Uncharted Territory

We live in an exciting era, one of vast cultural change, political transformation, and economic turmoil.   Yet as we near 2011, it feels different, as if we’re entering territory even more uncharted, confusing, and dangerous than in the past.  Even as technology soars and it seems that daily life remains wired (or Wifi) and normal, the list of uncertainties is large.

1.  Oil.   As I noted, we are emerging from the oil century, where very cheap energy allowed a massive increase in production and enhanced mobility.  The IEA believes oil production peaked in 2006, meaning we could be facing tremendous increases in oil prices soon, especially if the economy perks back up.  Even in recession oil is inching back towards $100 a barrel.  What will a perpetual oil crisis look like?  How will the world respond, and how different will the reactions be on different parts of the planet?

2.  Dollars.  The tremendous growth of public and private debt in the US threaten the role of the dollar as the main global reserve currency.  Already shifts towards Euros and Yen are taking place, with the dollar helped by the fact those other currencies have their own problems.   Gold has increased in value, and unless there is some sign that the US can both decrease debt and reduce its current account deficit, it’s only a matter of time before the dollar loses significant value.    That may not be a bad thing, if it’s a moderate loss of value.    In a worst case scenario, it could be hyperinflation.  Of course, Japan has gone into tremendous debt and its suffering deflation.  That’s a possibility too!

3.  Climate Change.   The propaganda war waged by big business in the US has made skepticism of global climate change the norm, but world wide scientists are convinced it’s happening, and we’ve already seen examples.   Weather has gotten more extreme and dangerous, and this is likely to continue.  What will that do to the world economy, to political stability, and world food supplies?   Again, estimates range from complete havoc to relatively minor adjustments.   And it’s not just heat, but extreme cold and harsh winter weather can be an outcome of climate change.

4. Terrorism.   It never warranted the fear that overtook the population after 9-11, but it’s also more dangerous than the apathy the issue of terrorism evokes now.   The most dangerous type of attack would be one that hits oil supplies, but the possibility of nuclear terror as well as simply high profile attacks is real.   There are also home grown radical groups that could strike, it’s not just Islamic or third world terror that is a threat.   Except for terrorism that hits oil supplies, most scenarios suggest limited and minor physical destruction in any terror attack.  Even nuclear terror would be contained to a relatively small area.   Yet the cultural, economic and psychological ramifications could be tremendous.  Terrorism is most effective when it causes the victim of the attack to engage in self-destructive behaviors, something that we experienced after 9-11 as we got involved in a war in Iraq which weakened us, and we opened up the spigots of cheap credit which helped bring about the economic crisis.   What we do in response to terrorism is potentially more dangerous than the attack itself.

5.   Global depression.  Beyond concerns about the dollar noted above, the world economy could remain enmeshed in a global depression driven by high debt levels across the industrialized world, higher energy costs, and no clear engine of growth to pull us forward.   If this persists, crises and war would become more likely in the third world, while the first world would experience growing unrest and instability.

6.  Political jihad.   At a time when our problems are greatest, our politicians seem inept.   To be sure, President Obama does seem willing to try to work with Republicans and look for common ground to solve problems, but in both the GOP and the Democratic party strong forces want to simply fight war with the other side.   At some level this is OK — feverish rhetoric and political theater are the norm, so long as at the end of the day the two sides recognize that they have to do something to address the problems, even if it doesn’t fit their ideological druthers.   Too often, though, deluding themselves that standing in “principle” means never compromising, democracy gets sabotaged by extremists.   The rhetoric on the right seems more poisonous, as talk radio and Fox News skew coverage in a way that to me is clearly propagandistic.  MSNBC does so on the left, but without as much efficacy.   Right now, it’s still more spectacle than reality, but we’re close to a line where democracy could become dysfunctional if people start seeing the other side as evil, un-American or akin to traitors.    This would be a bad time for that to happen.

7.  Regional conflicts.   Tensions in Korea, the Mideast, Iran, and elsewhere could create a crisis that could have disastrous ramifications.   Given the other problems we face, we’d be best advised not to meddle in other peoples’ conflicts.  Unfortunately, the US like any great power has a hard time reconciling a loss of power with a need to reduce commitments.  We have to rebalance our commitments with our capabilities to avoid getting dragged into something very dangerous and self-defeating.

All that said, the future isn’t necessary going to be suffering and pain!   Technology is growing by leaps and bounds, and the globalization that makes us vulnerable to China’s choice of what to hold as a reserve currency also makes China vulnerable to any impact a US economic collapse would have on world markets.   We’re in this together, and as long as leaders can see that, they can avoid taking the path of fear and scapegoating.

In Europe the EU is a shining example of how cooperation and recognition of mutual self-interest yields results far superior to the myopic self-interest of the first half of the 20th Century.   They’ve also been quietly positioning themselves for effective reaction to both environmental and energy crises.   If they can make subsidiarity real, and recognize that new technologies mean more power can be devolved back to individuals and localities, and not centralized in Brussles or even state governments, they can model a new kind of political organization, one that might suggest a successor to the increasingly obsolete sovereign state.

