Monday, August 03, 2009

Tell me the old old story, Tell me the old old story, Tell me the old old story, that oil is running out

Such prophecies of doom are nearly as old as the discovery of oil itself. One wonders why people still make such fools of themselves when they must know that it never happens. Thanks to the Donks, most of America's potential oilfields are untapped, for a start

The world is heading for a catastrophic energy crunch that could cripple a global economic recovery because most of the major oil fields in the world have passed their peak production, a leading energy economist has warned.

Higher oil prices brought on by a rapid increase in demand and a stagnation, or even decline, in supply could blow any recovery off course, said Dr Fatih Birol, the chief economist at the respected International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris, which is charged with the task of assessing future energy supplies by OECD countries.

In an interview with The Independent, Dr Birol said that the public and many governments appeared to be oblivious to the fact that the oil on which modern civilisation depends is running out far faster than previously predicted and that global production is likely to peak in about 10 years – at least a decade earlier than most governments had estimated.

But the first detailed assessment of more than 800 oil fields in the world, covering three quarters of global reserves, has found that most of the biggest fields have already peaked and that the rate of decline in oil production is now running at nearly twice the pace as calculated just two years ago. On top of this, there is a problem of chronic under-investment by oil-producing countries, a feature that is set to result in an "oil crunch" within the next five years which will jeopardise any hope of a recovery from the present global economic recession, he said.

In a stark warning to Britain and the other Western powers, Dr Birol said that the market power of the very few oil-producing countries that hold substantial reserves of oil – mostly in the Middle East – would increase rapidly as the oil crisis begins to grip after 2010.... Blah, blah, blah!


Britain's "Green" expendiiture is mostly going into foreign pockets

Clever! But there is nothing clever about the Labour government anyway

The blueprint for Britain’s green revolution was launched this month at a low-carbon bus factory in Surrey. Yet as the government attempts to cut emissions and build a low-carbon energy system, the bus plant is likely to be a rare example of homegrown green manufacturing. Today Britain is almost entirely dependent on foreign multinationals to provide the equipment and expertise needed to decarbonise the country. And despite the government’s grand plans, industry executives say it has failed to remove the barriers that have restricted the growth of new firms.

Vestas is a good example. Last week the Danish firm decided to close Britain’s only large factory that makes parts for wind turbines. Workers staged a sit-in protest against the closure and remain at the plant this weekend. The company said it was moving production to America where the demand for onshore wind power was stronger.

“The whole idea of this huge green British industry is a lot of hype,” said Peter Hunter of NEG Micon UK, which built the plant before it was bought by Vestas.

The government has put wind energy at the centre of its plans to remake Britain’s energy infrastructure. Crucially, though, the bane of the industry — planning — remains unresolved. The average onshore windfarm takes two years to get planning approval, one of Vestas’ biggest complaints. The government’s new Infrastructure Planning Commission, which will decide on big applications, should help speed up offshore wind projects but won’t help onshore developers. The commission can only decide on projects of 50MW or greater; the average onshore project is 30MW. Furthermore, the Tories have opposed the planning commission and have vowed to overhaul it.

Critics say it is little surprise, then, that Britain — endowed with enormous offshore wind-power potential — doesn’t have a single homegrown company to provide for the market. Our continental neighbours Denmark, Germany and Spain, on the other hand, are home to six of the world’s top 10 turbine manufacturers and employ 80,000 people in the wind sector. Britain employs 4,000.

The accountancy firm Ernst & Young recently warned that if Britain didn’t resolve the planning issue it would risk a huge drop in investment, with only £53 billion invested by 2015 compared with the £90 billion projected. As a result, it said, Britain would miss its 2020 renewable-energy targets and create 40,000 fewer green jobs.

In the meantime, Britain remains vulnerable to the whims of foreign manufacturers which will, naturally, set up where they can make the most money with the least hassle. Mark Wilson, of the advisory firm Catalyst Corporate Finance, said: “A reliance on overseas investors is alarming for two reasons. First, there is a risk that our clean energy infrastructure won’t get built if investors turn their attention to more lucrative markets, as Vestas has done, and we will therefore miss our renewables targets. Second, most of the returns would flow out of Britain to overseas firms.” According to Nathan Goode, of accountants Grant Thornton, this is already happening under the UK’s renewables obligation certificate (ROC) scheme, the government’s main subsidy programme to encourage the building of low-carbon energy plants.

In April’s budget, the government ratcheted up the ROCs payable to offshore wind, tidal and biomass developers. Goode said the move has had unintended consequences. “The extra subsidy just pays for price inflation on turbines that are being manufactured abroad,” he said. “The money is actually leaking out of the British economy.”

