GRA
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Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Wed May 22, 2013 12:05 pm

AndyH wrote:
GRA wrote:Those who are interested should be sure to read the comments on Charles Mann's article, especially those of Amory Lovins and Chris Nelder, and Mann's rebuttals:

http://www.theatlantic.com/debates/fossil-fuel" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
From the start, Guy, let's look at the validity of the authors. In this corner, we have a science writer. In this corner we have a physicist that specializes in energy.

Why should I read Mann's piece again? ;)

Especially considering this:
Here I should confess to personal bias. Twelve years ago, a magazine asked me to write an article about energy supplies. While researching, I met petroleum geologists and engineers who told me about a still-experimental technique called hydraulic fracturing. Intrigued, I asked several prominent energy pundits about it. All scoffed at the notion that it would pay off. To be fair, some early fracking research was outlandish; three early trials involved setting off atomic weapons underground (they did produce natural gas, but it was radioactive). I don’t want to embarrass anyone I spoke with. I failed to exercise independent judgment, and did not mention hydraulic fracturing in my article, so I was just as mistaken. But I also don’t want to miss the boat again. Even though plenty of experts discount methane hydrate, I now am more inclined to pay attention to the geologists and engineers who foresee a second, fracking-type revolution with it, a revolution that—unlike the shale-gas rush, mostly a North American phenomenon—will ripple across the globe.
And in the 'rebuttal' article, Mann 'disproves' Lovins comment about German emissions with a...link to Watt's climate denial site?! You've got to be kidding me!

Garbage.
I suggested reading the articles as they present a variety of well-reasoned and argued viewpoints, without any comment re my personal opinions of the validity or lack thereof of any of them or their sources. I would also recommend reading the sources cited by each author. Personally I find one of Mann's cites to be a weak source, just as I find one of Lovins', but prefer to let each person come to their own conclusions.
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Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Wed May 22, 2013 12:30 pm

Come on Guy! Waffle waffle! Reading 'both sides' in order to find some 'fair and balanced'? ;)

How is this article any different from other pro-oil, pro-fracking, pro-nuclear, anti-renewables, anti-ev message that's regular fair for our corporate media?

Look at how our media - even NPR - is allowing themselves to be lead by the nose by an extremely well funded and vocal minority in the latest IRS 'scandal'. Though in the first few days there was a bit of info on the other two thirds of groups that were also held to higher scrutiny when trying to win tax-exempt status, all of that has been steamrolled by all the noise.

We know that EVs are viable, in spite of the anti-ev press. We know that 'conservative groups' weren't the only politically-oriented folks that received fully legal IRS scrutiny. I think we also know that it doesn't matter how many ways anyone finds to recover methane hydrates because we've got a serious carbon problem that is not helped by exploiting yet another fossil fuel supply.
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Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Wed May 22, 2013 12:43 pm

AndyH wrote:Isn't the entire 'more developed west' doing that? Isn't that at least partially why, while the west has been wallowing through the recession, China's had a 10+% growth rate?
Yes, that is why we need to include "embedded emissions" in the calculations.
The pro-oil/pro-nuke press has been bashing any country that pulled away from nuclear power after Fukushima.
I think pulling back from nuclear after Fukushima is a knee jerk reaction that will adversely affect climate change. There is no alternative to nuclear for baseload emission free power.
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Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Wed May 22, 2013 12:52 pm

AndyH wrote:Come on Guy! Waffle waffle! Reading 'both sides' in order to find some 'fair and balanced'? ;)
Of course. I try and read _all_ sides of any subject I'm trying to learn about and make conclusions about. If I'm only going to read viewpoints that I already agree with, why bother reading them at all? It's extremely rare for one side of any complex issue to have a monopoly on good arguments or ideas, and the all-too-common attitude that every one that doesn't completely agree with me must be an idiot and/or has some evil/corrupt motivation has led to the political polarization and dysfunction we now face. Reasonable people should be able to recognize that others may not see the world through the same set of filters that they do, and thus may reach different conclusions even though they are just as well-meaning.

