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Of course There is the Chinese slowdown, etc. But there seems to be panic selling in oil.

Does anyone here have thoughts or analysis to share?

Sincerely,

jan

:)
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Slowing economies plus increased production when Iran comes out from under sanctions. Plus govts dependent on oil money to cover expenses want to sell more oil to make up lost income with more volume.
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Slowing economies plus increased production when Iran comes out from under sanctions. Plus govts dependent on oil money to cover expenses
want to sell more oil to make up lost income with more volume.


Yup! Some slowing economies pump more oil to compensate, Some export more military arms. Some print more money. None of these work in the long run.
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Does anyone here have thoughts or analysis to share?

My suggestion: think longer term.

There's no shortage of energy, but a gradually growing shortage of dirt cheap energy.
The recent supply gluts, and shortages for that matter, are really just
little squiggles in a long downward slope in supply of oil at any given
price and a long upward slope in terms of average market price.
The shale oil miracle is more like a temporary remission of a fatal progressive disease.
The patient is going to die, and this is going to be the cause of death,
the debates are only about how sick, how soon, for how long.

Always remember there is no such thing as petroleum production.
You can move it around or burn it it transform it into plastic bottles, but nobody makes it.
Keep the long view in mind whenever you read anything about the market
effects of oil and you'll be ahead of most analysts in terms of insight.
In every article you read, replace the word "production" with "extraction".

Possible long range implications:
Petroleum is incredibly useful stuff, with some applications that are amazingly inelastic,
so people will keep digging it up even as it gets really expensive.
The work done to get each incremental unit of petroleum will rise over time.
That will mean more work for service firms relative to the size of the market.
More difficult working conditions, so more accidents per unit extraction.
Aside from the human aspect, that has implications for the investment profiles of petroleum and insurance firms.
More awkward locations, so more political shifts per unit extraction,
perhaps even more domination of state actors relative to the remaining private sector players.
Spare supply will evaporate, meaning supply and demand averaging closer
to balance, meaning much wilder swings in short term prices.
I wouldn't be surprised to hear that Mr Taleb likes the look of medium term $200 call options.
Not that it's remotely likely, but that it may be a whole lot more likely
that most people assume and therefore the options might be badly mispriced.

Jim
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For oil to be so cheap is irrational. It's so useful and so precious. Do you ever wonder if the price of oil fluctuates more as a tool of political will, than of mr. Market?

J
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Do you ever wonder if the price of oil fluctuates more as a tool of political will, than of mr. Market?

I think the oil market is too large and broad based to be manipulated politically. So in answer to your question, no.

Jeb
Long BRKB
You can see all my holdings here: http://my.fool.com/profile/TMFJebbo/info.aspx
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Jim, your discussion focuses on the supply & a bit on non-energy uses of oil, but not on the BIG drivers of demand. I'm no expert on oil but late last year I parsed through what a few of the Saudis said carefully and concluded this

The Saudis think the they have more oil than they will be able to sell in any foreseeable future. I guess they think the the combo of shale oil supply & green-energy policies destroying worldwide demand makes it so. This conclusion also is one of the only ways to explain why they prefer to sell

N units of oil @ $55

over

0.9xN units of oil @ $100.

I can guess that they're also glad to hurt ISIS's oil revenue but the main conclusion seems to be that they think the world may have more oil than it'll ever need, given solar, wind, electric autos, etc.

I know what I just said is heretical, but that may be the big picture.
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the main conclusion seems to be that they think the world may have more oil than it'll ever need, given solar, wind, electric autos, etc.



One thing to remember in all of this is that crude oil leads to far more products that simply those used as fuel.

What's in the pipeline to replace all of those uses??
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Right, I agree cc33. As I said, I'm no expert on oil. If I were, I'd undoubtedly quote you some %s for demand areas here & then quote some supply in terms of "total resources" or something. I won't. I didn't say I believe it. The point of my post was that everyone (almost everyone?) takes it as given that the world will "someday" run out of oil. I suppose I did until I read & saw some interviews with the Saudis late last year.

The point was that when you look at what the Saudis are doing & you read all of what they've said, it may well be that

The Saudis Think They'll NEVER Be Able To Sell ALL Of Their Oil if they keep the price high enough to allow full development of shale resources.

