As to Mann's article, your takeaway is very different from mine. You think it's all about hydrates and the miracle of fracking; my take is that Mann's worry is that it will allow us to remain complacent about AGCC for years yet, and may well lead to increased instability in various countries around the world. Same story, different parsing.
Not the same story at all! This piece start with the suggestion that a "little-known energy source" exists and that "fossil fuels may not be finite." The author then proceeds to interweave a bit of history with info on fracking and hydrates while doing little more than brushing aside the negative impact of fracking on water (and completely ignoring the rest of the problems that include surface water and land contamination, emissions from the drilling/fracking process, and effects on human health). Then he does a what-if as if to suggest that we can recover enough methane from hydrates to completely upset the world's geopolitical power.
The 'negative impact from fracking' is still largely speculative. When and if it's proven, it may well be able to be mitigated; certainly it will be regulated more tightly than it is now. As to the waht if, sure. That, along with the worries abotu complacency, was the point of the piece, as I read it. He never said hydrates would work, in fact he put in plenty of caveats.
Natural gas isn't that clean... (Toss a small bone...) But man, o man look at how much of this stuff we have and how fast it's growing and how much money it's creating and... Wait - WHAT?! "...natural resources cannot be used up..." ??!!!
This article is using many of the same tactics used to create any other controversy - peak oilers VS non-peak-oilers, economists VS. geologists, ASPO VS. OPEC...
Oh, nonsense. The argument that extractable natural resources can't be used up is an economic one, and Mann wasn't the person making it, he was providing contrasting views. It is an economically accurate statement, but not how most non-economists look at things. As to the rest, natural gas use is growing owing to its economic advantage, and we are seeing a shift in this country and elsewhere to it. But it's by no means a guaranteed one-way shift that will never be reversed:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 03848.html
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And Mann didn't just 'throw a bone'; here's the complete quote:
"Yet natural gas isn’t that clean; burning it produces carbon dioxide. Researchers view it as a temporary “bridge fuel,” something that can power nations while they make the transition away from oil and coal. But if societies do not take advantage of that bridge to enact anti-carbon policies, says Michael Levi, the director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change at the Council on Foreign Relations, natural gas could be “a bridge from the coal-fired past to the coal-fired future.”
"“Methane hydrate could be a new energy revolution,” Christopher Knittel, a professor of energy economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told me. “It could help the world while we reduce greenhouse gases. Or it could undermine the economic rationale for investing in renewable, carbon-free energy around the world”—just as abundant shale gas from fracking has already begun to undermine it in the United States. “The one path is a boon. The other—I’ve used words like catastrophe.” He paused; I thought I detected a sigh. “I wouldn’t bet on us making the right decisions.”"
He talks about the tar sands (at least he calls them tar...) and describes in situ mining (as if to suggest it's just like regular oil drilling) but ignores the whole 'open pit mine' and 'cutting all the trees' and 'poisoning complete downstream environments' things... He suggests that tar sands dilbit will be conveyed to its "biggest potential markets, in the United States" - that in itself is incorrect - and the truth of it is well documented.
The final destination of the oil will be wherever it makes sense to send it. Whether it stays here or gets shipped overseas will be determined by economics and environmental regs. Correct me if I'm wrong, but AIUI it will be refined here, regardless of where it ultimately ends up.
And those pipeline protesters - not citizens concerned about their land and water - no - they're "vituperative" - bitter and abusive. Seriously? It's bitter and abusive when landowners work to stop corporations from condemning their land without permission in order to build a pipeline? The State Department's process to approve or deny the pipeline is "stalling"?
While a bit over-generalizing, 'vituperative' certainly describes some of the anti-pipeline rhetoric I've read. Trans-Canada undoubtedly came in for its share of vituperation. Over-the-top rhetoric is pretty standard for a segment of the green crowd (I include myself in the crowd, but not the segment). And 'stalling' is exactly what the State Dept. and the administration was doing during the campaign last year. They didn't want to make a decision either way, because they wanted to avoid alienating anyone who might vote for them. I'm in no doubt that they could have made a decision then, but instead they punted until after the election.
Renewables aren't ready for prime time? "Natural gas, both from fracking and in methane hydrate, gives us a way to cut back on carbon emissions while w work toward a more complete solution."
Yup, and excepting mention of hydrates, that's basically what Amory says in "Reinventing Fire". Mann gives the two opposing viewpoints of NG, one purely economic/nat. security, one as a bridge to zero carbon.
If Mann wanted anyone to consider him to be a serious journalist, rather an an opportunist writer profiting from the "greenies VS oilies" debate, then we would have published only his conflict of interest statement and left it at that.
What conflict of interest? He says he dismissed fracking as having any practical value, and as is obvious he and many other people were wrong, so he's reserving judgement on hydrates.
Have a nice holiday weekend, I'm off for some diving tomorrow.