and I am very familiar with non-credible ones.

To this day, I am contacted regarding the so-called faked Moon Landings, as scientifically illiterate people with minimal familiarity with the evidence regurgitate “evidence” that does not add up to anything. Amongst the scientifically illiterate, those “hypotheses” will never die, just as there is still a Flat Earth Society, and it is not a parody.

The so-called “Climategate” was a great deal of ado about nothing, in which conspiracists and their enablers tried to make a mountain out of a molehill. Anything of real importance on keeping the lid on anything that could be disruptive to the world’s power structure is going to be highly secure, not something that university professors are in on. Trying to portray the “Climategate” emails as some sort of scientific conspiracy only demonstrates the scientific illiteracy and political-economic naïveté of the accusers.

You can still find interested-conflicted academics and scientists who advocate the abiogenic oil hypothesis, as they try to raise money for drilling deeply into Earth’s crust. The only abiogenic hypothesis “success” that I ever heard of was a hole drilled miles deep that yielded 80 barrels or so of oil, which was likely the drilling mud. The EROI of such oil is going to be abysmal, and EROI is coming in future posts. The thought that drilling into Earth’s mantle for oil is going to solve humanity’s energy problems is ridiculous, for a number of reasons.

Best,

Wade

Edited by Wade Frazier

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Hi:

This post will be on Peak Oil. Energy-resource-depletion dynamics are nothing new. Humanity had experienced Peak Megafauna, Peak Wood, and Peak Soils before a desperate England turned to coal. Heck, the Spaniards had Peak People as they raped and plundered the Western Hemisphere, having it nearly alone to themselves for a century.

Oil formation theory is well established and has been used to find the oil deposits that humanity mines and burns with such abandon. The shores of the Tethys Ocean are where the majority of Earth’s oil deposits were created. The vast majority of oil seeps back out, and only fortuitous geological situations make oil then trap it, so that oil companies can later come along and drill it.

When the USA’s first commercial oil well was drilled in 1859, the oil industry was off and running. It was soon taken over by an ingeniously ruthless John D. Rockefeller, who became Earth’s richest human in the process. The Rockefellers’ influence has usually been malign. We ran into them a number of times and they helped wipe us out. But Rockefeller built his empire by controlling refining, not exploration and drilling. When people began drilling East Texas oil a century ago, it was the peak of easy oil. The coveted oil is light and “sweet” which means that sulfur content is low and the oil is easily refined into gasoline (and does not need expensive and energy-intensive coker units, for instance). Also, East Texas oil was relatively close to the surface, and hence, easier to drill and extract. The concept of Energy Return on Energy Invested applies, and is called EROI. That East Texas oil of nearly a century ago had an EROI of more than 100-to-1, meaning that for every unit of energy invested, more than 100 units were extracted for use.

Only about a third of all oil (called conventional oil) is extractable from an oil field. The reason is that the oil just does not sit in a pool, but is impregnated into the rock. Only the first third is easily extractable, and the rest is the field’s dregs. The oil well’s EROI falls to one for that remainder, and there is no longer any point in mining that oil. All of Earth’s easy oil is gone, and the last relatively easy oil of note sits in today’s Middle East, which is the only reason why the USA has had a military presence there ever since the Soviet Union collapsed. No other proffered reason survives the barest scrutiny. Middle East oil is history’s greatest material prize. Oil provides 90% of humanity’s fuel used in transportation. Liquid fuels are highly superior to gaseous (natural gas) or solid (coal) fuels, with its energy density and ease of handling. When the British Navy converted from coal to oil in 1911, the Middle East’s fate was sealed. The West has yet to stop meddling in and invading the region, lying all the way (although even prominent right wingers admit why the USA invaded), and has no plans to leave anytime soon, although the Empire is in steep decline today, as all empires eventually collapse, being as fundamentally evil and unsustainable as they all are/were.

The Peak Oil idea was first proposed by M. King Hubbert, a petroleum geologist who worked for Shell Oil in Texas. Peak Oil refers to the phenomenon in which oilfield production peaks when about half of its recoverable oil is extracted. There is often a brief plateau of production when the peak is reached, and then comes a steady slide to the end, as the oil well’s EROI declines toward one and production ceases. Of course, there is a fledgling industry to suck the dregs out of those abandoned oil fields with new technological tricks, which may increase their ultimate recovery by a little.