I saw the Saudi oil minister on TV & from what he said I thought "There's a guy who thinks he'll NEVER be able to sell ALL of his inventory at this price. Never."

If the price stays low & a lot less shale gets drilled, that's another story.
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ps: I suppose more accurately that should read

"it may well be that

The Saudis Think They'll NEVER Be Able To Sell ALL Of Their Oil if they keep the price high enough to allow full development of shale resources & full development of solar, wind, etc etc."

A lot of the development of renewables is based on climate rather than near-term economics though, so the Saudis may take that as a given.
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One thing to remember in all of this is that crude oil leads to far more products that simply those used as fuel.

Right: at some point we well not be able to burn the remaining oil, not because it will destroy the environment, not even because it is too expensive in some sense, but because it will be needed as a lubricant. Even synthetic motor oil is manufactured from petroleum, for example.
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My suggestion: think longer term.

There's no shortage of energy, but a gradually growing shortage of dirt cheap energy.
The recent supply gluts, and shortages for that matter, are really just
little squiggles in a long downward slope in supply of oil at any given
price and a long upward slope in terms of average market price.
The shale oil miracle is more like a temporary remission of a fatal progressive disease.
The patient is going to die, and this is going to be the cause of death,
the debates are only about how sick, how soon, for how long.

Always remember there is no such thing as petroleum production.
You can move it around or burn it it transform it into plastic bottles, but nobody makes it.
Keep the long view in mind whenever you read anything about the market
effects of oil and you'll be ahead of most analysts in terms of insight.
In every article you read, replace the word "production" with "extraction".

I agree that long-term thinking is critical. But there are two very critical elements that I believe have changed with the shale oil 'miracle'
#1: Decline rates from shale oil are much steeper than conventional reserves. Decline rates can often be upwards of 50% per year compared to 5-15% in traditional reservoirs. Therefore, once the infusion of cash stops there will be a significant and rapid decline in production. This will at some point be a drastic variation from previous cycles in the supply/demand curves. Picture driving using the rear view mirror and going from nice sweeping curves in the plains to the hairpin curves of the Rocky Mountains.
#2: Shale oil is much more capital intensive than traditional production. Wells cost 4-5 times as much to bring into production and because of the decline rates I previously discussed, there is a large risk of permanent loss of capital if there is even a temporary dip in prices at the wrong time. Because there is such a large percentage of the well's ultimate recovery regained in the first 12-18 months of production, there is also a risk that low prices during this time will permanently eliminate the possibility of achieving a profit whereas traditional wells with flat declines always have a chance to catch a boom cycle many years into production. Because of this, I think it will be a very slow process to get investors back into place once the price recovers. They will simply want a larger margin of safety before being burned again.

From what I can see, oil still cannot be discovered and produced for less than about $70 per barrel and I don't think even the current demand rates can be met for long at $50 production costs without additional exploration & development. Therefore I feel the longer & further we stay below $70/bbl the harder and higher the recovery will be. I feel that even now, if we were to have oil back at +/- $60/bbl by the end of the year it would till climb to over $100 by the end of 2016.
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Always remember there is no such thing as petroleum production.
You can move it around or burn it it transform it into plastic bottles, but nobody makes it.


This is actually NOT true. People DO make oil. Two good examples: http://www.sapphireenergy.com/ makes petroleum from algae. http://www.sgbiofuels.com/ makes petroleum from jatropha seeds. In both cases, production costs are somewhere in the $50-$100/barrel range. Not low enough to compete with just pumping it out of the ground. But PLENTY low enough to, I would WAG, guarantee petroleum never costs more than $200/barrel.

In both cases, I have linked to companies I like and have visited. But there are many companies involved in both technologies, many algae to petroleum players and many jatropha to petroleum players.

It is not petroleum which is a non-renewable resource. It is FOSSIL petroleum which is a non-renewable resource (at least on a timescale the human race is willing to consider at this time).

This is not a trivial point. The concerns of oil disappearing and our having to do without all the other things that can be made from petroleum are, essentially, simply wrong. As long as sunlight continues to hit the planet, it will be possible to make petroleum out of readily available renewable stuff. And the prices won't even be much higher than they are now, or have been at times over the past few years. What's a factor of two between friends? Certainly not the end of the world.