If worst case scenarios are avoided, and cooperative innovation embraced, we can chart a future in which we overcome these challenges.  The key is to let go of past ways of thinking about the world, and recognize that we’re entering a new era where a new kind of thinking about politics, self-interest, and human values is necessary.   Are we up to that challenge?  Can the US play a leading role, or will we try to hold on to old ideals, kicking and screaming as reality brushes aside the old order?  I guess that’s up to us.

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  1. #1 by Black Flag on December 23, 2010 - 17:53

    1. Oil. What will a perpetual oil crisis look like?

    What oil crises?
    We have more oil in reserves then ever in history.

    Such a perspective that you present, though common, is mistaken.

    As adjusted to inflation, the price of oil was as high the last time the US government tanked the economy during the Stagflation of the late 70’s and early 80’s
    1973 $4.75 $23.13
    1974 $9.35 $41.27
    1975 $12.21 $49.42
    1976 $13.10 $50.19
    1977 $14.40 $51.76
    1978 $14.95 $49.99
    1979 $25.10 $74.67
    1980 $37.42 $99.11
    1981 $35.75 $85.82
    1982 $31.83 $71.95
    1983 $29.08 $63.66
    1984 $28.75 $60.34
    1985 $26.92 $54.54
    1986 $14.44 $28.70

    This current economic muck (again, caused by government policy) has hit the oil prices – oil goes up as the dollar tanks.
    Copper is up, Cotton is up, Wheat is up, Sugar is up, Gold is up, Silver is up …. To say oil is up because of some “shortage” is superficial.

    The tanking of the dollar and the increase in global financial uncertainty explains the increase in prices, not some “shortage”.

    It is possible that these prices will take much longer to correct – Bernanke is not Volker and Obama is not Reagan.

    How will the world respond, and how different will the reactions be on different parts of the planet?

    There is nearly 2 trillion bbls. of oil in the Canadian Tar Sands, the Canadian and Venezuelan deposits combined contain about 3.6 trillion barrels, compared to 1.75 trillion barrels of conventional oil worldwide.

    Add in 3.3 trillion bbls. of shale oil….. and the question becomes “what shortage?”

    The tanking of the dollar and the increase in global financial uncertainty explains the increase in prices, not some “shortage”.

    The world will respond by exploiting these reserves.

    China is buying them up as fast as they can do so, slowly. (Yes, a paradox – they are moving as fast as they can without creating a sense of urgency and panic).

    Russia is fine in her reserves – Venezuela is nationalizing theirs as a defensive weapon against the USA;

    All of this will not lower the price of oil in terms of dollars however, though maybe in terms of other goods and currencies in the future.

    2. Dollars. The tremendous growth of public and private debt in the US threaten the role of the dollar as the main global reserve currency.

    When someone suggests that the dollar is at risk in being replaced as a reserve currency, the question you have to ask them is:
    What is going to replace it?

    The replacement currency has to demonstrate –over a long period of time – strong fundamentals, little if no government manipulation, no debasement, an economy of significant size (G10 or better) and …which national government is willing to toss their economy into a decade long recession so to become the “reserve” currency? So which one?

    Answer: none.

    So the analysis pursuing any thought that the US will lose its reserve status any time soon is a waste of time.

    The real question: what happens when the reserve currency of the world collapses?

    it’s only a matter of time before the dollar loses significant value.

    What are you talking about?
    The dollar has lost +95% of its value since 1960. $100 today was $19.70 in 1980 – in 1990 it only took $41.
    It has been plummeting for nearly 50 years.

    That may not be a bad thing, if it’s a moderate loss of value.

    What the hell is “moderate”?

    Half, 90%, 99%???

    In a worst case scenario, it could be hyperinflation.

    That would mean the end of Western Civilization.

    Of course, Japan has gone into tremendous debt and its suffering deflation.

    Bull.
    The Bank of Japan has inflated mildly, with only a few bursts of expansion over the last two decades. Since 2002, the Japan government has had a budgetary excess over expenditures, not debt.

    The commercial banks in Japan made bad loans in the 1980s. This led to a bust in real estate. The banks have not written down their loans. They have become super cautious. This has retarded economic growth in Japan. There has not been steady price deflation, contrary to your claim

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/iet/japan/page4.pdf

    That’s a possibility too!

    For the US to suffer deflation would require the FED to refuse to fund the US government in its entirety – that is, it would no longer buy T-Bills. This would also end the FDIC – who is already bankrupt today – from buoying up bank deposits – it could no longer call on the FED for new digital money.

    With bank failures, the collapse of the money supply would be extreme, causing a Great, Great Depression and your “dreaded” deflation.