There is virtually no debate in scientific circles on these issues:



What made Hubbert famous was that in the 1950s he assessed the state of oilfield discovery and production and predicted that the USA would reach Peak Oil in 1970, which it did. The USA has been mining the dregs of its hydrocarbon deposits ever since. In 1974, during the USA’s first oil crisis, Hubbert also predicted that global oil production would peak in 1995. It was reached in 2006, so he was a little off in his timing, but the idea is unassailable. You can find reporting that world oil production keeps increasing, but that is misleading, as it includes non-conventional oil (AKA “the dregs”), which has a far lower EROI than conventional oil. In 1990, the global EROI for oil and gas was 30, it fell to less than 20 in 2014, and will fall below 10 in the 2020s, which is about the lowest EROI that can run a civilization.

Take the now-ended fracking boom in the USA. Fracking for oil is an environmentally catastrophic dregs-sucking operation with an EROI of about five. The Canadian Tar Sands that fueled another boom that has ended for now has an EROI of about three for producing “oil.” It is an even greater environmentally catastrophic method, which turns the lands into something resembling Mordor. When you see graphs that the USA’s production increased by five million barrels per day from its nadir in 2008, as it has doubled, those are highly misleading statistics for dismissing the Peak Oil argument, for a few reasons.

One reason is the production increase is not an increase in conventional oil, which is what Hubbert was referring to. It is the dregs, called tight oil, which is responsible for that increase, which is why North Dakota became a short-lived boom state in recent years, which has already turned into a bust.

Another reason is that at an EROI of five or less, that five million barrel-per-day increase is misleading. A million barrels should be deducted from that gross production, to come up with net production, as it was burned to extract those five million barrels. As EROI keeps declining as the dregs are increasingly sucked, the net barrels will decline as a proportion, and Peak Oil for conventional oil has already been reached globally.

To be fair to Hubbert, he did not project the doom that today’s Peak Oilers, led by Richard Heinberg, predict. Hubbert thought that once Peak Oil was reached, nuclear energy would supplant oil as civilization’s primary energy source. That has not worked out so well, and is partly responsible for the drums of austerity and doom that Heinberg and friends beat endlessly. Deepwater drilling in the oceans is another high-risk, low-EROI operation, going after those dregs. We are nearing Peak Gas (and may have already reached it), Peak Coal, and even Peak Uranium. After this century, if we do not go to FE or something similar, the only energy resources left of note (wind and solar are way overblown as solutions, which Brian O eventually realized), will be coal, that low-EROI conventional “oil,” and stuff like the tar sands, as we will have a global EROI of four or so, if civilization can even function at those levels. Of course, if we go that route, there will be 600 PPM carbon dioxide in the atmosphere or so, which will rapidly melt the ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, displacing hundreds of millions of people. You don’t want to live long enough to see that show, much less star in it.

All that the fracking and tar sands booms did was put off the grim day of reckoning by a few years. Conventional oil will be completely depleted in this century at current rates of extraction. What Heinberg and friends got right, however, was that the energy crisis begins when Peak Oil is reached and supply and demand curves intersect and prices spike, not when the last barrel of oil is mined. Back in 2003, when I first encountered Heinberg and the Peak Oilers, he called the West’s strategy “Plan War,” in that industrial nations would simply invade and steal the oil from the world’s poor nations that sit on that oil, and today’s genocidal mayhem in the Middle East, led by the USA, is Plan War playing out. We are toying with having World War III over the world’s dwindling oil deposits before environmental calamities such as Global Warming clear Earth of billions of “excess eaters,” in the parlance of those in the milieu. Choose your poison.

Of course, the Fox News School of Oil Exploration and Global Warming denies that any of the above will impact humanity at all, or at least white humanity, with their “school” taught by blowhards such as Rush Limbaugh. They parade well-funded Global Warming deniers on their shows, who sold their souls to the hydrocarbon lobby, and declining EROI is not even a concept to them.

I’ll wrap up these Global Warming and Peak Oil posts soon, and discuss their relevance to scientific literacy and my work.

Best,

Wade

Edited by Wade Frazier

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Hi:

I will wrap up these Global Warming and Peak Oil posts for now. As I often write, becoming scientifically literate on these topics is to not uncritically drink the Kool-Aid of dogma, but to become familiar with the hypotheses, the data, read the scientific papers and books, and develop the ability to assess the state of the issue.