R:
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R,

Very interesting posts. Thanks for chiming in!

Jan
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Oil isn't going away, it's just a function of what price it will have to sell at to meet world demand.

Todd
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Oil isn't going away, it's just a function of what price it will have to sell at to meet world demand.

I disagree. I think oil must go away in the same way that coal must go away. Long before we are unable to find any more, we will arrive at the point where we cannot afford to burn any more because of the pollution, climate change, etc., that using it causes. I believe we have already reached that point.
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<<we will arrive at the point where we cannot afford to burn any more because of the pollution, climate change, etc., that using it causes. I believe we have already reached that point.>>

We do not understand climate change nearly enough to draw any conclusions about how to alter our lives or even if we should alter them at all. We already know the computer models used to draw conclusions about climate are wrong. There are not viable, economic alternatives to oil so oil will be used for many decades to come.

Todd
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// We already know the computer models used to draw conclusions about climate are wrong. There are not viable, economic alternatives to oil.//

"WE"?

To whom do you refer? The reliability of carbon dioxide influenced climate change studies have a confidence level comparable to the tobacco studies that have led to all of the interventions in that area. While you may feel comfortable doing nothing to mitigate the massive overburden of carbon dioxide being imposed upon the earth's biosphere, virtually all of the scientific evidence is to the contrary.

To make matters worse, the effects of this ongoing and growing burden may not be linear. In other words, we can't keep doing it 'until we need glasses', if you know what I mean.
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<<The reliability of carbon dioxide influenced climate change studies have a confidence level comparable to the tobacco studies...>>


http://e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2151

Dyson: I think the difference between me and most of the experts is that I think I have a much wider view of the whole subject. I was involved in climate studies seriously about 30 years ago. That’s how I got interested. There was an outfit called the Institute for Energy Analysis at Oak Ridge. I visited Oak Ridge many times, and worked with those people, and I thought they were excellent. And the beauty of it was that it was multi-disciplinary. There were experts not just on hydrodynamics of the atmosphere, which of course is important, but also experts on vegetation, on soil, on trees, and so it was sort of half biological and half physics. And I felt that was a very good balance.

And there you got a very strong feeling for how uncertain the whole business is, that the five reservoirs of carbon all are in close contact — the You can learn a lot from [models], but you cannot learn what’s going to happen 10 years from now.” atmosphere, the upper level of the ocean, the land vegetation, the topsoil, and the fossil fuels. They are all about equal in size. They all interact with each other strongly. So you can’t understand any of them unless you understand all of them. Essentially that was the conclusion. It’s a problem of very complicated ecology, and to isolate the atmosphere and the ocean just as a hydrodynamics problem makes no sense.

Thirty years ago, there was a sort of a political split between the Oak Ridge community, which included biology, and people who were doing these fluid dynamics models, which don’t include biology. They got the lion’s share of money and attention. And since then, this group of pure modeling experts has become dominant.

I got out of the field then. I didn’t like the way it was going. It left me with a bad taste.

Syukuro Manabe, right here in Princeton, was the first person who did climate models with enhanced carbon dioxide and they were excellent models. And he used to say very firmly that these models are very good tools for understanding climate, but they are not good tools for predicting climate. I think that’s absolutely right. They are models, but they don’t pretend to be the real world. They are purely fluid dynamics. You can learn a lot from them, but you cannot learn what’s going to happen 10 years from now.

What’s wrong with the models. I mean, I haven’t examined them in detail, (but) I know roughly what’s in them. And the basic problem is that in the case of climate, very small structures, like clouds, dominate. And you cannot model them in any realistic way. They are far too small and too diverse.

So they say, ‘We represent cloudiness by a parameter,’ but I call it a fudge factor. So then you have a formula, which tells you if you have so much cloudiness and so much humidity, and so much temperature, and so much pressure, what will be the result... But if you are using it for a different climate, when you have twice as much carbon dioxide, there is no guarantee that that’s right. There is no way to test it.