    This scenario is more likely then hyperinflation.

    The US will suffer, in this order:
    – Stagnation and recession
    – High Inflation – Stagflation
    – FED halts most of its T-Bill purchases
    – Government default on SS/Health
    – Massive recession, and Great Depression

    3. Climate Change. , but world wide scientists are convinced it’s happening, and we’ve already seen examples.

    Anthropogenic Climate (whatever you want to call it) has been shown to be a failed hypothesis.

    Most “world wide scientist” have disavowed any “agreement” to this environmentalist religion.

    Climate changes all the time. To suddenly assert “Wow! The Climate changes!” is so juvenile.

    Weather has gotten more extreme and dangerous,

    Bull.
    First, weather is not climate.

    Second, no measure of any weather phenomena has shown any statistical outlier whatsoever.

    You need to read more than Al Gore’s press releases.

    will that do to the world economy, to political stability, and world food supplies?

    Climate has often been the driver of massive geopolitical change – the Mini-Ice ages of history – causing famines – ushered in such geopolitical consequences.

    Two millennia of foreign invasions and internal wars in China were driven more by cooling climate than by feudalism, class struggle or bad government, a bold study argued.

    Food shortages severe enough to spark civil turmoil or force hordes of starving nomads to swoop down from the Mongolian steppes were consistently linked to long periods of colder weather, the study found.
    In contrast, the Central Kingdom’s periods of stability and prosperity occurred during sustained warm spells, the researchers said.

    But man’s action as a driver of climate change? …laughable!

    Again, estimates range from complete havoc to relatively minor adjustments.

    Astounding prediction! Anything between nothing and everything!

    And it’s not just heat, but extreme cold and harsh winter weather can be an outcome of climate change.

    Yep – as it has been doing for the last 250,000 years.

    4. Terrorism The most dangerous type of attack would be one that hits oil supplies, but the possibility of nuclear terror as well as simply high profile attacks is real.

    Not at all.
    Oil supplies routes are incredibly redundant – the only way to significantly disrupt any supply is by government terrorism, such as a major war (involving multiple local powers or two super-powers). It is simply not in the power of small violent actor to make a dent.

    Nuclear terrorism is equally a non-starter. The technological astuteness to maintain a nuclear weapon is beyond anyone other than a State actor.

    The likelihood of a biological attack, however, is significant. Google “Dark Winter Homeland Security” for the scenario.

    Except for terrorism that hits oil supplies, most scenarios suggest limited and minor physical destruction in any terror attack.

    What scenario are you dreaming that would take out – at the same time – all the oceanic traffic, oil fields, oil pipelines, refineries and Strategic reserves?

    What we do in response to terrorism is potentially more dangerous than the attack itself.

    It is always that way – which is why terrorism is a powerful weapon of the weak.

    China vulnerable to any impact a US economic collapse would have on world markets. We’re in this together, and as long as leaders can see that, they can avoid taking the path of fear and scapegoating.

    Don’t bet on this at all!

    China –right now- believes they are wealthier by selling their goods – cheapened by subsidizing by their own workers – to US customers.

    One day – and soon – they will figure out they grow more wealth in selling their goods to their own people without having to subsidize US people. This would be a good thing. The Chinese will gain more wealth, and may even begin to buy cheap US goods as the US people would –once again- have to actually produce things to pay for other things.

    In Europe the EU is a shining example of how cooperation and recognition of mutual self-interest yields results far superior to the myopic self-interest of the first half of the 20th Century.

    The EU is finished. It was doomed by design. By assigning political power to a bunch of bureaucrats in Belgium would always end up with a muck-up.

    They’ve also been quietly positioning themselves for effective reaction to both environmental and energy crises.

    Oh? How’s that?

    If they can make subsidiarity real,

    Subsidizing unprofitable enterprises ensures the enterprises will never be profitable without a subsidy.

    and recognize that new technologies mean more power can be devolved back to individuals and localities, and not centralized in Brussles or even state governments, they can model a new kind of political organization, one that might suggest a successor to the increasingly obsolete sovereign state.

    No government voluntarily reduces is hold on power. It will take the collapse of the EU for any devolution to occur.

    we can chart a future in which we overcome these challenges.

    Always have, always will.

  2. #2 by Jeff Lees on December 24, 2010 - 05:59

    Black Flag,
    I’m wondering where your willingness to ignore the projections of experts comes from. Does it not matter that the IEA, and many other Energy Agencies are seriously worried that there will soon be a shortage of oil, which because oil prices are so inelastic, will be devastating to the world economy? You are also so happy to completely ignore the scientific consensus on climate change. It doesn’t matter that over 95% of climate scientists believe that global climate change is being strongly influence by man’s actions? It doesn’t matter that the United States is the only country in the world where the existence of human caused climate change is still debated? There has been a clear scientific consensus on this issue for years, and yet it is still denied by people who have no understanding of the methods of science, and by people whose political agenda would be disrupted by the need to regulate carbon (and other) emissions.