I choose not to automatically demonize people I disagree with, although I may ultimately decide some of them deserve it. I will evaluate each source for its likely bias, but that doesn't disqualify it from consideration, it just determines how much weight I put on it. And I will also sometimes argue an opposing viewpoint, because it forces me to examine my own arguments for flaws or weaknesses. It may even cause me to change my mind.

As I've said before, if someone hopes to convince me they need to do so with the strength of their argument, rather than the passion with which they make it. I can be convinced by facts and persuasive reasoning, but not by rhetoric.
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Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Wed May 22, 2013 6:04 pm

I completely understand your point about suspending judgement until after examining the message. Yes, the truth is the truth even if one hears it from a liar. ;) But when a liar writes something, it's not automagically transformed into truth...

I think your somewhat condescending words are looking at the big end of the telescope. Here's why: When we go to a company website, we expect to read sales copy. When we read a scientific paper, we expect to read a past-tense, third person account of an experiment conducted. And when we read the press, we'd like to be reading unbiased facts about a topic - and due to the old 'fairness doctrine' we also expect to hear both sides of the 'he said/she said' topic. Yes, sales copy is still sales copy, but it's expanding into other areas. Not all scientific papers are simple and honest because some of the authors have sold their souls to write more sales copy. And the press, because of their fairness doctrine, is also being manipulated by some authors - all too often the 'truth' is NOT in between both sides! And some press outlets are pressing some topics and/or not pressing others because of their corporate owners and/or advertisers.

We simply cannot blindly read articles in the press any longer and honestly expect to be getting accurate information. Sometimes 'discernment' means dumping articles in the garbage before wasting brain cells or blood pressure medication. I don't watch 'fox news' for the same reason. That's not 'demonizing' people with which one disagrees, that's using good judgment on who one lets in their front door.

This article is little more than a "those hydrates are the new fracking and it's gonna be GOOD!" puff piece by an author with an acknowledged bias! That's not a legit side of a debate - that's propaganda that's worth almost as much as a former astronaut writing in defense of CO2...
Last edited by AndyH on Wed May 22, 2013 6:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Wed May 22, 2013 6:07 pm

evnow wrote:
AndyH wrote:Isn't the entire 'more developed west' doing that? Isn't that at least partially why, while the west has been wallowing through the recession, China's had a 10+% growth rate?
Yes, that is why we need to include "embedded emissions" in the calculations.
How do we do that?
evnow wrote:
The pro-oil/pro-nuke press has been bashing any country that pulled away from nuclear power after Fukushima.
I think pulling back from nuclear after Fukushima is a knee jerk reaction that will adversely affect climate change. There is no alternative to nuclear for baseload emission free power.
I agree that it 'could' be a knee-jerk reaction, but it could also be a really good incentive to double-down on renewables and run a bit faster. So far, it looks like German's in 'double down' mode. (And no - 'emission free' nukes are much worse than 'emission free' EVs... ;) )

The US, on the other hand, is still in a mental hospital waiting room hoping the doctor is out when her number is called so she can continue with her bipolar issue... ;)
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Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Wed May 22, 2013 7:15 pm

AndyH wrote: How do we do that?
One proposal is for exporters to indicate the embedded emissions.
I agree that it 'could' be a knee-jerk reaction, but it could also be a really good incentive to double-down on renewables and run a bit faster. So far, it looks like German's in 'double down' mode. (And no - 'emission free' nukes are much worse than 'emission free' EVs... ;) )

The US, on the other hand, is still in a mental hospital waiting room hoping the doctor is out when her number is called so she can continue with her bipolar issue... ;)
They can run fast - but how do they generate baseload power ? Apparently coal - not some renewable + storage (very expensive).