We know that plants do react very strongly to enhanced carbon dioxide. At Oak Ridge, they did lots of experiments with enhanced carbon dioxide and it has a drastic effect on plants because it is the main food source for the plants... So if you change the carbon dioxide drastically by a factor of two, the whole behavior of the plant is different. Anyway, that’s so typical of the things they ignore. They are totally missing the biological side, which is probably more than half of the real system."
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The world demand for oil is down. That's it. the price of oil, the most traded commodity in the world, is dependent upon the last 2-3 million barrels of marginal oil.....the most expensive produced that can be sold. Just a small drop in demand triggers a large change in oil price.

China is now undergoing major trauma economically - stay tuned - it is the cause of lower oil prices.

Despite the current $42/bbl for WTI (West Texas Intermediate) - the benchmark for US oil price, there is still hundreds of millions being thrown at US shale producers. There is major consolidation underway in the shale service industry - from oil rigs to trucking to support operations. Yet, ever more oil is being produced now - this likely to taper off and then plummet in a few years.

Shale oil is fairly high price. few are 'making money' but still pump away, having to pay interest and produce oil to satisfy debt requirements. It's a slow death spiral taking hundreds of millions more each year. SO far, the money is still appearing.

All the oil major companies have scaled back oil exploration budgets and cap spending budgets by 20-30%. That will impact future production.

Where will be go? That all depends upon world increase in demand, and any increase in Iranian production.

Saudi brags about how much oil it is producing. What they don't tell you is that now a significant amount of their own production is used internally, and that is growing at 15-20% a year for new water desal plants, for electricity plants..... just like other countries where gas is 15c/gal, demand goes through the roof as the populations soar. Same in Venezuela with 'cheap gas'. They uses more and more of their own production and export less. That's why their big push for solar.....and nuke reactors. If they don't stem internal use, within 10-15 years, they will use 100% of their own oil.

So where does that leave us? Oil could stay under $70 for years. Remember, the rest of the world pays 'Brent Price' - now about $50/bll. And that is for 'light sweet crude' the best grade oil. Most of the production is a lot crappier and sells for 40-70% of that price.

- --

"I disagree. I think oil must go away in the same way that coal must go away. Long before we are unable to find any more, we will arrive at the point where we cannot afford to burn any more because of the pollution, climate change, etc., that using it causes. I believe we have already reached that point. "

The world will use every drop of oil and coal it can produce. Simple. India and China are still building a coal power plant a week. Some are replacing others that are less efficient, but demand for power in both countries is skyrocketing.

Let me know when you buy your electric car - I assume quickly? To save the planet? And give up your lawn mower, jet ski, boat, airplane travel, bus rides, and home electricity produced by fossil fuels. Let me know when you never ever buy anything made from or using 'plastics' and go back to 100% cotton clothes and leather shoes made without fossil fuels on hand labor farms, 'ginned' by hand, manufactured without fossil fuel electricity, transported by animal or other non fossil fuel means.

Same for your food supply. Let me know when you grow it all yourself and don't depend upon fossil fuel transport. Have your ice box operating or your own solar power to run your refrigerator not made by fossil fuels somewhere and magically transported to your house by electric truck....that was not made in a plant built and run by fossil fueled power using materials not made by fossil fuels - steel, aluminum, etc, not mined by companies using fossil fuels to extract and transport the materials.

Just about everything you touch, live in , operate and depend upon for survival in the 21st century is made with fossil fuels or from them (plastics , medicines, housing, transport, food)........

So far, there have been NO COMMERCIAL implementations of 'making oil'.

Ethanol is likely a net energy loser, taking corn, grown with fossil fuels, dried with fossil fuels, and converted using fossil fuels into a crummy substitute that actually lowers gas mileage and provides no net energy in your car. Same for biodiesel. Ethanol converts diesel and coal (electricity) into crappy 'fuel' and when you use it, you likely actually lose total energy, or at best, break even. It just enriches a lot of 'farmers' and the political base, causes billions to be spent on lobbying with hundreds of millions donated to politicians to keep foisting this disaster upon citizens of the US.

Algae oil? Gimme a break. The world uses a thousand barrels of oil every second. Every second. That is 44,000 gallons of oil a second. 60,000 barrels of oil a minute. There is no way enough land could be converted into factories to produce that much oil.

We'll use up all the coal. We'll use up all the oil till the last bit is so expensive we can't afford it. We'll use all the natural gas.