  3. #3 by Black Flag on December 24, 2010 - 16:23

    Hi Jeff,

    I’m wondering where your willingness to ignore the projections of experts comes from.

    From the knowledge of facts – such as the but two examples of massive oil reserves of Tar Sands and Shale – and that I have an excellent grounding in arithmetic.

    The combination of these skills and knowledge allows me to form my own understanding of the issue.

    Is your methodology to just blindly follow “experts”?

    Does it not matter that the IEA, and many other Energy Agencies are seriously worried that there will soon be a shortage of oil, which because oil prices are so inelastic, will be devastating to the world economy?

    Unless you disagree with me regarding the Oil sands and Shale oil (again, just to name two), there is no shortage. Or is your definition of “shortage” strange?

    So perhaps the problem is incorrectly presented or stated.
    And that is a problem!

    If one cannot describe the problem correctly, then the probability of applying a correct answer to a problem approaches zero. Applying solutions to problems that do not exist does not solve problems and more often, creates really bad ones.

    Prices reflect other things then merely future supply and oil prices ARE elastic – any commodity, that over 12 months has moved from $66.50 – $91.71 per bbl – 50% change! – cannot be called “inelastic”. Indeed, this demonstrates that “something else” other than future supply concerns dominates the price of oil.

    You are also so happy to completely ignore the scientific consensus on climate change.

    Yep, because:
    (1) Science does not operate by consensus.
    (2) No consensus exists on Anthropogenic climate change. As an hypothesis, it has been completely refuted.
    (3) No physical scientist I know of suggests climate does not change.

    It doesn’t matter that over 95% of climate scientists believe that global climate change is being strongly influence by man’s actions?

    No, because what you present as fact (95% believe) is false.

    Further, there is no valid hypothesis which demonstrates such influence. None. Zip. Zero. It’s all imaginary, or as Scott loves to say “it is pure assertion with no fact”.

    It doesn’t matter that the United States is the only country in the world where the existence of human caused climate change is still debated?

    This is false, too.

    India, China, Germany, France, Australia (to name a handful) have all withdrawn (or did not seriously participate) in such debate. No country seriously considered gutting their economy for such a irrational religious zealotry of environmentalism.

    There has been a clear scientific consensus on this issue for years,

    Only if you believe Al Gore.

    and yet it is still denied by people who have no understanding of the methods of science,

    Climate “science” is in total disarray. It has abandoned science and its methods in favor of politics.

    The AGW Hypothesis is wrong. It should have been thoroughly discarded decades ago. It only lives by the zealotry of a group of anti-human people by manipulation of politics.

    and by people whose political agenda would be disrupted by the need to regulate carbon (and other) emissions.

    Regulating “carbon” regulates all life – including yours. This was the goal, not some “saving of the Earth”.

  4. #4 by Scott Erb on December 24, 2010 - 17:00

    Tar sands and oil shale cannot bail us out; not only is it very expensive to reach, but the pace at which they can be developed will not be adequate to reduce costs and prevent a major crisis. Having had scientists come to class and give talks on climate change, I know that those who actually follow the science are convinced it’s real. Black Flag has politically-driven understandings of reality, which I’m convinced he is unable to critically assess. The scientific backing of human caused climate change has been growing as evidence mounts. He clearly has been reading the industry/right wing propaganda machine that has created an alternate reality in which science gives way to political whim and ideology. The EU, especially Germany, France, etc., has met the Kyoto goals, and it has helped rather than hurt their economy. They have pledged a further 30% decrease. China is also expressing a willingness to be part of the next agreement, realizing they can no longer claim third world status. The US, because of a fetish with completely refuted free market ideology and a powerful industry lobby that has massive media penetration resists reality. After what the free marketeers did to the economy, I think we’ll only make things better once that ideology is shown to be the fantasy that it is — even Greenspan finally admitted so:

    http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2009/10/25/greenspans-confession/

  5. #5 by Black Flag on December 24, 2010 - 17:46

    Scott,

    not only is it very expensive to reach,

    Some facts:

    The Alberta tar sand production represents 47% of the entire output of Canada – the USA #1 importer of oil.

    I would suggest that means they have “reached” them just fine.

    Dutch Shell Oil, one of the developers of the Tar Sands, made twice the profit on a barrel of oil from the Tar Sands than an average barrel of oil from any other of their wells globally. Royal Dutch Shell released its 2006 annual report and announced that its Canadian oil sands unit made an after tax profit of $21.75 per barrel, nearly double its worldwide profit of $12.41 per barrel on conventional crude oil

    I would suggest that means it is not that much more – or according to Shell, significantly less – costly.

    Having had scientists come to class and give talks on climate change, I know that those who actually follow the science are convinced it’s real.

    As usual, Scott, you are irrational.