On Global Warming, I won’t belabor it much, as I have already covered it, but there is no debate amongst credible scientists on these issues:



There is no controversy of any significance on those issues, and if you follow the so-called “debate” on Global Warming, it was begun by a bunch of scientists who sold their souls to the hydrocarbon lobby, and the corporate-owned media has obliged the hydrocarbon lobby by giving those whores a platform to air their “views,” to create the appearance of a debate where one does not really exist. If you read the work of the Global Warming “skeptics,” they almost solely focus on short-term oscillations and regional variation, which is irrelevant to the issue. There is far more bluster than substance to their contrary views, and a great deal of dishonesty. Some are just being contrarians, which you can find in all areas of science, but spinning hypotheses is not evidence, much less proof.

I find it bizarre that the conspiracist crowd gives the hydrocarbon lobby a free pass on this issue, when their efforts have been very well documented, as their minions parrot the obvious lie that Global Warming is some kind of hoax. All humans prefer business-as-usual, in their egocentric pursuits, so I guess that it is no surprise that the scientifically illiterate have been so easily seduced by obvious shills for the hydrocarbon lobby. And then they seize on nothing at all, such as with so-called “Climategate,” to further fuel their “skepticism.” I am happy to engage in scientific discussions on these issues, but I rarely find any takers.

On the Peak Oil issue, there is also a series of key issues that credible scientists have no significant disagreement regarding:



Again, on those above issues, there is no significant debate in scientific circles. You will find interest-conflicted contrarians on the fringes once again, but even the mainstream media does not give them much coverage, partly because they were almost all Soviet scientists, and even in Russia today, you will be hard-pressed to find any scientists advocating the abiogenic oil hypothesis.

Again, the scientifically illiterate, looking for an excuse for business-as-usual, seize on fracking or abiogenic petroleum theory (without understanding its rudiments, but they read a clever article once), in order to blithely go about their day. I am not making up some kind of straw man argument, but a close friend, college educated and smart, but who can’t get enough of Fox News, has parroted to me the Fox News line, that there is no such thing as Global Warming, and that there are plenty of hydrocarbons so that we will never run out. It is hard to have one’s head buried in the sand any deeper than that.

When I hear pundits declare that the USA is self-sufficient in energy production (or that Peak Oil is now a discredited theory because of the fracking boom), I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. We are burning up the hydrocarbons a million times as fast as they were made, there is not any more being made on Earth (wait 20 million years or so, and another small batch might be coming), and because we are in a blip of mining the dregs so that we are not importing as much of it as usual (and a temporary dregs-mining glut has depressed prices), that is somehow “self-sufficient,” as if it was sustainable and all is well.

Putting aside the interest-conflicted and often insane denial that comes from certain corners on the above topics, humanity is at quite the crossroads. Global Warming threatens to raise Earth’s sea level by several feet in this century, which will displace several hundred million people, and that is just for starters. Anybody who is not comatose with an IQ over 50 knows that all of the mayhem in the Middle East, which the West has been inflicting for a century, is all about the oil. No other rational withstands the slightest scrutiny, so, of course, the West’s leaders can be counted on to constantly lie about their true motivation. That is what politicians do. The West is currently toying with beginning World War III, if it has not already, by fighting over Middle East hydrocarbons. But maybe we will somehow dodge that bullet and keep it relatively peaceful as we pull the last hydrocarbons from Earth, and somehow Earth stays cool enough (with chemtrails :) ) so that the sea-level rise is only a foot or so, and we get the PPM up to 800 or so in the next century, and somehow, all is well. If you believe that, then there is a bridge that I would like to sell you. :)

Humanity has its toes over the edge of the abyss, and almost nobody knows or cares, as it is business-as-usual, with everybody battling for survival and temporarily sating their addictions. Of course, it does not have to be this way, but only if a tiny fraction of humanity can muster the integrity and sentience. Then, it can be a brand new ballgame, and humanity can become a Type 1 civilization. What will we choose?

Again, scientific literacy does not mean “believing” any of the above, but doing the work to sharpen one’s own tools of discernment, becoming familiar with the data and hypotheses, and being able to discuss these issues in an honest, informed, and intelligent manner. Not many are able or willing to do it, but I seek the few who can.

Best,

Wade

Edited by Wade Frazier

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Hi:

One little addendum to the Global Warming and Peak Oil posts…

Before the asteroid hypothesis was posited for the dinosaurs’ demise, studying mass extinctions was taboo, due to Darwin’s uniformitarian dogma. But that was the spectacular extinction, with such monstrously large animals vanished, and for a century, explaining the dinosaur extinction became something of a scientific parlor game, with a hundred hypotheses proposed. But they were not being proposed by specialists, but by scientists operating far out of their field, as they all lined up to cast their harpoon at Moby-Dick. It was not a very credible way to go about the business.