Your best hope is that someone quick invents practical commercial fusion power within 20 years. See latest MIT press releases. there is some hope.

OTherwise, look for major resource wars in 20 years as the supplies dwindle.......

The Stone Age didn't end because we ran out of stones. You just couldn't put stones in your car or run your refrigerator or light bulbs on stones. Or fire. England stripped the forests end to end to make glass...until they 'discovered' they could use coal. Wood power - to power steam engines and factories - then coal.....

then we discovered oil.

for a million years, man has been using 'stored energy' - wood for most of it...then coal for 300 years....then oil for the last 140 years - then natural gas for the last 80 years ......

Who knows where oil is going. that depends where the world economy goes. China, especially.......then India.

There's still a billion people in the world who don't have electricity. There are several billion that want to have their own motorcycles and cars. In 30 years, there will be billions more.

so for you greenies forseeing a future in the near term where we 'give up' coal and oil and natural gas, please do tell us how you plan to live without your plastics, clothing, transport and food supplies, medicines, buildings, etc........from non fossil fuel sources...

t.
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<<The world demand for oil is down>>


https://www.iea.org/oilmarketreport/omrpublic/

"Global oil demand in 2015 is expected to grow by 1.6 mb/d, up 0.2 mb/d from our previous Report and the fastest pace in five years, as economic growth solidifies and consumers respond to lower oil prices. Persistent macro-economic strength supports above-trend growth of 1.4 mb/d in 2016."
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"Thirty years ago, there was a sort of a political split between the Oak Ridge community, which included biology, and people who were doing these fluid dynamics models, which don’t include biology. They got the lion’s share of money and attention. And since then, this group of pure modeling experts has become dominant.

I got out of the field then."


You are referring to a person who left the field 30 years ago?
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<<You are referring to a person who left the field 30 years ago?>>

Perhaps you can attempt to address the content of what he was saying instead of attacking this brilliant man. After all, one of the founders of these computer models admitted that they don't help us predict future climate.

Todd
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//Perhaps you can attempt to address the content of what he was saying instead of attacking this brilliant man///

The post asked a fairly simple question.

Maybe I read the article too casually, but it left me with two impressions: first, the man says that he is not an expert on the subject; and second, he suggests that what some see as evidence of damage, i.e., the very real effects of warming that the man recounts, may be damaging to some and helpful to others - what does this mean? We should wait for (how long) more change to occur before assessing whether it is harmful?

This seems to be the focus of real alarm. Even the experts don't know exactly how this story ends.
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Guys, guys,

Just because one cannot predict the future with models like one can predict the movement of the stars does not mean that trying to avoid a mistake by being risk averse in other things the way WEB is risk averse in investing without reliable models, is a bad thing.

Forget whether one can model the future, and see if the risks can be avoided or mitigated.

Sincerely,

jan

:/
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Here is a web site concerned with climate prediction, using models that are less than 30 years old.

http://www.climateprediction.net/

In particular:

http://www.climateprediction.net/climate-science/

Elsewhere on that site, you can find out how to participate in their climate modelling projects.

I have participated in this since August 2004.

Projects in which you are participating
Project
Click for user page Total credit Average credit Since
World Community Grid 764,388 969 2 Oct 2007
climateprediction.net 2,124,243 623 5 Aug 2004
SETI@home 478,285 458 10 Jun 1999
Rosetta@home 376,696 422 2 Nov 2005
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<<what does this mean? We should wait for (how long) more change to occur before assessing whether it is harmful?>>

How do you fix what you don't understand? How do you know that the fix will even work if you don't fully understand how everything interacts? What if you are trying to fix something that is supposed to happen naturally and our interference makes things worse in the future?

Why rush to action to something we don't even understand?

We had the "Population Bomb" book that was wildly popular and we were all supposed to die right about now. What if drastic action was taken to solve a problem that doesn't exist? What about acid rain? That was real popular when I was growing up. What if we took drastic action to combat "global cooling" that was faddish in the 1970s?

I think there is a penchant to overreact to complex theories that we simply don't understand.

Todd
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I will put this discussion in the "too tough" box. Sorry
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It's true that experts still can't exactly predict the effects on the climate. But the general trend where more CO2 means higher global temperatures have been well established. Plus, it's not like nothing has been done in this field the last 30 years. By now, if anything, the early models have proved too conservative.

