Monday, December 11, 2006


An original article by Duggan Flanakin []

In mid-November, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Nairobi, Acting OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo made two astounding - and profound -- statements. Neither was reported by the European or American press, perhaps because they did not grasp the significance of Barkindo's pronouncements.

The first was that, "For developing countries, poverty alleviation, economic development and social progress are the overriding priorities. Climate change is adding more challenges and creating additional vulnerabilities for these countries, although they are not responsible for the current state of our planet."

The second was equally stunning: "Energy is fundamental for economic development and social progress. While the use of all forms of energy is welcome, it is clear that fossil fuels will continue to satisfy the lion's share of the world's growing energy needs for decades to come."

Two months earlier, at a conference in Riyadh, Barkindo had chastised first-world nations for failing to provide promised investment capital, capacity building, and technology transfer that are so desperately needed by developing nations as they pursue economic growth, social progress, and environmental protection.

Barkindo further insisted that "technological options that allow the continued use of fossil fuels in a carbon-constrained world must be actively promoted." Carbon capture and storage (CCS), in conjunction with CO2-enhanced oil recovery, he noted, offers a win-win opportunity by not only storing CO2, but also increasing oil reserves in mature fields.

Simply put, Barkindo was telling the world that oil is both abundant and irreplaceable as the world's leading energy source for the next several decades, so we had better get busy finding ways to make oil a cleaner fuel - without slowing down on development of low-polluting renewable sources of energy.

Barkindo is not alone in his sentiments. Claude Mandil, executive director of the Paris-based International Energy Agency, agreed at Nairobi that fossil fuels have such a grip on the world's energy market that renewables will remain minority sources of power for decades. And a brand-new study from the Rand Corporation indicates that renewables will at best provide 25% of U.S. energy needs by 2025 - and a much smaller percentage of world needs.

Without nitpicking about whether all "renewable" energy is "clean," the question to answer is whether energy from oil and other fossil fuels has to be "dirty." Technology has already brought cleaner vehicles and cleaner fuels to the transportation sector; the FutureGen project (if allowed to go forward) promises truly clean energy from coal. Another new technology of interest is the helium-cooled, inherently safe, pebble bed modular (nuclear) reactor being developed in South Africa.

If America is to retain its position as a world leader, it is imperative that we both solve the technological problems that keep oil from being a clean fuel and transfer that technology to the nations of the developing world. China - and India, too - as they develop will soon surpass the United States in pollution output, and even Africa is eager for economic development. The U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) predicts that world oil demand will grow from 80 million barrels per day in 2003 to 118 million BOPD by 2030, with most of the increase in China, India, and other developing nations that will not likely develop clean fuels technology.

Many U.S. and European policy makers, however, object to investment in fossil fuel technologies because they believe either that fossil fuels are inherently evil (coal in particular has been demonized) or that we are "running out of oil" and thus that our only hope is renewable energy. This is not so.

Historically, worldwide oil consumption to date has totaled about 1.08 trillion barrels, while as of January 1, 2006, proved world oil reserves totaled 1.293 trillion barrels. Moreover, according to the EIA, "Historically, estimates of world oil reserves have generally trended upward." Indeed, the 2006 number is up 15 billion barrels from 2005.

Brand-new research, however, shows that even this number is minuscule. Cambridge Energy Research Associates on November 14 published a report by Pulitzer Prize winning oil historian Daniel Yergin, who says the remaining global oil resource base is at least 3.74 trillion barrels - three times current proved oil reserves. This number, too, may be conservative, given new oil discoveries and new technologies that lower the cost of exploiting known deposits. World coal reserves are even larger.

The reality is that fossil fuels (and uranium, to a lesser extent) hold the best promise for helping the world's poor to escape pestilence, disease, malnutrition, and even political oppression over the next fifty years. Energy is essential for developing transportation networks, operating schools and hospitals, operating manufacturing and service industry facilities, and providing refrigeration and sanitation and other services that will foster improved public health.

