Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The Climate-Energy Problem : A Response

Engineers Ireland yesterday published a fairly in-depth article that caught my attention. There are some points I do agree with, for example, on the conservation of oil and the contribution of fossil fuels and Industrial Revolution to people's lives. I have done a short rebuttal of some of the other points made --

It goes without saying that the second stage of the Industrial Revolution is irreversible and must be sustained by new energy sources because the vast majority of people now reside in cities and earn their living in economic sectors which did not exist before 1900. These people cannot now return to their great grandparents’ employment in agriculture which has been mechanised.

1) Developed world people are not reproducing at rates like before when  huge families were the norm. Only poorer regions like Bangladesh and India have sustainable birth rates (higher than average IQ populations tend to have lower birth rates - see Japan and Hong Kong for example). If people in these poorer regions are using 35 times less oil per person than in the developed world (as stated later in article), then they can return much easier to an agricultural society as before. The Industrial Revolution in the developed world is therefore sustainable if there were low levels of immigration.

The problem is that this transition is unsustainable without the enormous mechanical energy output of more than a billion newly-invented oil, coal and gas-fuelled machines which have caused atmospheric carbon dioxide to reach 400 parts per million.
2) Co2 levels of 400 parts per million are low historically speaking and has helped greening of the planet.

An oil-burning heater does not increase anybody’s productivity. It has an HPM of zero hence heating oil is wasted oil, yet over 30% of global oil production is used for heating. Moreover the 700 litres of diesel emits almost 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide, yet biomass is an alternative which is both carbon-neutral and cheaper than oil.

3) For biomass to be sustainable you would have to cut down trees with a handsaw and transport it with a horse or wheelbarrow so you're back to pre-Industrial Revolution times.

It could and should initiate reforestation, dedesertification and carbon capture.

4) Renewables are often built on forested land displacing green spaces which should be left as forest areas (see Coillte) . Extra CO2 in atmosphere is leading to de-desertification in regions like the Sahara.

During the recent financial crisis in the US, the pragmatic Ben Bernanke pronounced, “Quantitive Easing is wrong in theory but it works in practise, and the Fed will drop money from helicopters if required.”

If something is wrong in theory but works in practise then query the theory. In the situation Bernanke found himself conventional economic theory had become obsolete and by dropping money from helicopters he averted an unnecessary decline in demand in the US economy which is now consumer-driven since the cost of production is so low.

Today an increase in the money in circulation causes an increase in demand which causes an increase in the quantity of products coming down existing, paid-for, automated mass-production lines (and from China, Korea etc.) This benefits manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and consumers.

In fact the exact opposite is true and the following chapter makes the irrefutable case that the free-market has within itself the seeds of its own destruction. 

5) Printing of the money supply, welfare state, government debt, mass immigration are all unsustainable.  Want to reduce CO2 ? Then you need to tackle all of these. These factors are not the fault of the free market - they are the caused by Government policy.

Why should any highly profitable oil company be serious about developing an alternative-to-oil which is less profitable than oil?

6) Oil has a high Energy Return on Investment (EROI). That is, the energy emitted through consumption is many times that of energy required to extract it. The same is not true for alternatives at the moment. It is interesting that as wind energy has increased in Ireland, offsite diesel generation has also done so. There are now nearly 400MW of demand side units.

It is interesting that all talk of Peak Oil has stopped or is not taken seriously anymore.

At any rate, why should it be up to Oil companies to develop a serious alternative ? Were motor cars developed by the horse industry ?

By Owen Martin


  1. When I came back from the USA having gone through a fairly intensive period of engineering education. I looked at joining the Institute of Engineers of Ireland. Then I said to myself it reflects the Ireland in which I grew up a state driven agricultural engineering institute. More interested in agricultural aquatics and subsidies than rational science. I saved myself some money and declined to join. There are plenty more prestigious engineering institutes to join. It appears to me nothing has changed . It still is represents the back hander arse licking nature of Irish society . Look for more subsidies as real work, with out subsidies, is pretty demanding. Incidentally climate change is caused by solar variation not by increasing co2 emissions. Which , co2 emissions,are inbibed by trees at a rapid rate and are not floating around in the atmosphere to cause the claimed damage . So the fundamental basis of this article is based on irrationality. The truth is solar variation causes climate change.

  2. Politics and science can co-exist, but they science must take precedent. The climate change scare lead to a reversal where politics took precedence. The by passing of legal requirement to assess all plans or programmes which can impact on the environment left no counting of the consequences of green policies.

    If society returns to the horse and cart or relies on unassessed follies, there will be hardship on a scale which will dwarf anything resulting for global warming.

  3. Google You Tube Mini Ice age is coming. it explains this hoax

  4. A group of scientists have called for a review and changes to weather stations. I have long drew attention to the fact that there is no way to check data and that it is manipulated before publication to give a false result to promote warming. Ireland has been wheeling out Professor John Sweeney who spouts climate change gibberage. His colleague at Maynooth University Professor Peter Thorne is among those who want change.

    One weather station which I tend to thrust is Cape Norris Jesop. Its daily record go back to 2005. I can find no evidence of warming by comparing periods then to now Here is a link to the article in the daily caller. or google ---Scientists admit we need better thermometers to measure climate change -- No one can be trusted in this bout of mass hysteria.