    I am sure I would come to your class and tell them climate change is real, too.

    But I would also say Anthropogenic climate change is a myth.

    And whether those that “follow science” believe in such a myth or not … (shrug).

    Those that do science do not believe in the myth of AGW.

    Black Flag has politically-driven understandings of reality, which I’m convinced he is unable to critically assess.

    Ad homenin and irrational.

    The scientific backing of human caused climate change has been growing as evidence mounts.

    Prove it.

    The EU, especially Germany, France, etc., has met the Kyoto goals, and it has helped rather than hurt their economy.

    Laughable.
    As part of the Kyoto agreement, Germany and France (78% of France’s energy is nuclear) ensured that their nuclear plants were grand-fathered into their energy calculations – where as the US – being much more larger, spread out, and thanks to Carter, hadn’t built a nuclear power plant in 30 years – utilizes more oil and coal energy.

    To point to this as an “agreement” to cut emissions is pernicious.

    They have pledged a further 30% decrease.

    Germans citizens are rapidly losing faith in global warming following the Climate-gate scandals, according to a new report in Der Spiegel.

    The report indicates that just 42 percent of Germans are worried about global warming, down substantially from the 62 percent that expressed concern with the state of the environment in 2006.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/03/29/achtung-germans-giving-global-warming/#ixzz193GUDyCu

    The German government will not run counter to the changing winds of public opinion. The economy has taken over as #1 concern and any attempt to make worse the economy by more irrational government policy in environmentalism will be political suicide

    Climate Depot More than 60 prominent German scientists have publicly declared their dissent from man-made global warming fears in an Open Letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The more than 60 signers of the letter include several United Nations IPCC scientists.

    The scientists declared that global warming has become a “pseudo religion” and they noted that rising CO2 has “had no measurable effect” on temperatures. The German scientists, also wrote that the “UN IPCC has lost its scientific credibility.” .

    China is also expressing a willingness to be part of the next agreement, realizing they can no longer claim third world status.

    Hahahahah…. let me know when they actually do something.

    China is now building about two power stations every week, the top climate change official at the UK Foreign Office, John Ashton, has said.

    China is the #1 coal consumer on earth – and a fast growing economy – and you really believe they will stop that in the name of some religious zealotry instigated by anti-humanists in the west!

    I say again… hahahahhahahaha….

    After what the free marketeers did to the economy, I think we’ll only make things better once that ideology is shown to be the fantasy that it is

    You do not understand freedom.
    You do not understand economics.
    You do not understand what a “free market economy” means.

    Thus, you assign an action – directly caused by government perversions into an economy – as an example of a “free” economy in action – and then call anyone who points out your ignorance as an ideologue in a fantasy.

    — even Greenspan finally admitted so:

    Greenspan is no patron saint of free markets.

  6. #6 by Black Flag on December 24, 2010 - 18:41

    Sparks Meets with Bernanke and Greenspan

  7. #7 by Scott Erb on December 24, 2010 - 18:54

    By 2020 Canada’s oil sands production will be only about 3 million barrels a day, growth takes time. That isn’t a fast enough pace to replace oil crude supplies, and oil is an international commodity.

    Despite your own fox news poll report, the EU did reach the agreement, they have cut emissions to 1990 levels, and pledged to cut them more. Nuclear plants do not contribute much at all to global climate change. You simply are parroting propaganda, you’re lost in a fog of disinformation.

  8. #8 by Black Flag on December 24, 2010 - 19:00

    Scott,

    By 2020 Canada’s oil sands production will be only about 3 million barrels a day, growth takes time. That isn’t a fast enough pace to replace oil crude supplies, and oil is an international commodity.

    Production is based on a set of variables – none of which are necessarily difficult – if the demand is there, so will be the production.

    Your Malthusian bias is showing.

    Despite your own fox news poll report, the EU did reach the agreement, they have cut emissions to 1990 levels, and pledged to cut them more. Nuclear plants do not contribute much at all to global climate change. You simply are parroting propaganda, you’re lost in a fog of disinformation.

    Nuclear plants contribute the same as any other human energy source to climate change – nothing.

    PS: If you could provide a reference to your “cuts” – all I the info I can find is “promises”.

  9. #9 by Scott Erb on December 24, 2010 - 22:33

    Production cannot expand that quickly, they need to build the infrastructure. Ultimately, if prices exceed $150 a barrel, they’ll be able to put heavy investment. But it’s not a well you can just pull oil out of; and that’s not from me, that’s from a colleague who came to talk to one of my classes who is a fossil fuel geologist. For a number of years I taught a course built around the film “Syriana,” looking at Islam, oil economics, Mideast politics, terrorism and the like — a fun course. We delved into the entire controversy about peak oil and possible substitutes. We investigated tar sands, and a host of others. The conclusion was clear: if the peak is soon, as the IEA believes (it may have passed) then it’s inevitable there will a severe economic crisis before we can get alternatives up and running, especially if we’re foolish enough to rely on the market. The market is often inferior in terms of adjusting for major changes coming down the line, we need to have a massive effort to start shifting to alternatives now. Even now in Canada production has not risen as fast as expected because the price of oil has gone down. But prices can shoot up quickly (thanks to oil’s price inelasticity) and production shortfalls could be almost instantaneous. We had a taste of that in 2008.