Specialists and generalists each have their virtues. But generalists who do not understand the findings of specialists can concoct ridiculous hypotheses, while specialists can get lost in the trees and fail to see the forest. Today, interdisciplinary works are dominant, as science tries to get beyond the overspecialized tunnel-vision of its past, which Fuller thought was a deliberate ruling class tactic.

But the open-mindedness of scientists, embracing hypotheses outside of their fields of expertise, has also led to “interesting” situations. Einstein endorsed Hapgood’s Pole Shift hypothesis just before the rise of plate tectonics sent it to the dustbin of history. Einstein gave Velikovsky his ear, but never endorsed his work, nor would he take it seriously today. But Velikovsky did get credit for challenging the uniformitarian dogma of the day. Einstein also gave Reich his ear, and Reich was onto something, in several ways.

Also, in every scientific field are contrarians, who challenge the orthodox position, proposing counter-hypotheses, as many seem to be trying to keep the profession honest and always questioning what it thinks it knows. Being a contrarian can be a noble calling. But they can also be wearying in their dogged commitment to hypothesis that are usually invalid. But contrarians with conflicts of interest are something different, and the Global Warming contrarians have been led from the beginning by scientists who sold their souls to the hydrocarbon interests.

The Heritage Foundation and Heartland Institute are both bankrolled by the Koch brothers and other rich “philanthropists,” and they round up scientific rabble who make statements against the idea of Global Warming and other environmental issues, but there is not a credible climate scientist among them. If they weren’t being funded by such interests, they would seem like quaint dinosaur extinction enthusiasts of a bygone era, but that they are being bankrolled by billionaire “philanthropists” makes the entire enterprise obscene, similar to the “Astroturf” organizations that I encountered.

If you study some of those Global Warming contrarian works, and I have, the authors either work directly for the oil companies, play contrarians in ridiculous ways, making outrageous statements to gain notoriety, and the like. I have yet to encounter one of them who was very credible. And when they seem reasonable, their tactic is to call for more research before anything is done, as curbing carbon emissions would be so “expensive” (the oil companies could not say it any better), as if we can’t see the glaciers melting globally, which the Global Warming models perfectly predict. The only credible explanation is that Earth is warming from humanity’s industrial emissions, especially carbon dioxide.

All that noisy and well-funded “dissent” needs to be given the proper amount of attention, which is almost none at all, other than to see how vested interests can cloud these issues. As with all professions in a world of scarcity, too many are willing to sell their souls, as historians, journalists, and others have. I saw it in spades in law enforcement and medicine. My journey’s primary lesson was that personal integrity is the world’s scarcest commodity, and it is highly evident in the Global Warming “debate” that we see today.

Best,

Wade

Edited by Wade Frazier

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Hi:

Here are a few global warming tidbits that I have recently seen. The Great Barrier Reef is dying, due to Global Warming. There have been plenty of news reports on the scientific paper (1, 2, 3). The methane in the melting Siberian permafrost is having explosive melting, leaving huge craters that looks like bombs hit them. Mount Everest’s glaciers are rapidly melting. It is not hard to find overwhelming evidence of global warming, but humanity has its collective head in the sand, on this and many other issues.

It is not hard to understand why carbon dioxide traps radiation coming from Earth. Molecules of three or more atoms have a complexity that allows them to absorb frequencies that atmospheric oxygen and nitrogen, which comprise 99% of our atmosphere and are diatomic, cannot. There are many cartoons and explanations (1, 2, 3, 4) out there, to explain and visualize it in a way that is easily understood.

The lower energy levels of infrared match the vibrational and rotational energies that can absorb infrared, and to make an electron jump is another order of magnitude. It is also “quantized,” in that only certain movements are allowed, so only certain wavelengths can be absorbed.

Best,

Wade

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Hi:

This post will be on a subject is rearing its head more often, and I don’t know if it has to do with Trump’s election, but I am constantly encountering Global Warming denier writings, far more than I usually see.  A constant with them is getting lost in the trees and failing to see the forest.  The issue is really very simple.

