demoneyes_phil: (Default)
[personal profile] demoneyes_phil

This is exactly why I have doubts about man-made climate change.

"All the graphs they showed stopped in about 1980, and I knew why, because things diverged after that. You can't just ignore bits of data that you don't like," the scientist is quoted as saying of the "anti" lobby.

And next to that is a graph showing world temperature from 1972 to date, along with a description of their study into cosmic rays over the last 30-40 years.

So why 1972 and 30-40 years I wondered? So I looked at and, ooh look, 1972 was almost *precisely* the year that global temperature started rising again after the 25 years or so in which it didn't (despite CO2 rising steadily throughout).

So now who's "ignoring bits of data that you don't like"? Whilst having the holier-than-thou gall to criticise others for doing the same thing. Bad science. Bad bad science.

Date: 2007-07-11 10:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm pretty much convinced that global warming isn't the problem. I don't think that the government thinks global warming is the problem. The *problem* is the forthcoming energy crisis, Peak Oil.

I think that the Powers That Be would rather make us feel empowered by recycling our rubbish and composting our potato peelings rather than show us the sheer scale of poo that is going to hit the fan when oil production starts falling.

Because there is very little we can do about the energy crisis other than suffer, and a population condemned to suffer doesn't really want to bother much with politicians.

But then I'm a cynic.

Date: 2007-07-11 11:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have a certain scepticism over "peak oil" having lived through the 1970s and been told repeatedly by "experts" then that the oil was going to run out within 20 years. That said, it is inarguable logic that oil supplies are finite and at some point demand is going to start exceeding supply. So the question is not so much "if" this crisis is going to arise as "when".

I'm an optimist. I think as the fuels start to run out that technology will find new ways of doing things. But things could be being done to help ease any crisis (why does the EU pay farmers to set aside when they could instead be growing biofuels?) which currently aren't, at least in part because of the obsession with carbon and MMCC.

Date: 2007-07-11 11:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I liked the test they did on Top Gear showing that it'd take around 5 acres of land to produce enough fuel for a family car for an average year. OK, production will become more efficient in time.

If only money wasn't the driver for it all. The market economy is just too inefficient in the long term. Still as long as we have continents like Africa to keep poor for a few more decades, we'll be dead before the real economies, not the financial ones, start to bite. Hang on... How will we be able to look the kids in the eye?

Date: 2007-07-11 01:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I liked the test they did on Top Gear showing that it'd take around 5 acres of land to produce enough fuel for a family car for an average year. OK, production will become more efficient in time.

Certainly adds an interesting additional variable to the meat vs veg argument on land use. Quick google suggests the US use about 3.5 acres/person for food vs 1/8 of that elsewhere, most of the difference being the proportion used for meat. So it wouldn't take that huge a shift from meat farming to free several acres/person for biofuels. And of course higher grain prices would tend to drive such a switch where terrain allows a choice.

As you say, 5 acres today, but how much tomorrow. Half that? And halve it again for a hybrid? And halve it again for a future hybrid? And suddenly you're down to half an acre or so per person which from the above is tinkering with the animal/crop ratio.

As I said, I'm an optimist. I think we'll find a way. Which doesn't mean we shouldn't economise, recycle, reduce waste, eat local or push research of course. But in many ways I fear the fear - the "pushing and shoving" as Talis puts it - more than I do the Peak Oil itself.

Date: 2007-07-11 02:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The Top Gear team may be amusing, but they're not farmers.

Mind you, when farming did depend on biofuels, roughly half the farm was needed to produce enough for the farm's own use. and even then they were importing energy in the form of fertilisers.

Date: 2007-07-11 11:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, it's all been brought home to me a little by the fact that the recent appalling weather will bring up the price of food. I can see it in the fields around here - whole crops flattened and submerged.

There simply isn't enough land to support the kind of lifestyle we expect, and there doesn't seem to be much support for alternative technologies either.

And why can't we just buy in the excess we need to stabilise prices? That would be because of the use of the excess land in the US being used heavily for biofuel growth. The excess doesn't exist. So we'll pay for what we think we need and complain when the price of bread goes up to £1.50 a loaf (or whatever it does end up as), whilst someone, somewhere is starving.