To just dismiss it because you don't know everything in detail is naive. The rough trends are clear enough. If a big truck heads your way with high speed, you move out of the way. Even if it looks like it has a flat tire.

Mark
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<<If a big truck heads your way with high speed, you move out of the way.>>

And that's another thing. People assume that any warming is automatically bad. Aren't we talking about more plant food? Vegetation getting more food is bad? Also, don't more people die from the cold than from the heat? Why is there a big assumption that this is bad?

Is that a Mack truck coming our way or an ice cream tuck? We don't even know that...

Todd
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"Perhaps you can attempt to address the content of what he was saying instead of attacking this brilliant man."

Please point to anywhere I attacked the man? Stop being dishonest about my words.

I pointed out that even by his own words he hasn't been involved for over 30 years. A lot has happened in the last 30 years on climate science.
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And that's another thing. People assume that any warming is automatically bad. Aren't we talking about more plant food? Vegetation getting more food is bad? Also, don't more people die from the cold than from the heat? Why is there a big assumption that this is bad?

That comment does not improve your credibility in this argument. It's not the warming per se that causes the problem. The problem is that half of the world population lives on the coast. And unless you have been living under a rock for 30 years you should know the focus is on rising sea-levels as a result of warming, not so much the actual temperature itself.

And there are a few other details caused by high levels of CO2, like the acidification of the oceans, that aren't exactly good for us or life in the oceans in general.

Mark
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It strikes me as remarkable coincidence that the climate change doomsayers seem to know with such precision that we are at this unique moment in history, teetering on the brink of an irreversible death spiral. It smacks of the time-worn closer, "YOU MUST ACT QUICKLY BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE. THIS IS A LIMITED TIME OFFER. HURRY!" How can they know what will happen in 75-150 years when 40 years ago they were predicting the opposite? Hasn't it been only a few years since the issue was mistakenly believed to be to be global warming instead of climate change? On a much simpler level, and even without political distortion, can we even predict what purely man-made technological innovations alone will look like in fifty+ years?

"The best estimate of the rate of global warming is 0.7 of 1 °C per century, of which 30% or 0.2 of 1 °C is due to the increased intensity of the Sun's radiation. This leaves 0.5 of 1°C per century as the rate of global warming due to increasing carbon dioxide. This is just about the same as given by more elaborate climate projection models. However it should be noted that the current rate of increase of carbon dioxide is 0.4 of 1% per year. At this rate it will take about 176 years for the concentration of carbon dioxide to double. The climate modelers assume a rate of increase of 1% per year, which means the the level of carbon dioxide will double in about 70 years. Why do the climate modelers assume a rate of increase 2.5 times the actual rate of increase? Apparently for no other reason that it helps generate scary projections." - Thayer Watkins, San Jose State University

The costs of the tax and regulation in the US to attempt to prevent global warm-- oops, climate change, are greater than the costs of managing the problem. These proposed efforts may not prevent it anyway. For all we know it may be too late already. It may have already been too late back in the 1970's when the prediction was global cooling. The current proposals are disturbingly reminiscent of the Aztecs decision to use ever greater numbers of human sacrifices to address crop failure.

Is this topic staying relevant to BRK? Cheers.
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It strikes me as remarkable coincidence that the climate change doomsayers seem to know with such precision that we are at this unique moment in history, teetering on the brink of an irreversible death spiral

To me it strikes as remarkable that the deniers always twist the discussion. There is no doomsaying, nor is anyone pretending to know the exact outcome. Just that if this continues, a large number of people will be affected by it. And what makes you say that managing the problem is cheaper than trying to prevent it? What is that assumption based on? It just so happens that almost all of the prime real estate in the world is on the coast.

And to be precise, it is still global warming. But locally, climate changes. This is an attempt to get it into the skeptics heads that bringing a snowball into the discussion saying the snowball is proof there is no warming, is... well I have no words for such ignorance.