    Nothing is certain, of course — anyone who claims certainty proves only that they aren’t really honestly looking at the whole picture — but to totally dismiss the problem because of Canadian oil sands is ridiculous. I know of no real fossil fuel geologist or economist who does that, and seriously, I (and my class ultimately) really looked into this (and the class was taught 8 times overall, with more information added each time).

    About the EU and Kyoto:

    http://climateprogress.org/2009/11/12/europe-exceed-kyoto-target-european-trading-system-has-worked/

    Also, this potentially puts Europe in a very good position as its helped increase its role in marketing alternatives and green technology, something the US has fallen behind in because we’ve relied on the market.

    And for you to dismiss the obvious evidence and models of climate scientists, the best minds in the world, because you’ve read some propaganda fitting what you want to believe does not have any credibility. There is uncertainty — again anyone who expresses certainty on complex topics shows they don’t know their limits and the scope of information we have — but just about every climate scientists and my friends and colleagues who are scientists say the models have been so good at predicting, they are convincing, and the consequences are potentially so dire that it’s not worth gambling the next generation on the possibility that industry lobbyists may be right and the science might be wrong.

    • #10 by Black Flag on December 25, 2010 - 19:06

      Scott,

      Production cannot expand that quickly, they need to build the infrastructure.

      It expands as fast as necessary or needed, and not one bit faster than that.

      It is not needed to be faster than it is now, so it is not being built any faster than that.

      Got that, right?

      There is no global “critical” shortage at all anywhere. No sense building what is not needed.

      Ultimately, if prices exceed $150 a barrel, they’ll be able to put heavy investment.

      The investments are well in place and continue. Price improves profit, and of course will drive even further development.

      But as you seem to avoid the facts as I’ve laid out above – it is in production, is very profitable, and will continue for the foreseeable future.

      The price -though important- is not that important – government stability is. Much of the development was ‘annyoed’ due to the government’s “changing the Royalty rules” half way through the game.

      Industry pulled back a bit to reassess the situation. It will work itself out, though.

      But it’s not a well you can just pull oil out of; and that’s not from me, that’s from a colleague who came to talk to one of my classes who is a fossil fuel geologist.

      Good for him. I worked with a few hundred of them and their colleagues at the Syncrude plant.

      For a number of years I taught a course built around the film “Syriana,” looking at Islam, oil economics, Mideast politics, terrorism and the like — a fun course. We delved into the entire controversy about peak oil and possible substitutes. We investigated tar sands, and a host of others. The conclusion was clear: if the peak is soon, as the IEA believes (it may have passed) then it’s inevitable there will a severe economic crisis before we can get alternatives up and running, especially if we’re foolish enough to rely on the market.

      Hogwash Malthusian junk.

      You are denying the facts as presented; you are holding on to your ignorance and building stories around it.

      There is no oil crisis. There is no oil shortage. And you would be a fool to not rely on the market.

      The market is often inferior in terms of adjusting for major changes coming down the line, we need to have a massive effort to start shifting to alternatives now.

      Such conceit.

      So you super-brain of the world, can see what others -the ones who are rich because they have invested wisely- cannot see.

      Thus, being the conceited, but impoverished (compared to them) brainiac, you will steal their money and spend it on what you think is important.

      The market is in the business of the future – that is what “investing” is. There is “nothing” coming down the pipe that is a mystery to them (but obvious to you).

      Even now in Canada production has not risen as fast as expected because the price of oil has gone down.

      *Gasp*
      The horror! There is too much oil! So the Canadians stop producing it! *Evil* *Horror* They are just stupid!

      But prices can shoot up quickly (thanks to oil’s price inelasticity) and production shortfalls could be almost instantaneous. We had a taste of that in 2008.

      You are as fundamentally ignorant of economics as Jeff.

      Generally, an “elastic” variable is one which responds “a lot” to small changes in other parameters. Similarly, an “inelastic” variable describes one which does not change much in response to changes in other parameters.

      Nothing is certain, of course — anyone who claims certainty proves only that they aren’t really honestly looking at the whole picture — but to totally dismiss the problem because of Canadian oil sands is ridiculous.

      What is ridiculous is your constant strawman.

      The problem: shortage of oil – does not exist. To fail to use simple arithmetic and facts, such as the Oil sands (and Shale oil, just to name two is a sign of self-ignorance.

      As I said above, you are making up problems that don’t exist so to apply solutions that are political violence to solve these non-existent problems – and that is the problem, not your muddled bizarre ignorance of oil supplies.