Ofcourse, US is essentially completely given up on the climate change question - ever since the 2010 elections. Obama and company completely messed up their first 2 years in office (in the political sense).
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Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Wed May 22, 2013 7:26 pm

AndyH wrote:I completely understand your point about suspending judgement until after examining the message. Yes, the truth is the truth even if one hears it from a liar. ;) But when a liar writes something, it's not automagically transformed into truth...

I think your somewhat condescending words are looking at the big end of the telescope. Here's why: When we go to a company website, we expect to read sales copy. When we read a scientific paper, we expect to read a past-tense, third person account of an experiment conducted. And when we read the press, we'd like to be reading unbiased facts about a topic - and due to the old 'fairness doctrine' we also expect to hear both sides of the 'he said/she said' topic. Yes, sales copy is still sales copy, but it's expanding into other areas. Not all scientific papers are simple and honest because some of the authors have sold their souls to write more sales copy. And the press, because of their fairness doctrine, is also being manipulated by some authors - all too often the 'truth' is NOT in between both sides! And some press outlets are pressing some topics and/or not pressing others because of their corporate owners and/or advertisers.

We simply cannot blindly read articles in the press any longer and honestly expect to be getting accurate information. Sometimes 'discernment' means dumping articles in the garbage before wasting brain cells or blood pressure medication. I don't watch 'fox news' for the same reason. That's not 'demonizing' people with which one disagrees, that's using good judgment on who one lets in their front door.

This article is little more than a "those hydrates are the new fracking and it's gonna be GOOD!" puff piece by an author with an acknowledged bias! That's not a legit side of a debate - that's propaganda that's worth almost as much as a former astronaut writing in defense of CO2...
Andy, I don't know about you, but I haven't 'blindly read articles in the press and honestly expect to be getting accurate information' since I became an adult, and probably never. Indeed, I try to never 'blindly' read anything. We agree on discernment - there are some sources that have proved over a long period of time that they are so biased and/or erroneous as not to be worth the trouble. I can't recall ever watching Fox News, at least not if I was hoping for unbiased reporting. But then I could say the same for say "Democracy Now" on PBS. Both wear their political ideologies on their sleeves, as it were, and require great caution to filter out opinion from fact.

Science too spans the gamut. Much as I'd love to believe that all scientists are utterly dedicated to detached observation of the facts, they remain human beings first. Still, given ignorance about science in general and specific areas in particular by the general public (polls show that 20% of Americans think the sun circles the earth)* and the mainstream media, I know which sources have to pass a higher level of scrutiny from me ab initio.

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.

*Edit. Well, it's apparently gotten even worse (but consider the source too):

http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com ... the-earth/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

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Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Wed May 22, 2013 7:49 pm

evnow wrote:
AndyH wrote: How do we do that?
One proposal is for exporters to indicate the embedded emissions.
I agree that it 'could' be a knee-jerk reaction, but it could also be a really good incentive to double-down on renewables and run a bit faster. So far, it looks like German's in 'double down' mode. (And no - 'emission free' nukes are much worse than 'emission free' EVs... ;) )

The US, on the other hand, is still in a mental hospital waiting room hoping the doctor is out when her number is called so she can continue with her bipolar issue... ;)
They can run fast - but how do they generate baseload power ? Apparently coal - not some renewable + storage (very expensive).

Ofcourse, US is essentially completely given up on the climate change question - ever since the 2010 elections. Obama and company completely messed up their first 2 years in office (in the political sense).
Don't we have a number of models that show wind and solar can and do provide their own baseload power? Don't we also see the increasing trend of Germany's biomass generation? That's regular thermal generation that is throttleable and dispatchable - they're just burning renewable and carbon-neutral things. Audi has a significant test project where they're using hydrogen for a storage function as well. I don't buy the 'we need more batteries' myth - longer term, anyway.

Did the president mess up or did we by gifting him the congresses he's had?
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Re: What if we never run out of oil?

Wed May 22, 2013 8:30 pm

GRA wrote: 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.

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...

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. 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"?

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."

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.
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