Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Eternal Burning Oil Slick

We must close out the oil trilogy with the ridiculous defense of religious slurs used in part two of the series on liberal ignorance and big oil. Here for your continued enjoyment is the poetic prose:
Religion is related because
Ignoring the developing oil crisis,
Denying the reality of global warming induced by industrialization,
And believing in the second coming
Are all
'Magical Thinking'
And therefore
And make the situation worse, not better.
I must reply is 'magical science' a religion? If so, then I agree. Again, all three points are incorrect.

1) Is there really a immediate oil crisis? No. Lots of hype, rhetoric, and ignorance. Our per dollar GDP spending on energy has decreased in the last thirty years. Fluctuations in the price of crude are entirely consistent such a market and with long term inflation. Could we be seeing a period where energy costs begin to increase above the very cheap energy we have been enjoying? That is a reasonable scenario. None of this negates the fact that we will have to develop new sources of energy at some point in the future, and it is prudent to research that now. I am just repeating myself at this point...

2) Has so called 'global warming' been caused by industrialization? There is no concrete evidence that global temperature is directly correlated to anthropogenic CO2, how many times do I have to repeat that? And the scientific community seems to have swallowed the blue pill on this one. A good example of what I mean is expressed by Dr. Lindzen in this opinion piece. He is not alone in his concern, as many very green (enviro wacko) faculty across the land are beginning to question the validity surrounding these dire and ludicrous claims of climatic destruction.

3) The real second coming came and went. It would take a while to explain, but as you don't believe anyhow, why now do you attribute Victorian era Christian mythology to me? Don't jump in the mud without boots on.

A real danger is scientist making 'pie in the sky' predictions to go along with pop culture hype. They should know better. Part of it stems from the avenue of funding (congress) where there are very few scientists and in order to secure large scale funding, you must create a viable threat to civilization. With wiling accomplices in media, the unholy trinity is secure (money - power - influence). For many recent moons, if you did not include 'global climate change' in your proposals, you receive little attention. Forty years ago it was 'Nuclear Winter', twenty years ago it was 'El Niño'. Society will accept spending money on things they fear. They rarely spend large amounts of money on projects that do not capture the imagination.

Which conveniently brings us back to alternative energy. There is a concerted effort now to investigate new large scale sources of energy. Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) was a hot topic for the last few years. In principal there is massive amounts of energy in the temperature difference between the deep ocean and the surface. That difference represents many gigawatts of sustainable energy, yet the cost of recovery and environmental impact are unknown and assumed to be immense. Fusion is a future hope of many, yet the cost and time to achieve viable production is daunting. Solar is clearly un-implementable in very large scale. Bio-fuel is similarly stuck in the small scale category.

Where does that leave the imagination? Who knows what discovery, whether principal or engineering, is just around the corner. But the reality of energy needs are immediate, so what is the best choice? Clean Nuclear is what will bridge the gap in my view. Reprocessing existing 'spent fuel' and generating electricity at the same time just sound right. Using that to crack water and then replace many of the large petroleum users with hydrogen is a very attractive path. Roll out of safe hydrogen delivery on a large scale will take decades though. Whatever happens, the same debate will occur, with the same lack of common sense economics. In that prediction I am certain.

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