The price of ROCs is also unpredictable. Under the scheme, utilities must source an annually increasing percentage of their energy from clean sources such as wind. They can either buy ROCs from renewable developers to meet their obligation or pay a fine into a central fund that is distributed to providers of clean energy. Utilyx, an energy consultancy, said the value of ROCs could drop by two-thirds, from £18 per kilowatt hour to as little as £5 over the next three years as more projects come onstream. This would be a huge blow for renewable-energy firms dependent on that income.

A recent report by the Institute for Public Policy Research said the government could replace ROCs with more straightforward subsidy programmes that have proved effective elsewhere — such as Germany’s feed-in tariffs or the Danish system of loan guarantees given to projects that use Danish-made turbines.

“Without some radical changes, the only thing likely to land on British shores is the cable bringing in the power,” said Hunter.


Britain's "Green" policies threaten housing provision

So where are they going to house their rapidly growing population? All those "asylum seekers" have got to be housed somewhere

If Ed Miliband, the energy secretary, is to be believed, by 2016 every new home built in Britain will be carbon neutral. It’s a laudable goal, but even compared with the highly ambitious targets that have become so typical of the march toward Britain’s “green revolution”, it is a tall order. The building industry has issued a fresh warning that the plan poses a greater danger than a few missed targets. Fewer new houses will be built, price rises will make new developments too expensive for aspiring homebuyers, and a recovery of the sector will be hindered.

Britain is one of the worst countries in Europe for energy efficiency. The government’s zero-carbon goal is the most ambitious in the world and it falls on the still-struggling housing industry to lead the way. Not surprisingly, support among property developers is lukewarm. According to a recent survey from Loughborough University’s civil and building engineering department, construction firms would rather pay fines for not meeting the new targets than risk losses on developments for which there may not be a market. “There’s a danger this is going to be a barrier rather than a stimulus for the market,” said Mohamed Osmani, a lecturer at the university who commissioned the study.

The problem, industry argues, is that making new homes energy efficient — kitting them out with gadgets such as rooftop turbines, solar panels and cavity insulation — could add up to £40,000 to the price. How much of that the government will subsidise, and which technologies will work best, is still unclear.

“There are no benchmarks or data and builders have a problem believing in the potential of clean and renewable technology to achieve these goals. If there are not enough financial and technical incentives, they will prefer to absorb financial penalties rather than implement the new standards,” said Osmani.

The industry is also concerned that without an established market for carbon-neutral homes, mortgage providers may baulk at lending against houses that appear to be more expensive than less energy-efficient homes of a similar size.

Britain is trying to do something that has taken others decades to achieve. Casey Cole of Fontenergy, which helps developers create low-carbon energy-generation projects, said: “Denmark’s reaction to the oil crisis in the 1970s was to move away from gas and oil towards community-owned district heating — combined heat and power networks that move the heat from incinerators and power stations. We are starting 20 to 30 years later.”

Builders questioned in the Loughborough survey found the timescale too ambitious. “The study showed they believe these standards could be achieved — but not by 2016. A more realistic date for designers and housebuilders is somewhere around 2021 to 2024,” Osmani said. The slump in the housing market has further complicated the situation.

Nicholas Doyle, project director of Places for People, one of Britain’s largest housing associations, said the upshot could be a bottleneck in the supply of new homes at a time when demand will be climbing back to pre-slump levels. “The challenge is how to pay for this and not have an impact on the number of new starts,” said Doyle. “We cannot afford to slow down the number of new homes built. Housing demand has not gone away. There is still a growing population and limited supply.”

It is also unclear what cocktail of technologies and building techniques will work best. But with 2016 looming, some housebuilders could be forced into commissioning sustainable power-generation projects that pose unknown technical, commercial and legal challenges.

Cole said: “Developers are used to putting in gas fittings and walking away, but things are more complicated when you provide heat or move renewably-generated energy.”

What is certain is that the government will have to play a big role in creating the right financial incentives. “The provision for feed-in tariffs in the energy Bill last year could offer a long-term and reliable source of revenue,” said Doyle. “There’s a role for government in facilitating the delivery of this. We need it to help funders come on board to create these funding mechanisms.”

It is in the government’s interest, after all: fostering a green building industry would help achieve its lofty goal of creating 400,000 jobs in low-carbon sectors. Some fear, however, that the 2016 standards could even make new housing less sustainable overall. The focus on making each housing unit carbon neutral may lead to lower-density developments that use more greenfield space and encourage more car use, said Aurore Julien, at Llewelyn Davies Yeang, an architectural practice.

“The new standards may have contradictory consequences,” she said. “They will be easier to achieve for greenfield developments with low density that have more roof space for solar panels and wind turbines. Are these developments in the interests of sustainability? Maybe the target should be more to do with high in-built energy efficiency.”


Rise of the Natural Climate Cycle Deniers

Those who promote the theory that mankind is responsible for global warming have been working for the past 20 years on a revisionist climate history. A history where climate was always in a harmonious state of balance until mankind came along and upset that balance.