Just as true, rich nations will continue needing fossil fuel energy for decades to come. This means that the best hope for reducing pollution is to find technological solutions that will further reduce or mitigate emissions from fossil fuel use and then to transfer those technologies to developing nations as they build their own energy infrastructure.

Finally, the window of opportunity for the West to influence energy policy worldwide is dwindling. If Western nations continue to insist on a renewables-only approach to future energy needs, the developing world will "just say no" and move ahead without either our help or our standards for clean development. We will not find the answers the developing world needs if we fail to realize that we, too, are in the same boat on energy and pollution.


She "forgets" the basic truth that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. An email to Benny Peiser from Dennis Bray below

In The US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Hearing on Climate Change and the Media Dr. Naomi Oreskes made the following statement:

'Since then, scientists around the world have worked assiduously to flesh out the details of this broadly affirmed picture. The purpose of my 2004 study of the scientific literature, published in the peer-reviewed journal Science, was to assess how much disagreement remained in the scientific community about the basic reality of global warming and its human causes. The answer surprised me: not one scientific paper in the random sample disagreed with the consensus position. Scientists, my study showed, are still arguing about the details, but the overall picture is clear. There is a consensus among both the leaders of climate science and the rank and file of active climate researchers.'. See here (PDF)

Of particular note here is the phrase 'not one scientific paper in the random sample disagreed with the consensus position'. I would like to ask anyone more familiar with the study if the sample explicitly states that they do agree with the so called consensus? If one looks at the original paper it states:

'The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories [how many explicitly in the first category is not disclosed] either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view [how many explicitly is not disclosed], 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current [was there a previous?] anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position. [...] Admittedly, authors evaluating impacts, developing methods, or studying paleoclimate might believe that current climate change is natural. However, none of these papers argues that point' . See here

Consensus cannot be claimed by omission. I am sure not many, if any, of the papers in Dr. Oreskes' study disagreed on the existence of Santa Claus either. There we have it, another scientific consensus!

Benny Peiser replies:

Let me repeat that the ISI data set used by Oreskes includes, according to my count, only 13 abstracts (less than 2% of the sample) that explicitly endorse the consensus view. The vast majority of abstracts do not mention anthropogenic climate change. See here. Nevertheless, I think it is quite obvious today that - for numerous reasons - openly sceptical climate researchers have become a very small minority indeed. To claim that they don't exist or no longer publish in peer-reviewed journals is, of course, ridiculous.

Bias in Climate Change Research?

Post lifted from Tim Worstall

No, no, of course there isn't is there? Everyone involved is simply a scientist doing their absolute best to uncover the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Except, unfortunately, this appears not to be the case. Read James Annan.

To give you the background. Annan and his co-author were looking at climate sensitivity. This is, (forgive me if I make this too too simple as I'm not a scientist), essentially, how much should average temperature change if atmospheric CO2 doubles from pre-industrial levels. There have been any number of attempts to work this out for it is an extremely important number. Much of the work of the International Panel on Climate Change depends upon it, of course, as do things like the Stern Review and so on.

Think of it this way: we can extrapolate into the future the amount of CO2 (and other greenhouse gasses) that are being emitted, we can make some guesses about population change, technology change and all the rest, but these only tell us how much CO2 there will be in the atmosphere. The next crucial stage is, OK, well, but what effect will that have?

What Annan et al did was use a completely different method (from memory, using some Bayesian statistics) to revise earlier estimates of what that climate sensitivity was. The range was rather sharply reduced, and most certainly the higher of the previous estimates were ruled out.

That's pretty important news, right?

Just as a note, yes, I know I'm thought of as being something of a climate change denier (which I'm not but let's leave that aside) but this approach was praised by Tim Lambert. Someone a long long way away from being a climate change denier (and with a deep and abiding (ahem) love for people like myself and Iain Murray. Coff coff, again, just in case anyone didn't get that.)

