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View Diary: Open Thread for Night Owls: LeVine—Will unconventional oil abundance kill clean-tech? (159 comments)

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  •  I was just reading today that we may have (18+ / 0-)

    passed the tipping point and nothing we do will mitigate the damage we have already wrought.  The disappearing rain forest, drowned coastlines, increasing number of extinct species and shrinking ice cap all point to too little too late for us.  Some of the same experts touting the inexhaustible oil supply are the same ones who assured us climate change was no big deal

    •  There Are Many Tipping Points. (12+ / 0-)

      There will always be another tipping point we can choose to pass or not to pass.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:43:50 PM PDT

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      •  As a zoologist of nearly 50 years (5+ / 0-)

        all I can say to your remarks is that they are extraordinarily optimistic, much more so than just whistling past the graveyard.

        My calculations based on equations and boundary conditions that I have studied, suggest to me that humanity has as little as 200-300 years at the current rate of climate change.

        After that, the few humans that are left give the ensuing chaos will be fighting for the last few places on the planet that will support food crops in sufficient quantity.  So few have an appreciation of the magnitude and rate of change that is taking place, nor do they have any idea of the ecological consequences of the changes that will unfold.  The scariest thing is that the momentum and inertia of the system is so large, that any window for human intervention is rapidly closing.  

        We like to delude ourselves into thinking that the waves of Middle Eastern, North African, Mexican, and South Asian chaos are the result of political and social factors.  However, underlying these are profound environmental changes that are pushing more and more people to the edge of ecological support.   As these environments further degrade, expect even more turmoil and upheaval as ultimately environmental conditions determine what human strategies, lifestyles, cutures, and political systems will ensure survival.

        As Hansen as suggested, combustion of the Alberta tar sands, will likely be the end of the ballgame for humanity.  Dramatically, accelerating out-gasing of methane in the high arctic suggest that the positive feedback loops that were a major factor in Permian extinction are just now beginning to kick in in earnest.  Once the permafrost trapped methane clathrates are released, probably within the next 50-100 years, human extinction will likely be unavoidable in the next 100, as temperatures in temperate regions now providing the bulk of food and economic and political stability will be extirpated both in marine and terrestrial systems.

        Refugia such as the Pacific Northwest will be few and far between, not only because few places on earth will be left that will permit crop growth (low lattitudes too hot and soils too dry and non-evaporated water too scarce and high latitudes to little  light for half the year for most food species and too poor soils in sufficient quantity and too prone to destruction as these will become regions of strategic military importance that must be fought for at all costs).

        I used to snicker at the doomsday grade B sci-fi movies of life after armaggeddon, but now I realize they are far more prophetic than most of the scientifically and especially biologically illiterate public could possibly recognize.

    •  I read that article (10+ / 0-)

      just before coming here.  It's incredibly depressing that the very mention of climate change brings out the knives from the GOP side.

      Of all the subjects that should be nonpartisan, the future of our planet should be at the top of the list.  Instead, climate change has become just one more hot button, one more opportunity for short term political gain.

    •  You would think.. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, nellgwen, kyril, JeffW

      Americans would realize the the security implications of rising oceans, not only for ourselves but world wide as well. Imagine the scope of global unrest will be a bitch? I don't think you'd be wrong.

      But everyone just want's to kick that can on down the road instead instead of dealing with the issue by pushing conservation and renewable sources. There are a myriad of good reasons to do it. People don't want to face the facts.

      Then they came for the trade unionists,
      and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

      by Ex Con on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 09:13:35 PM PDT

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      •  Rising oceans spread across the land, making more (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dkosdan, JeffW

        horizontal space for aircraft carriers and more vertical space for submarines to maintain security.

      •  While sea-level rises will displace millions (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Simplify, kyril, entlord, JeffW

        the weak point for human survival is the patchy nature of soils and the limited availability of irrigation that will be left viable as global mean temperatures rise dramatically, leaving most soils in tropical and temperate climates too dry to support crop production, or rains too sporadic and irregular, while higher latitudes with poor soils and difficult to adapt to light conditions will provide few prospects for making up for the losses.