Mark
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Thanks for your reply, Mark. Just for fun, here is a deep dive TED talk on the topic by David Deutsch. Hope you find it interesting. Peace

http://www.ted.com/talks/david_deutsch_on_our_place_in_the_c...
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That comment does not improve your credibility in this argument. It's not the warming per se that causes the problem. The problem is that half of the world population lives on the coast. And unless you have been living under a rock for 30 years you should know the focus is on rising sea-levels as a result of warming, not so much the actual temperature itself.

And how fast does sea level rise? Pretty sure it is slow enough that you can walk away from it to avoid drowning or even getting your feet wet.

If an Island in the pacific is shrinking, do you imagine its population will, over the decades or centuries it takes, just stay on the island anyway and move up to the top of the volcano until there is standing room only?

Is it cheaper to have an international mechanism to subsidize population moves away from flooding coastland, or to turn off all the energy generation in the world?

Which kills more people, turning off energy or rising sea level?

Microclimate has shifted throughout prehistory and even to some extent throughout history. People have moved around to reflect those shifts. Why would we pretend that at a time when the human race is richer and smarter than it has ever been before, we would forget how to walk away from a rising tide?
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And how fast does sea level rise? Pretty sure it is slow enough that you can walk away from it to avoid drowning or even getting your feet wet.

Real estate does not walk.

Is it cheaper to have an international mechanism to subsidize population moves away from flooding coastland, or to turn off all the energy generation in the world?


Why the straw man? Nobody advocates stopping all energy production. Just advocating we shift to renewable, emission free alternatives. I'm pretty sure it's MUCH cheaper than relocating lots of people. Probably preventing a few wars over land while we're at it, we already can't handle a few Mexicans moving here without getting into a tizzy.

Mark
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Thanks for your reply, Mark. Just for fun, here is a deep dive TED talk on the topic by David Deutsch. Hope you find it interesting. Peace

http://www.ted.com/talks/david_deutsch_on_our_place_in_the_c......


Not a very engaging talk as far as TED talks go, IMO. I'm a bit at a loss understanding what he trying to say.

Sure, I agree some of damage is most likely already done. Then I think he says we should try to solve problems in the future. What about solutions we already came up with? Should we just ignore them? While we can't undo what's done, we can mitigate further damage. Using this as an argument to not do anything is like a drug addict saying "I probably already lost 10 years of my life, why bother stopping?" Maybe to avoid losing another 10? Waiting until his teeth fall out is too late to "solve the problem".

Mark
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Mark, thanks for taking the time to check out the presentation. I am sorry you are at a bit of a loss to understand what he is trying to say-- it really is a deep dive. I have a heavy science background, so for me it was interesting and made sense. Maybe give it another try. At this point, I need to turn my attention to BRK. Thanks again.
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"And how fast does sea level rise? Pretty sure it is slow enough that you can walk away from it to avoid drowning or even getting your feet wet.

If an Island in the pacific is shrinking, do you imagine its population will, over the decades or centuries it takes, just stay on the island anyway and move up to the top of the volcano until there is standing room only?"


So if I pollute your property only a few inches per year it is ok?

"Is it cheaper to have an international mechanism to subsidize population moves away from flooding coastland, or to turn off all the energy generation in the world?"

Fallacy of false choice. I know you to be a very smart individual. I know you understand there are more options than just the two you present.
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And how fast does sea level rise? Pretty sure it is slow enough that you can walk away from it to avoid drowning or even getting your feet wet.

To keep things close to home, how about your asking the people in Norfolk, VA. about sea level rise. Or the people in Virginia Beach.

If an Island in the pacific is shrinking, do you imagine its population will, over the decades or centuries it takes, just stay on the island anyway and move up to the top of the volcano until there is standing room only?

Several Pacific islands have catastrophic problems already. Sea level on some is not rising fast enough to bury them, but it has already risen far enough that their fresh water wells are now too salty to drink.

The people of Kiribati are in dire straights already. They must evacuate their island, but neighboring counries are not welcoming immigrants. They could be next, of course.
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Algae oil? Gimme a break. The world uses a thousand barrels of oil every second. Every second. That is 44,000 gallons of oil a second. 60,000 barrels of oil a minute. There is no way enough land could be converted into factories to produce that much oil.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrel_of_oil_equivalent

A barrel of oil has 6.1 GJ of energy in it. So a barrel of oil per second is 6.1 GW.