So, we've got new information of importance to the whole climate change debate. Can they get it published? Err, no, there seems to be some resistance to getting this result into the literature. Yes, it's been peer reviewed and Annan's actually posted up the results of such review:

Couldn't he have made that judgment 10 weeks ago, rather than waiting for 3 broadly favourable reviews (even Ref 1 clearly thought it was important and publishable) and then cherry-picking the worst?

Now, something like this, that blogs have already made generally known (well, to that small number of people who read these sorts of blogs), not getting publication as a scientific paper, is that really all that important?

Well, yes:

Meanwhile, people like Stern and the IPCC can only go by what is in the literature, and the Convenient Untruth of high climate sensitivity is very useful for one wing of the political debate. So I'm sure the disinformation will march on apace...

Now remember, this is a climate scientist, telling us that some of the more vibrantly excited over-estimates of climate sensitivity (and thus how much warming for how much CO2) are in fact incorrect and he can't get published. As it's not published in a climate science journal those making policy and the IPCC and so on not only do not have to, they can't, take notice of his findings.

So, is there any bias in the research and science of climate change? You choose. Will of The Stoat with more.


One month after Sir Nicholas Stern published his review of the economics of climate change, his peers have had time to say what they think of his work. And the answer, it seems, is: not a lot. Sir Nicholas, the head of the British government's economic service, concluded that the potential costs of climate change were so large, and the costs of shifting away from fossil fuels so relatively modest, that the world should take urgent action. Those who disagree with that analysis and prescription fall into three main camps.

The first group says that he lacks political realism?a charge made by Robert Samuelson, in the Washington Post, when he called the report "a masterpiece of misleading public relations." Policies that might curb greenhouse gases, Mr Samuelson said, would "require politicians and the public to act in exceptionally `enlightened' (read: `unrealistic') ways." They would have to impose and bear costs that would not deliver returns until after they were dead. This may be true, but it is unfair as a criticism of the Stern review, which took this problem as a starting point.

A second camp has accused the report of selection bias. One eminent climate-change economist, Richard Tol, complains that, "For water, agriculture, health and insurance, the Stern review consistently selects the most pessimistic study in the literature." There is something in this, though Sir Nicholas would claim that he chose his studies according to the robustness of their methodology.

A third line of criticism, made by William Nordhaus, a father of climate-change economics, has emerged as the most forceful. It turns on fairness, and how we place a value today on benefits in the future. When economists do a cost-benefit analysis, they try to place a present-day value on benefits assumed to be enjoyed in the future. To do this they discount the future value by an annual percentage rate, a discount rate, which is typically set at around 3-5%. But such calculations are typically done for benefits expected to come in 20, 30 or, at most, 50 years' time. Climate-change economics requires a time horizon of centuries. A typical discount rate would assign almost no current value to benefits accruing in, say, the 23rd century. So why spend money today on something with no apparent value today?

Sir Nicholas argues that, in this case, we are wrong to use a typical discount rate. How can we say that our great-great-great-grandchildren are worth less than we are worth ourselves? He argues for a discount rate of 0.1%. That places a much higher present-day value on benefits accruing centuries into the future, and thus makes a stronger case for spending money now.

Mr Nordhaus retorts that there are other ways to look at the ethics of inter-generational investment. One option would be to take into account the expected wealth of future generations. Global per capita consumption is increasing by 1.3% a year in real terms. At that rate today's average income per head, of $7,600, would rise to $94,000 by 2200. If climate change were to reduce global income by 13.8% over the same period (a figure derived from Stern), the average income per head would rise to $81,000 rather than $94,000. On that basis, says Mr Nordhaus, it would be fairer to constrain the income of future and richer generations, than to impose additional costs on a poorer generation today.

Mr Nordhaus does not contend that the world should do nothing about greenhouse-gas emissions. But he questions the confidence with which the Stern report concludes that lots of things should be done, and fast. The "central questions" about any policy response to global warming, says Mr Nordhaus, "how much, how fast, and how costly?remain open". As far as he and like-minded critics are concerned, the Stern report has informed the debate about climate change, but has not come anywhere near resolving it.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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