Thursday, July 7, 2016
The Moral Case For Climate Sanity
When you think about the events in human history that have transformed the very fabric of society and have spurred on the evolutionary, technological progression of the world we tend to think in terms of tangible items like vaccines, electricity, automobiles, telephones, etc. Asked to think deeper we might mention nuclear power, landing on the moon or cracking the human genome. But if we go deeper, think not of something tangible in the immediate, nor a monumental historical event we find that the most fundemental, life altering (for the world), all encompassing discovery and utilitarian event in modern human history was the discovery and development of oil.
In fact, the very first environmentally positive impact oil had on the planet was it saved the whales from extinction. Within a decade whaling was all but finished in Western Civilization. We no longer needed whale oil to heat, or light our homes. The second enviromental impact of oil was that de-forestation slowed and eventually ceased. Since the dawn of man warming one's abode was also done by cutting down and burning firewood. Sure, coal was big in London and other European cities but, this too, came to an end.
The discoveries I mentioned in the first paragraph also could never have ocurred without the development of oil. Mechanization made the work day easier, shorter, cooler, warmer, safer. Travel became quicker, safer. Food became less contaminated and could be shipped across Continents. Wilbur and Orville would never have made that famous flight had it not been for the invention of the internal combustion engine powered by gasoline. For centuries a wounded soldier (however slightly) most likely died right there on the field of glory. Today, a wounded soldier in Afghanistan (however seriously) can be airlifted and in ICU within a few hours. Each, and every step of the way, because of the development of oil.
I will dispense with the use of the term 'fossil fuels' for this dissertation. I feel it is acromonious and somewhat a misnomer. Oil does not come from a fossil. It is surmised, by some in the industry, that oil might NOT be made from dinosaurs and millions of years of plankton buried deep. Todays technology is discoverng that wells tapped out and abandoned years ago have refilled. This is part of why America's resurgence in oil production as come to be.
Oil is also NOT a finite resource. According to Alex Epstein in his book, "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels" the entire human consumption of oil since the mid 19th century to today is a fraction of what is tapped and untapped worldwide. There is also no such thing as 'Peak Oil'. Where ever we look for oil, we find oil. Current US reserve estimates hover around $50 Trillion over the next century. By 2020 The US will (once again) be an oil exporter instead of an oil importer. Already from a high of 60% in the mid 70's we now import less than 30% of our oil and that number is falling steadily. This is a far cry from the Carter days of Malaise and Crisis, the doom and gloom of running out oil and economic collapse.
Lets explore that premise for a moment.
It was easy to arrive at such a conclusion then. Technology was not what it is today. Computer processing was still in the gestational phase. Geologists working for oil companies were still guessing that 'maybe' a field might pan out. Today with ground penetrating radar, Sonar, satellites, deep core drilling, side drilling, deep sea submersibles we can now peer deep into Earth's Core and unlock it's secrets. All because of oil. The very thing we were once told we would run out of within a few decades back in 1978.
It is a myth and a well funded lie that the use of oil is the key factor in the cabal known as Climate Change. Since no significant, catastrophic rise in Global Temperatures has ocurred since the idea was birthed the term 'Global Warming' is now passe'.
Liberals always change the names to protect the guilty.
Ice core samples from the Antarctic show massive shifts in climate eons ago.. There was no industralization then. Third World, abjectly impoverished nations are the worst hit whenever a climate related disaster takes place. Western economies can handle such things because of our use of oil. We can build levees, sea walls, rush in aid, warn residents to get out not just because of oil but rather the capatilistic, technological infrastructure oil has provided to us. Poor nations have none of this. It is not the use oil (causing Clmate Change) that creates death and destruction in such areas it is the lack there of. A drought in Ethiopia kills millions. A drought in California means grapes cost a dollar more. A flood in Sri-Lanka creates a refugee crisis. A flood in Ohio and Serv-Pro arrives.. Like it never even happened.
