Vail Valley Voices: Global warming solved, automatically |

Vail Valley Voices: Global warming solved, automatically

Bill Sepmeier
Vail, CO, Colorado

According to the Sept. 16 edition of Bloomberg: “The average world ocean temperature from June through August was the warmest since 1880 for any Northern Hemisphere summer, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”

“In June, the U.S. Global Change Research Program said global warming is causing drought, rising sea levels and flooding from heavy rainfall in the U.S., threatening agriculture, coastal regions, water resources and public health. This group said in 2007 global emissions need to be cut by 50 percent to 85 percent by 2050 to stand a chance of keeping the global temperature increase to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit since industrialization in the 1800s, which might be enough to prevent the worst case scenarios of rising sea levels and collapse of established agriculture. The U.S. Congress is debating legislation to create a cap- and-trade program that would set an overall carbon dioxide limit. U.N.-sponsored talks among 192 nations aim to draft a new treaty to fight climate change in December in Copenhagen.”

Somebody really needs to introduce the global warming scientists to the oil industry’s geologists. Perhaps these folks could all drive over the Starbuck’s for a coffee, since they really should chat a bit. Get to know each other.

If one knows anything about the well established concept of “peak oil,” and we’re talking about a concept that’s been around and proven correct many times on less-than-global-scale since it was introduced in the late 1950’s by Shell’s Dr. M. K. Hubbart, all of this global warming planning is, at best, silly and at worst, a borderline-criminal diversion of resources and capital.

Global warming caused by man’s burning of fossil fuels, if that’s what causes it, is a self-correcting issue thanks to already declining oil production. There’s simply no reason to spend any more time on it.

Since oil was first produced commercially 150 years ago, the planet’s oil reserves have been developed along an exponential rate along the growth side of a standard bell curve. (Exponential, until one reaches the top, or peak of the bell, that is.)

Most petroleum geologists and senior oil executives agree that Dr. Hubbert was correct in his calculations back in the 1950s, and that humanity has reached the top of oil’s global production curve.

According to the International Energy Agency and now, the U.S. government’s equivalent oil watchdog, global production has recently turned around and is now declining globally at a rate of 6.7 percent annually. This obviously means there will be about 7 percent less oil burned per year from now on, until this resource, petroleum, is totally depleted at some point in the not too distant future.

Global warming, ostensibly caused by carbon emissions from ships, planes, automobiles, trucks and diesel trains and by the burning of coal to produce electricity requires no complex “cap and trade” marketplace to solve.

Conservation — lowered carbon emissions — from now on will be automatic whether we humans like it or not. Civilization will pollute less, since we’re now producing less petroleum each year. We’ll burn less coal, since the entire pollution economy starts with and is maintained by oil. It cannot survive on a mass scale with less of it.

If the goal is to reduce carbon emission by 85 percent by 2050 and oil production is declining at about 7 percent a year now as we roll over the top of a bell curve, which means production decline will increase rapidly as we slide down the other side, simple arithmetic indicates that this significant reduction goal by the global wamers will be no problem to achieve.

They’re actually planning to burn more oil than there is in the pipeline.

At today’s rates of decline, the people of the planet can only burn 93 percent of the oil this year that we did a year ago. If the total oil burned last year is assigned a value of 100 percent, in only 10 years, by 2020, the global oil production capability will have declined to only about 40 percentof last year’s total capability (assuming a nice 7 percent annual decline and not a more accelerated slope). That’s a 60 percent decline in just 10 years.

By 2030, global oil production capability will be less than 25 percentof today’s levels, a 75 percent decline in only 20 years.

Broad demand will have crashed long before 2030, since our cheap-oil-powered industrial society and global economy will have collapsed almost entirely with only 50 percent of the underlying energy available, as energy costs explode.

Reduce consumption by 85 percent by 2050?

In reality, there simply will not be an oil-based energy supply available by that time.

Perhaps whatever military powers remain then may still be fighting over the remaining crude, using “strategic petroleum reserves.”

This is not to say the people living under these regimes will have access to oil or a modern economy.

Strategic oil will be reserved for the military (and ultra-elite class, if such a class remains outside of the military and paramilitary class by then.)

Global warming is a self-correcting problem.

These are, therefore, the good old days. The best of old days. There’s no reason to spend any time or money on “conservation” when supplies are limited by nature. Why further enrich the non-oil-producing elite class through “cap and trade” schemes that simply shovel what’s left of the world’s wealth into their coffers?

At this point, it’s probably wiser to enjoy the amazing mass luxury we have available and let the planet take care of itself.

Perhaps humanity has a place on the planet after 2030 or so, perhaps not. At this point, our future as a civilization based on cheap, reliable oil energy, the future we have expected all our lives, simply won’t happen as we’ve been led to believe it would.

Given this reality, that these days are the best of the good old days, we probably should do exactly what we’ve been doing: accumulating as much of everything as we can while we can and damn the debt service, since there will never be more ease in most people’s lives as time marches on into an oil-starved future.

When conservation is automatic, like it is now that we’re “over the top,” what’s the point of voluntary cutback? To leave more for the rich people who’ll be able to afford it long after we can’t?

If you can make a few million selling some hope of survival to the few who are even aware of the facts, take the money and pretend it will keep your genes in the much smaller pool that’s coming.

If you can’t, live as well as you can now. Life is good, as they say, and it will never be materially richer than it is today.

After all, when the financial class figures out nobody’s going to be able to repay a 30-year mortgage, the credit squeeze of the past year will seem no worse than a teenage zit on a long-forgotten date night.

Nothing can be done about peak oil, but it does take care of the global warming problem.

Finally, some good news.

Bill Sepmeier lives off the grid on Sweetwater Creek.

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