      I know of no real fossil fuel geologist or economist who does that, and seriously, I (and my class ultimately) really looked into this (and the class was taught 8 times overall, with more information added each time).

      I am certain you taught your classes, and equally certain you muddled quite a few fine young minds doing it, too.

      (1) There is no oil shortage
      (2) There are major political actions that prevent access and/or deliveries and/or use of oil and its products.

      Teaching kids that (1) is wrong and (2) is the answer to solve (1) will ensure that (2) becomes much worse.

      the best minds in the world,

      HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH!

      Oh Gawd, I haven’t laughed so hard in awhile!

      Yep, gotta love Pachauri, who believes a story in a mountain magazine about India’s glaciers!

      Gotta love Jones, whose lies, suppression, vileness, and deceit made such a great news story at Climategate.

      Gotta love “Hockey Stick” Mann, whose math is about as good as your economics!

      If you think these guys are the best minds …. whoa!

      but just about every climate scientists and my friends and colleagues who are scientists say the models have been so good at predicting,

      Total bull.
      Not one model has predicted a darn thing correctly. And they can’t – its impossible.

      they are convincing, and the consequences are potentially so dire that it’s not worth gambling the next generation on the possibility that industry lobbyists may be right and the science might be wrong.

      What is far more dangerous is the destruction of global economies as an answer to something that man cannot change.

      You will kill millions, and still suffer snow and cold in winter, and rain and heat in summer.

      But, I have no fear of this happening. The AGW myth is dying, and good riddance.

  10. #11 by Jeff Lees on December 24, 2010 - 23:18

    Black Flag,
    I really don’t know where you get this idea that there isn’t a consensus on ACC. Here is a to scientific studies surveying climatologists, and some links to meta-analyzes of scientific studies on ACC.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.abstract

    http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/306/5702/1686.full#

    And there is of course, all the Academies of Science from 19 countries that openly agree on this consensus (including China’s, India’s, Germany’s, and France’s)

    Please provide me with some evidence that there is no consensus. And please don’t give me a piece fron a single scientists (that would, or couse, be unscientific), show me some survey data, or better yet, show me a meta-analysis of relavent studies…

    And I hate to break it to you, but there is such thing as a scientific consensus. It exists when a hypothesis, say like ACC, but evolution may be an easier example, cannot be fully falsified. To dismiss that there can ever be a scientific consensus is to dismiss everything science seeks to accomplish. Without scientific consensus, science would serve no purpose and possess no authority.

  11. #12 by Black Flag on December 25, 2010 - 18:35

    Jeff Lees

    I really don’t know where you get this idea that there isn’t a consensus on ACC.

    Because there isn’t such a thing. Consensus is irrelevant in science; it is a matter of politics.

    Here is a to scientific studies surveying climatologists, and some links to meta-analyzes of scientific studies on ACC.

    These “surveys” are irrelevant as they are not “science” as well as flawed and have been long dismissed.

    And there is of course, all the Academies of Science from 19 countries that openly agree on this consensus (including China’s, India’s, Germany’s, and France’s)

    And hundreds of scientists have resigned from these academies in response to such politicization of science. A number of academies have retracted their original statements, or significantly modified them

    Please provide me with some evidence that there is no consensus.

    Did already above – see the “60 German scientists” reference.

    I am not interested in turning Scott’s post into a Google-war (you’d lose); it is pointless for me to change your mind regarding your religion.

    And I hate to break it to you, but there is such thing as a scientific consensus. It exists when a hypothesis, say like ACC, but evolution may be an easier example, cannot be fully falsified. To dismiss that there can ever be a scientific consensus is to dismiss everything science seeks to accomplish. Without scientific consensus, science would serve no purpose and possess no authority.

    Science does not work on consensus – period.

    An hypothesis can be true, incomplete, or wrong.

    In the case of AGW, it is wrong.

    In the case of Evolutionary theory, it is incomplete.

    And it is still the AGW theory, not some ACC garbage.

    The whole mess started with a gross misunderstanding of atmospheric physics, and ignorant public swayed by soothsayers and morphed into some political movement.

    Now that the observations (such as the snow in UK) have destroyed this myth, trying to change the name to “Climate Change” is laughable. The hypothesis is still the same erroneous one – and changing the name did not change the science.

    But, you can zealous believe this myth to your hearts content.

    The hypothesis has been crushed, and the politics around this mess is dissipating – no politician will risk his head supporting this garbage any further. The MSM, who made a lot money by selling common weather events to be “catastrophic proof of the end of the world”, are still beating the drums, but their readership has been collapsing, so they aren’t long for this world, either.

    Science serves but one purpose – understanding of the Universe, and holds no human authority whatsoever. It’s authority is measured by truth, reason and knowledge and is enforced by the Universe itself.