The negative enviromental impacts of oil are localized and almost always caused by human error and not the oil itself. However, because of oil we now have the technology to remediate and limit the impact of such accidents. We also have an educated society and a legal system in place to lessen these threats and hold accountable involved parties. Poor nations do not. Despotic regimes think nothing of the health and welfare of their people. Capitalism and Democratic institutions ensure economical, efficient and safe use of oil. Eliminating oil production and usage in the West will only hurt the poorest among us and do nothing to stem the poverty as well as unsafe production and usage in despotic nations. The Sudanese Gov't could care less what Greenpeace and The Sierra Club have to say.
It is here that we must look at the real 'endgame' of the anti-oil crowd. It is anti-humanism. Eradicating a fuel source that is involved in every facet of our lives will lead to societal regression. 85% of all electricity generated in the world is via oil, coal or natural gas. Nuclear, hydro make up about 10% with solar, wind and geothermal rounding it out at 5%. It is not just 'generating electricity' that we will miss out on should we prevail down this inevitable act of stupidity. It is the empowerment of individuals to lift themselves out of poverty that we will snuff out. For a few dollars a woman can buy a truck and start a delivery business, A man can start an online service, people can connect and market all because of oil and the tecnological marvels it has given us. Deny these people the open use of a proven commodity and you destroy the engine of economic growth; ideas. Destroy ideas, destroy growth and you destroy man.
What Climate Change are we talking about here anyways? Computers are still very dumb instruments. If you feed a computer all the algorithms and parameters to tell it to jump of a cliff (barring the sprouting of legs) it will jump off a cliff! If you feed the computer data to model a forecast of global disaster based on the input you feed it it will spit out exactly that which you have told it to do. Yet professors and activists point to this very slanted model driven data and they call it science. Consensus is NOT science. ( Doct. R.D.Lang, "The Politics of Experience" 1964) Consensus is 10 people in a room filling up with smoke from a fire. 9 of them agree to wait for the fire department because they opened a window. The crazy person is that 1 guy who says 'lets climb out the window and down the fire escape'. Climate Change Deniers (as the AG Maura Healey calls them) are those denying the consensus of scientists wo are well funded and who point to a global catastrophe if we do not abandon oil now. We are now openly prosecuting those very people who offer a differing opinion. Isn't science suppose to be tested? Given the countering data of no disasterously measurable temperature climb, climate stability in general, a 50 year lull on hurricane activity, human advancement because of oil, rise in incomes and ability to combat any disaster with technology; does this not present the scientific version of 'testing the theory'?
Lets look at one immediate and definitive example. In 2013 a research vessel embarked on a voyage to Antarctica to study the melting ice and Climate Change. 100 miles out from the very bay they intended to set up camp they got stuck in some of the thickest sea ice in over 100 years. Two of the worlds biggest and most powerful ice breaking ships failed to rescue them. Eventually the Chinese sent helicopters to ferry them out... All of this powered by oil. In fact, had oil NOT been a factor in this rescue they would have all perished. The activists stayed entertained with internet, satellite uplinks, hot food, hot showers, cell phones and well designed thermal clothing... All because of oil.. The very thing they were all convinced was destroying our climate. In point of fact; it was the climate who almost destroyed them
I will depart for a moment and lend one iota of support to the anti-oil lunacy. First, do no harm. We must weigh the benefit vs the risk. The benefit of oil is there for us all to see. The risk is also there for us all to see. But the former outweighs the latter and we can mitigate those risks. Conversely, abandoning our use of oil is unproven, problematic, un-foreseen, un-knowable and frought with risk. Risks we neither know how to mitigate if we can at all.
Oil is in every facet of our lives so much so we cannot fathom it, yet enjoy it's abundance. Oil removed from every facet of our lives is abundently un-fathomable.
So, first; do no harm and morally embrace Climate Sanity.
.... And That Is The Diatribe....