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Monday, June 23, 2008

Why We Should Drill

Mind you, I think US energy policy has to open up on all fronts. We need to expand nuclear power drastically, knock down some of the barriers to wind power, etc. It has come to the point in the US that there are huge barriers to almost any power production developments, and environmental groups or frustrated landowners can use existing statutes to sue and block development for years, thus escalating the cost of projects to the point that they become unworkable.

But nonetheless we do need to open up the coasts to drilling, and probably ANWR also. The reason is that the climate is probably going to inflict heavy damage quite shortly.

While Al Gore is still roaming the halls of academia giving very pricey speeches about the perils of carbon (into which exalted occasions no reporters are admitted), the CO2-disastrous warming IPCC thesis has already been falsified. Instead we now may have another problem entirely - that of a temporary cool-down equvalent to the middle of the last century.

The CO2 signal may have coincided with a temperature rise in the 20th century, but so did the solar signal:

Given that in the past changes in solar irradiance seem to have corresponded with temperature changes:

(Note the drop off that corresponded with the Little Ice Age, and the low starting around 1800 which is known as the Dalton Minimum. See NASA site.)

one would have expected more caution on the part of the carbon bugs. However instead of caution we got stuff like the Mann hockey-stick graph, which removed the temperature changes of the recent past and amplified the current warming. Most recently, they have resorted to the Artic sea-ice changes as proof of warming, even though the Arctic Oscillation is relatively well understood:

Unfortunately, stuff that ridiculous is doomed to raise the ire of other scientists, so the Mann hockey-stick graph turned into a major embarrassment and the Arctic will shortly return to previous states. You can track what is happening there every day. Start with this comparison, then look at the 1998 vs 2008.

Now the patriarchal Sun-God Rah has apparently decided to kick the collective asses of the matriarchal Gaia-worshippers, potentially causing a reprise of the Dalton Minimum. This is a graph from the Wood For Trees site:

The red line (SIDC) is sunspot numbers, which is a proxy for solar flux. Note that it has established a downward trend beginning in SC 23. Note that since it changed direction, there hasn't been any warming trend. The green upward line is the Mauna Loa CO2, which continues its inexorable climb. This is a very strong hint that the observed 20th century warming had more to do with changes in the sun than with changes in atmospheric CO2..

If you go to the Dalton Minimum paper, you'll get a bit more of an explanation and predictions. The bottom line is that we are a northern hemisphere country, and the probability that over the next 20 years we will be needing more powerl for space heating is galloping upwards.

The thing about the scientists who have advanced a larger role for the sun is that they have good past fits in their modeling and they have been making predictions about this for years now, and their predictions are bearing out. Whereas the carbon bugs have been reduced to trying to prove that what happened in the past didn't happen and pretending that what is happening right now isn't happening.

It is, of course, up to you whether you believe the carbon bugs or the rest of the scientific community. However, I will think very badly of you if you believe that the people whose predictions are wrong and who are trying to rewrite history to bolster their argument are credible.

As for the current price of oil, it is not justified. The reason why is that there is potential demand at a lower price, but the fact is that at these contract prices, demand will fall off a cliff. Believing that oil demand at $130 will remain anywhere near constant is even sillier than still being a carbon bug with the current data, which is saying a lot.

For a rather simple explanation of just why the theory of CO2 as a primary climate driver is falsified, see this post at The Reference Frame. The bottom line is that carbon dioxide has a bottom-weighted effect, so even assuming no negative feedback, we've already seen the majority of the shift. You can intuitively understand this by thinking about putting a tinfoil wrapper over a hot pan of food. That will trap heat, but adding another layer of tinfoil will change very little.

And since it is now apparent that the sun has produced at least a substantial portion of the recent warming, it appears that negative feedbacks do exist. Thus the theory that water vapor is going to reinforce CO2 effects, which was never very credible due to the substantial overlap in the absorption spectrum, is now falsified by both history (ice core lags) and experiment (current trends). The last gasp of hope for the IPCC-theory of major catastrophic CO2-induced warming expired when the deeper ocean temps turned downwards. If the heat isn't in the oceans, it isn't anywhere.

There is, btw, a word for a theory which is not falsifiable by evidence, and that word is "cult". You can't even use the word religion to describe such belief systems, because in fact the major religions do have a lot of experiential testing in them as well as faith-based elements, and Judeo-Christian religion rests on a God of history, and is thus not afraid of the test of reality.

The cultists understand the science so darned well that they are currently searching out the hydrogen mines (hat tip Photon Courier June 17th post). This no longer science. It used to be - the original theory is well over a century old - but genuine scientific research has now set limits to CO2's control of climate. That's what scientists do - they form theories, investigate, and verify or falsify those theories. The real climate scientists out there are now trying to figure in the effects of low-level cloud formation, for example, to create models which work.

I think we are facing an electricity crisis which could make the current gasoline situation make trivial by comparison. The culture of protest has made it very difficult to put any major new sources of electrical energy--even wind/solar--in place. See Protesting Solar.
The Vostok ice core lags are particularly alarming. Some unknown physical process is causing temperature shifts double the size of those predicted by the silliest global warmingists, and the data supporting it is utterly solid.

We should be leaving no stone unturned to understand ice ages.
I've been having some fun with the ice cover maps. Interestingly enough, comparing for August 20 rather than June 20 does show much less ice cover for recent years.

My chief complaint about the warming controversies is that there is so much information out there one really doesn't know what to think.
one would have expected more caution on the part of the carbon bugs.

However, this is now a matter of FAITH! FAITH! FAITH! And as Mohammed al-Ghazali wrote 800 years ago (setting Islamic theology on its path) FAITH! has no relationship to reason.

Plus, the rules and axioms of Conspiracy Theory are in effect: Absence of evidence for the conspiracy is PROOF! of The Conspiracy; evidence against the conspiracy is PROOF! of The Conspiracy.

Interesting post, thank you for the time you put into this. But you haven't supported the title very well. We will need more clean energy in the years ahead along with greater conservation efforts. Regardless of peak oil or global warming theories, does air pollution not concern you in metro Atlanta? Furthermore, shouldn't the USA save some untouched oil and natural gas reserves for the future when energy will be more scarce and expensive? Where is the long term national energy policy and how should this fit into it? Thank you for your response in advance.
Anon - particulate pollution may well have more of an effect on climate than carbon.

Nuclear power is clean as you can get. Uranium will be going up, so we need to build breeder reactors too.

If we don't drill for the oil and gas, we'll be stuck using coal, which is a lot worse. Already this year a lot of people will be burning wood to keep warm, because that's what they can afford.

The greenie wackos try to stop wind, nukes, hydroelectric, etc. They are completely anti-energy. See David's link.

Biodiesels are not any cleaner for the most part than petrodiesels, and petrodiesels don't require you to use your cropland up and clear new, or dump more pesticides and insecticides into the groundwater.

We have made huge progress since I was a kid on the environment; nuclear power and drilling for oil and gas are the best way to keep that going.

Not to be cruel, but I would have thought that this was obvious?
"Now the patriarchal Sun-God Rah has apparently decided to kick the collective asses of the matriarchal Gaia-worshippers..."

That was pure genius!
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