        If one can look beyond the superficial political, religious, and cultural issues that seem to place much of North Africa, South Asia, the Middle East and Central America in chaos, one can recognize that entire cultures and political systems are being pushed past their ecological sustainability, leading to more collapse and more chaos.  Our turn can only be measured now in years and decades.

        Most folks are too poorly trained in biology to recognize the implications of rising soil temperatures for most human and terrestrial life.  Peering back into geological time, when dramatic elevations in temperature took place, such as in the Permian and during the Early-Mid Eocene, point to monumental faunal and floral changes that are only now beginning to be fully appreciated.  When one recognizes that temperatures are rising far faster than they did during these geological periods and the former led to the extinction of 99% of all life on the planet, the prognosis is not good.

        It is ironic that ignorance carried forth under the banner of salvation shall become the instrument of our destruction and that crusaders such as James Inhoff and the Koch Brothers shall go down in history as enablers of greater mass murder than Hitler could ever have aspired to.  What was meant to be moral and economically righteous will prove to be more immoral and more economically catastrophic than anyone could have ever recognized.

    •  Might as well have fast fossil-fuel cars... (7+ / 0-)

      ...while it lasts, eh?

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 09:19:15 PM PDT

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    •  I'm not buying it myself. It is the rate of (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      entlord, dkosdan, kyril

      return that counts.  How much to produce how much.  I read with the tar sands it is 3:1.  Then I read the Amish get 10:1 with their low tech ways.

      •  It's a funny thing. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        entlord, mightymouse, notdarkyet, JeffW

        We keep clinging to oil that gets harder and more expensive to produce and selling it to a global market where we compete with more and more people who wish to drive, etc.

        The only people who win in that scenario are oil companies and...

        of course,

        we can't really make more oil.  We just keep using up the stuff that's already there, regardless of where we find it.

        And yet, we hear bout "our oil" as if we had nationalized the stuff.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 04:35:36 AM PDT

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    •  Despite what investors, consultants (7+ / 0-)

      and press reporters say about the possibilities of the U.S. being energy independent, if that independence doesn't include lowering domestic energy prices, convincing the populace to go along with whatever steps will be necessary is going to be a hard slog.  From the link:

      Ultimately, Klare asserts, the drilling will have to do more than increase energy security. "For the boom to win widespread converts," he said, "it has to result in cheaper prices at the gas pump, and so far that's not happening; more drilling in U.S. wilderness areas will not change that either."
      And the only way more U.S. production can both effect energy independence and lower fuel prices is to move our production, in whole or in part, out of the world market. That would necessitate at least partially nationalizing the oil companies.

      Fighting with both the oil companies (and their supporters) and the country's citizens is certainly too much in the present political atmosphere.  And I don't think that atmosphere is going to change enough to keep such a fight from breaking the country apart politically anytime in the foreseeable future.  Most importantly, we would need a forceful,  charismatic leader to direct the effort, the likes of which we haven't seen in most citizens' lifetimes.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 10:11:06 PM PDT

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      •  regarding energy independence for the US (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, mightymouse, Eric Nelson

        I have not seen a cogent explanation of how we, who are engaged in a global economy with one of the more level playing field in generations for the major players, can expect to treat energy as a carve out from that global economy short of nationalizing the energy industry.

        We are generations too late to pull up the drawbridge now

      •  Yup. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse

        And do something about those nasty Chinese folk who've been buying oil leases in Texas and oil companies in Canada.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 04:36:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "energy independence" is another BS trope (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW

        Pols like it - makes it sound like they have a plan when they really don't. I guess it polls well. Easier to talk about the rosy fantasy world of "energy independence" than actual real-world constraints.

        Anyway, the US is not energy-independent, not by a long shot.

        and without nationalized resources the phrase is meaningless anyway. Producers sell where they get the best price.

        An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

        by mightymouse on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 05:57:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Recent Forbes article highlights the fact that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, JeffW, Eric Nelson

      small scale solar has dropped in price so rapidly that investors are losing interest.
      Before, they were saying the price was too high.
      We are going to need government action to get it on every roof.
      It's just a small part of the equation, but an important part, because it reduces the enslavement of poor and working class to the utility co. and it creates jobs, in the cities as well as rural areas.
      Everybody on this site knows that, of course.

      I'd rather have a buntle afrota-me than a frottle a bunta-me.

      by David54 on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 04:22:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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