The natural climate cycle deniers have tried their best to eliminate the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age from climate data records by constructing the uncritically acclaimed and infamous “hockey stick” of global temperature variations (or non-variations) over the last one- to two-thousand years.

Before being largely discredited by a National Academies review panel, this ‘poster child’ for global warming was heralded as proof of the static nature of the climate system, and that only humans had the power to alter it.

While the panel was careful to point out that the hockey stick might be correct, they said that the only thing science could say for sure is that it has been warmer lately than anytime in the last 400 years. Since most of those 400 years was during the Little Ice Age, I would say this is a good thing. It’s like saying this summer has been warmer than any period since…last fall.

These deniers claim that the Medieval Warm Period was only a regional phenomenon, restricted to Europe. Same for the Little Ice Age. Yet when a killer heat wave occurred in France in 2003, they hypocritically insisted that this event had global significance, caused by anthropogenic ‘global’ warming.

The strong warming that occurred up until 1940 is similarly a thorn in the side of the natural climate cycle deniers, since atmospheric carbon dioxide increases from fossil fuel burning before 1940 were too meager to have caused it. So, the ‘experts’ are now actively working on reducing the magnitude of that event by readjusting some ship measurements of ocean temperatures from that era.

Yet, they would never dream of readjusting the more recent thermometer record, which clearly has localized urban heat island effects that have not yet been removed (e.g., see here and here). As Dick Lindzen of MIT has pointed out, it is highly improbable that every adjustment the climate revisionists ever make to the data should always just happen to be in the direction of agreeing with the climate models.

Of course, global warming has indeed occurred…just as global cooling has occurred before, too. While the global warming ‘alarmists’ claim we ‘skeptics’ have our heads stuck in the sand about the coming climate catastrophe, they don’t realize their heads are stuck in the sand about natural climate variability. Their repeated referrals to skeptic’s beliefs as “denying global warming” is evidence of either their dishonesty, or their stupidity.

The climate modelers’ predictions of the coming global warming Armageddon is of a theoretical event in the distant future, created by mathematical climate models, and promoted by scientists and politicians who have nothing to lose since it will be decades before they are proved wrong. They profess the utmost confidence in these theoretical predictions, yet close their eyes and ears to the natural rhythms exhibited by nature, both in the living and non-living realms, in the present, and in the previously recorded past.

They readily admit that cycles exist in weather, but can not (or will not) entertain the possibility that cycles might occur in climate, too. Every change the natural cycle deniers see in nature is inevitably traced to some evil deed done by humans. They predictably prognosticate such things as, “If this trend continues, the Earth will be in serious trouble”. To them behavior of nature is simple, static, always in-balance – if not sacred…in a quasi-scientific sort of way, of course.

They can not conceive of nature changing all by itself, even though evidence of that change is all around us. Like the more activist environmentalists, their romantic view of a peaceful, serene natural world ignores the stark reality that most animals on the Earth are perpetually locked in a life-or-death struggle for existence. The balances that form in nature are not harmonious, but unsteady and contentious stalemates — like the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union.

Meanwhile, humans are doing just what the other animals are doing: modifying and consuming their surroundings in order to thrive. The deniers curiously assert that all other forms of life on the planet have the ‘right’ to do this – except humans.

And when the natural cycle deniers demand changes in energy policy, most of them never imagine that they might personally be inconvenienced by those policies. Like Al Gore, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Leonardo DiCaprio, they scornfully look down upon the rest of humanity for using up the natural resources that they want for themselves.

And the few who freely choose to live such a life then want to deny others the freedom to choose, by either regulating or legislating everyone else’s behavior to conform to their own behavior.

The natural climate cycle deniers’ supposedly impartial science is funded by government research dollars that would mostly dry up if the fears of manmade global warming were to evaporate. With contempt they point at the few million dollars that Exxon-Mobil spent years ago to support a few scientists who maintained a healthy skepticism about the science, while the scientific establishment continues to spent tens of billions of your tax dollars.

So, who has the vested financial interest here?

Even the IPCC in its latest (2007) report admits that most of the warming in the last 50 years might be natural in origin — although they consider it very unlikely, with (in their minds) less than 10% probability. So, where is the 10% of the global warming research budget to study that possibility? It doesn’t exist, because — as a few politicians like to remind us — “the science is settled”.

The natural climate cycle deniers claim to own the moral high ground, because they are saving future generations from the ravages of (theoretical) anthropogenic climate change. A couple of them have called for trials and even executions of scientists who happen to remain skeptical of humanity being guilty of causing climate change.

Yet the energy policies they advocate are killing living, breathing poor people around the world, today. Those who are barely surviving in poverty are being pushed over the edge by rising corn prices (because of ethanol production), and decimated economies from increasing regulation and taxation of carbon based fuels in countries governed by self-righteous elites.