The fuel won't run out in 20 years, of course not. But start looking at some of the production and costings curves... There'll be oil around for all of our lifetimes, and probably our children's lifetimes, too. But will they be able to afford to use it?

I'm not sure.

Maybe everything will be fine, and we'll all be able to carry on as we have been doing. Maybe I'll look a fool with my locally-sourced food and low-energy lightbulbs. But I'll be living cheaply, well and in a way that I hope can be sustained by the planet in the long-term. I'm willing to risk looking like a fool for that payoff.

Date: 2007-07-11 12:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Seconded. The reason Peak Oil activists are concerned about fossil fuel depletion is not that they expect it to run out for a long time, but that it only needs the rate of production to fall below the rate of demand / usage for a great deal of pushing and shoving to ensue - musical chairs of a much grimmer sort. Add in the food vs. fuel issue, consider soil erosion and the reduced mineral content of many intensively-farmed foodstuffs, and all bets are off.

Have you come across the Transition Towns initiative? And did you know that an All-party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil had been set up? (Largely as a result of campaigning by the Powerswitch group!)

This week the International Energy Authority released a report which, for the first time, states that a 'supply crunch' in unavoidable. And Brent Crude is currently trading near 76 dollars a barrel, and that in a much more stable global situation than we had a year ago when prices were last that high.

And sure, China keeps building its power stations - to fuel our endless western appetite for cheap chinese plastic stuff!

I'm off down the garden to cool down...

Date: 2007-07-11 02:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
To be honest, I don't know that the global situation is more stable this year than last year. Nigeria's apparently gotten worse, which seems to be the driver for the current oil price spike. Iran seems to be careening toward a nuclear bomb, which is the same as last year, only closer now. And Venezuela has certain train-wreck characteristics...

Date: 2007-07-11 05:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Fair enough; I see each of those situations as very much ongoing, whereas this time last year the Israel-Lebanon situation was causing the price spike. Nigeria has, I think, started to be rather more widely reported - there's been violence on the delta there for a longish while.

Date: 2007-07-11 01:00 pm (UTC)
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Carl)
From: [personal profile] madfilkentist
Whenever governments try to decide what the solution to a problem will be, they simply don't have the means to gauge their actions, so usually they either overreact or underreact. In the US, biofuels have been promoted heavily, with the result that grain prices have skyrocketed. In both the US and Europe, it's an agricultural lobby which gets the government to hand it favors, with the main difference being the kind of favor.

Date: 2007-07-11 10:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Where there are people on both sides willing to pay for the answer they want, bad science will happen. People are human, and money is very useful.

The question you have to ask is which answer commands the best price? If it suits the corporate demons, then it's more likely to be the wrong (untrue) answer. The only truth we have access to is that which has no adverse effect on any vested interests.

Date: 2007-07-11 11:25 am (UTC)
hrrunka: Stylised representation of Crux Australis (crux)
From: [personal profile] hrrunka
I suspect there's way too much simplification going on, because people want to find one culprit to blame, or one thing they can do to fix the problem. Trouble is, the universe doesn't work that way...

Solar-cycle effects on temperature are well-enough documented over a couple of centuries to prove that the Sun does affect climate. The fine details remain imprecise, but there's not a lot Humanity can do about it except adapt to the changes as they happen.

I am sure rising CO2 levels are having some effect on climate, but it isn't the only (and probably not even the main) climate-changing influence. And climate is only one part of the environment.

Humanity has been altering its whole environment for many thousands of year by burning down forests, keeping too many livestock, over-exploiting water resources, and so on. Industrialised humanity just manages to do it all much more quickly.

There is no one way to fix things, but people in power often get there by claiming they have the One True Way™ to do so, and everything gets horribly simplified. Over-simplify a system and you'll end up with assertions that are easy to both "prove" and "dis-prove" just by selecting slightly different metrics...

Where's that Total Perspective Vortex™ when you need one...

Date: 2007-07-12 04:28 am (UTC)

Date: 2007-07-11 02:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for sharing those links.

There's a book out right now called The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming. Pretty interesting stuff. They say there are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics. I think it is wise to take everything with a grain of salt.

Date: 2007-07-11 10:15 pm (UTC)
ext_12246: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Damn! I just today or yesterday read a debunking of the Lockwood study and I can't find it!


demoneyes_phil: (Default)

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