Carbon dioxide and other three-atom-or-more molecules absorb infrared radiation.  When the molecule that absorbed the infrared photon later emits it, the direction of the emission is going to be random, and the net effect is reflecting back to Earth some of the escaping infrared energy, which is going to raise the temperature of the atmosphere and Earth’s surface.  The more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the warmer Earth is going to be, period.  There is all manner of minutia in the temperature record, especially among Global Warming deniers, being bandied about, in an attempt to poke holes in Global Warming data, but it is a useless exercise.  All Global Warming denial that I have seen, at least that was scientifically literate (much of it is not), focused on normal oscillations and regional variation, both of which are red herrings that distract from the primary dynamics, to intentionally get people lost in the trees.

It is undeniable that the so-called greenhouse gases absorb infrared radiation, and the biggest variable in the past ten thousand years has been the human impact on the carbon cycle, and especially digging up and burning all of Earth’s hydrocarbon deposits.  There is really no debate to be had on those issues, but Global Warming deniers focus on noise in the temperature data, when the long-term trend is very clear.  I don’t need to get into the temperature minutia, as I can watch the glaciers melt before my eyes, and the ice is melting globally.  This isn’t rocket science.  

Bizarrely, conspiracists are all in a lather, blaming the Global Warming issue as the result of elite machinations, creating alarm when there should not be any, but the most vociferous Global Warming deniers have long worked for the hydrocarbon interests, so Global Warming deniers are actually taking the side of the corrupt elites, while posturing as opposing them.  Of course, Global Warming denial plays to the human ego, of justifying business as usual.  When agrarian civilizations collapsed, there were also astute people who noted the changes, but they were always voices in the wilderness, drowned out by the egocentric pursuits of the thundering herd of self-interested people pursuing business as usual, even as they stampeded over the cliff.  So, what we are seeing today is typical, and a president-elect (is he the most egocentric president-elect ever?) who attributes Global Warming to some Chinese hoax is merely a sign of the times.

In addition to Global Warming, today, being undeniable, the pattern has also vindicated the models that the deniers love attacking, which were partly based on the fossil and geological evidence.  That was one reason for my big essay, as by the end of it, an astute reader would see how nonsensical Global Warming denial is.  The only variable of note in ancient climate reconstructions has been the carbon dioxide levels (the Sun is very stable in its output), which has been more influential than water vapor, likely related to the fact that water only stays in the atmosphere for a week and global warming and cooling has positive feedbacks, with more water being locked up in ice sheets (ice ages are always arid) or more released during warming episodes, while carbon dioxide lasts for more than a century.  

Methane likely had sporadic influence, but carbon dioxide has always been the big one (and the fluctuations are related to rates of volcanism and carbon burial), and the hothouse and icehouse earths always acted like today’s climate models predict, in that the poles are where the most dramatic changes are.  In hothouse earth conditions, forest grew almost to the poles, and in icehouse earth conditions, the poles were covered in ice, particularly Antarctica, which has floated around the South Pole for entirety of the eon of complex life.  There has almost never been any land at the North Pole.  

This is really a simple issue, and the greatest hostility to evolutionary theory is in the USA’s Bible Belt, and in the USA, Global Warming denial is largely a Red State phenomenon.  

Best,

Wade

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Hi:

In light of the latest from Wikileaks, I’ll repeat that I have expected no privacy since the 1980s, and nobody who interacts with me should expect any, either.  I am approached all the time by people who seek public anonymity, but they are fools if they think that they are anonymous from Godzilla.  He knows.  It is kind of a bizarre paradox.  Nobody who interacts with me has anything to fear from Godzilla because they interacted with me.  They have the most to fear from their social circles, but then they go and proselytize to them, which is when they can get in trouble.  If they were real people, openly interacting with me, but refraining from proselytizing to their social circles, all would be well.  But almost nobody seems to be willing or able to understand that, and is another reason why I know that I seek needles in haystacks.  

On another note, I have been reading up on the Permian extinction lately, in light of a new paper that is being trumpeted by Global Warming deniers.  The papers are coming fast and furiously, which argue that the land and ocean extinctions were more than a million years apart, that the land life was not exterminated at all, that ocean chemistry changes did it, that the Capitanian extinction should join the big five, and so on.  Good stuff, and I’ll add my reading on this to my essay update.  If it turns out that a brief ice age did the damage in the ocean, that is consistent with the previous two big ones, the Ordovician and the Devonian, but I think that it is way too early to make that call.  There have also been warming extinctions, such as the Paleocene-Eocene one.  To seize on one study for political purposes is typical these days.  

Best,

Wade

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