But the tide is turning. As the climate system stubbornly refuses to warm as much as 95% of the climate models say it should be warming, the public is turning skeptical as well. Only time will tell whether our future is one of warming, or of cooling. But if the following average of 18 proxies for global temperatures over the last 2,000 years is any indication, it is unlikely that global temperatures will remain constant for very long.


Warmists admit global cooling and acknowledge the role of the sun at last -- and then say that they can predict what the sun will do -- good luck with that!

The Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies is the notorious Jim Hansen's outfit. They have never got a prophecy right yet -- unless you believe their own "fiddled" figures

World temperatures are set to rise much faster than expected as a result of climate change over the next ten years, according to meteorologists. In the last few years the world has experienced a "cooler period" since record high temperatures in summer 1998. This has been used by global warming sceptics as proof that greenhouse gases are not causing a rise in temperatures.

However a new study by Nasa said the warming effect of greenhouse gases has been masked since 1998 because of a downward phase in the cycles of the sun that means there is less incoming sunlight and the El Nino weather pattern causing a cooling period over the Pacific. But from this year solar activity will begin to pick up again and the El Nino phenomenon will cause storms and heatwaves.

The research, to be published in Geophysical Research Letters, was carried out by Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies the US Naval Research Laboratory. It adds to existing data from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that predicted temperatures will rise because of an increase in greenhouse gases trapping heat in the atmosphere. Because greenhouse gases stay in the atmosphere, temperatures are set to increase over the next few years because the world is producing more carbon dioxide.

The new study adds the effect of El Nino, which is entering a new warm phase and of the impact of the solar cycle. Gareth Jones, a climate research scientist at the Met Office, said the effect of global warming is unlikely to be masked by shorter term weather patterns in the future.

He said that 50 per cent of the 10 years after 2011 will be warmer than 1998. After that any year cooler than 1998 will be considered unusual. "The amount of warming we expect from human impacts is so huge that any natural phenomenon in the future is unlikely to counteract it in the long term," he said.


Farmers don't believe global warming

And farmers are great weather watchers. Their livelihoods depend on it

Alan Brown, Roger Chamberlain and Bob Gappmayer have been farming all their lives and said they do not believe global warming is a threat to their careers. “I don’t believe in global warming,” said Brown, a Wasatch County dairy farmer. “I’ve seen the facts, but I don’t see it as a danger. It’s just a natural phenomenon.”

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, carbon dioxide emissions have significantly increased over the past century. The global warming theory assumes man’s activities have contributed to this increase.

Although the farmers say they don’t need to save the earth from global warming, they embrace environmentally sound practices because it will help them save money. “You save money when you do things like use less electricity and always turn off your tractor,” Brown said.

Recently, the Utah Farm Bureau had its midyear conference and hundreds of farmers from all across Utah attended. Tom Tripp, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, spoke to the audience about global warming and its connection to agriculture. He said global warming cannot be proved and it is not a scientific fact.

“Man may effect global warming, but I don’t think humans are the reason for it,” said Gappmayer, a cattle farmer.

Tripp went so far as to say increases in carbon dioxide actually benefit farmers, with which some of the other farmers agreed. “We like more carbon dioxide, because then our crops grow and we have food to eat,” Gappmayer said.

The Utah Farm Bureau explained that carbon dioxide is needed in agriculture to grow plants and crops. “I don’t think people realize where their food comes from or that we benefit from the increases of carbon dioxide,” Gappmayer said. “I’ve worked to take care of Mother Earth all my life and in turn she takes care of me.”

According to the panel, research done over the past eight years indicates there has actually been a global cooling trend. Although certain months brought record-breaking heat waves and droughts, overall, the average weather pattern has been a decrease in global temperature.

“To say global warming is a huge issue is ridiculous,” said Chamberlain, a sheep farmer in Kane County. “The media has created too much hype just for nothing. You never hear the other side of the issue, which makes me not believe in it even more.” Chamberlain said farmers get frustrated with the media and with the government not looking at both sides of the issue of global warming.

“The media is telling us farmers that we need to be afraid of these rapidly changing weather patterns, but I don’t think the weather patterns are any different than when I first started farming over 50 years ago,” Chamberlain said.



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1 comment:

John A said...

"Peak oil" forecast because the established Middle East fields may be running out - pay no attention to anyplace else. Yeah, and I have a copy of a "peak coal" ad predicting coal would run out in less than a decade: it is dated July 1920.

Global temperature models predict continued rise, then for ten (up to thirty is projected by some) years no rise - explained by suddenly putting some of the well-known cyclic natural cause previously (for decades!) ignored. Oh, and temp will increase when these natural causes cycle again. And it is still all the fault of humanity's production of greenhouse gases, not the reversal of those pesky natural things...