  12. #13 by Scott Erb on December 25, 2010 - 19:44

    You’re anti-science, Black Flag. The science is overwhelming on this issue, and has becoming stronger. You’re the classic case of someone who cherry picks and looks for someone who might disagree and then pretends that somehow this means the whole thing has been proven wrong. Your rhetoric is so over the top that you’re almost a caricature. It’s like deep down you know your argument is weak so you have to bluster and puff. Come on, Jeff provided links, the evidence has been growing, yeah, there’s uncertainty, but there always is in something like climate science. If you didn’t have such over the top absolutist rhetoric it would be easier to take you seriously. You undercut your own argument with your style.

  13. #14 by Black Flag on December 25, 2010 - 20:09

    Scott,

    You do not even know what science is.

    The science is overwhelming on this issue, and it’s not humans doing a thing.

    The Sun is climate, not man – and all your mucking about won’t change that.

    I am not into Google-wars – Jeff can find all the links he needs himself, there are 30 million of them.

    He can also go to school and learn a bit of chemistry and physics and that will help him a lot too.

    There is more than uncertainty in Climate Science today – and its politics – which you claim you know a lot about.

    I am not surprised to see you deep in Climate Science AGW zealotry. It’s part of your soul.

    • #15 by Jeff Lees on December 25, 2010 - 21:26

      Black Flag, those aren’t just “google links.” Two of them are from peer-reviewed scientific journals. I don’t want a “google war,” I want you to provide some evidence that what you are claiming is reflected in the scientific community. Those surveys are not irrelevant, and that meta-analysis came from a scientific journal (as did the surveys). Meta-analyzes are common in empirical science, as they are a way of summarizing a large body of research. This meta-analysis is very clear, the vast majority of studies on this issue support the theory that climate change is influence by human activity. Scott’s right, you can’t just ignore the scientific evidence with boisterous yelling, please provide some evidence that your opinion is something other then mere conjecture.

      And if you’re going to make arguments like “I am not surprised to see you deep in Climate Science AGW zealotry. It’s part of your soul.” It just shows that you have no evidence, other then hyperbole, to support your claims.

      • #16 by Black Flag on December 27, 2010 - 07:49

        Jeff,

        I gave the article of the “60 German Scientists” – which is more than enough to dispute your “consensus” claim.

        There is another with the -what is it now? – 35,000 scientist petition that states the uncertainty of ACC..

        But once again Jeff, science does not operate by consensus and arguing as such is a fallacy – Appeal to Authority.

  14. #17 by Scott Erb on December 25, 2010 - 21:40

    But we “don’t know what science is.” And “the sun is the climate.” Sigh. I’ve chatted with colleagues who teach chemistry, physics, biology and geology, and they are extremely convinced humans are causing climate change. BF, you have an ideology-driven understanding of the world, which has put you out of touch with reality.

  15. #18 by Jeff Lees on December 27, 2010 - 19:53

    Black Flag,
    Your 60 German scientists proves nothing (and if you knew anything about the scientific method, you’d know that). I followed up your lead, and found that it came from ‘Climate Depot.’ First, Climate Depot isn’t a scientific source, it’s a (conservative) political action committee out of Washington D.C., and receives funding from Exxon and Chevron. The aside, the article from Climate Depot detailing these 60 disenting scientists is pathetic. It, like you, likes to point cherry pick information in order to try to disprove the scientific body of information. The article provides a single peer-reviewed study that does not support the theory of ACC. Of course, a single study will never prove or disprove anything in science, and if you or Climate Depot had any respect for the scientific method, you’d know that. Also in the article is a link to a republican sponsored report in senate signed by “700” scientists urging the senate to see that ACC is fake/flawed/a lie etc… I would again point out my link above to a survey of over 3000 scientists. If you take the data at face value, 566 respondents did not believe that global climate change was influenced by man. Right there you almost have your 700. And if that survey is a good representative sample of the scientific, and climatologists, community, then 700 dissenters doesn’t compare to the thousands of scientists who support the theory of ACC. Also, if you read the links I provided, you will find over 900 studies (from 1993-2003) that support the theory of ACC. So just providing a seemingly big number, like 700, needs to be put into prospective. And not matter how many studies you provide, or testimonies you provide, there will be ten times more out there in the scientific community that support the theory of ACC.

    And no Black Flag, scientific consensus is not an appeal to authority. The would be like saying 2+2=4 is an appeal to the authority of math. The overwhelming majority of scientists, climatologists, and peer-reviewed scientific studies support the theory of ACC, and there is no (legitimate) denial of that. If my trust in consensus of the scientific community is an appeal to authority, then so is your trust in climate change skeptics.

    So, you still have failed to provide any legitimate scientific evidence (other then single, cherry picked evidence), and you still insist on denying that there could ever be a consensus in the scientific community. So tell me, how are we justified in teaching evolution in schools if there can never be a consensus among scientists?

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