Sunlight is 1.4 kW per square meter. So a barrel of oil per second corresponds to 4 million square meters or 400 hectares. Of course Sun doesn't shine all the time and algae is no doubt not even close to 100% efficient at turning sunlight into oil so lets give 4000 hectares over to produce 1 barrel of oil per second from algae.

The world uses 1000 barrels of oil per second so to produce this would take about 4 million hectares of surface area. That is 40,000 km^2.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_deserts_by_area

If 2% of the arabian desert were devoted to producing petroleum from algae, the entire current consumption of the world would be provided for.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean

We would need a few millionths of the ocean area devoted to algae for petroleum to satisfy current world demand.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agricultural_land
If the US devoted 1% of its land area under cultivation to algae, it could provide the current requirements of petroleum to the world.

But algae doesn't need arable land or potable water. It grows in saltwater or brackish water and pilot plants have been built in deserts.

The hard part of the algae farming is getting enough CO2 into the water. For algae to grow fast enough to use up all the sunlight it is getting, a lot of CO2 needs to be introduced into the water.

I hope that the easy dismissal from the post I am replying to no longers seems reasonable.

R:
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<< The hard part of the algae farming is getting enough CO2 into
the water. For algae to grow fast enough to use up all the sunlight it
is getting, a lot of CO2 needs to be introduced into the water. >>


Ralph,

Solving this problem might have the added benefit of sequestering
carbon emissions, correct?

http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org/content/60/9/722.full

-Rubic
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So far, there have been NO COMMERCIAL implementations of 'making oil'.

"Brazil is considered to have the world's first sustainable biofuels economy and the biofuel industry leader,[4][5][6][7] a policy model for other countries; and its sugarcane ethanol "the most successful alternative fuel to date."[8] There are no longer any light vehicles in Brazil running on pure gasoline. Since 1976 the government made it mandatory to blend anhydrous ethanol with gasoline, fluctuating between 10% to 22%.[16] and requiring just a minor adjustment on regular gasoline engines."

I am not rooting for Ethanol but pointing this fact.


The world uses a thousand barrels of oil every second. Every second. That is 44,000 gallons of oil a second. 60,000 barrels of oil a minute. There is no way enough land could be converted into factories to produce that much oil.


Please see this video by Elon Musk of Tesla Motors. Good investment of 17 minutes of your time. Talks about solar energy and batteries.

http://www.teslamotors.com/powerwall

Note: I own Tesla stock.
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For algae to grow fast enough to use up all the sunlight it
is getting, a lot of CO2 needs to be introduced into the water. >>

Ralph,

Solving this problem might have the added benefit of sequestering
carbon emissions, correct?



No. Algae will absorb CO2, convert it into longer chain carbons, and then this carbon molecule (aka oil) will be burned as a fuel, releasing the CO2 back into the atmosphere. Carbon sequestration would be if you took the oil and pumped it back into the ground. Maybe we will do that in 50 years, when electricity is ridiculously cheap and we decide we want to bring down atmospheric CO2 to pre-2000 levels.

dtb
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>>No. Algae will absorb CO2, convert it into longer chain carbons,
and then this carbon molecule (aka oil) will be burned as a fuel,
releasing the CO2 back into the atmosphere. >>


Ah, of course. Thanks for the explanation.

-Rubic
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"Solving this problem might have the added benefit of sequestering
carbon emissions, correct?"


It will temporarily sequester the CO2, until you burn the oil produced from the algae and then it will re-release the CO2 back into the atmosphere.

So it that regard it is sort of a benefit in terms of it "recycles" the CO2 already in the atmosphere to create the oil (and re-release the CO2) rather than dig up existing oil from deep underground and just add to the CO2 already in the atmosphere.
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Hey sorry, my comment came off more harsh than intended. I was just trying to point out that you were giving a false choice.
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Solving this problem might have the added benefit of sequestering
carbon emissions, correct?


Rubic,

Right in spirit but I think you do not mean "sequestering."

Sequestering carbon emissions refers specifically to taking the CO2 exhaust from burning fossil fuels and putting them away somewhere so they do not make it into the atmosphere. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_capture_and_storage

Petroleum from algae would be an example of a "zero carbon footprint" fuel. When making the fuel, carbon dioxide is taken out of the atmosphere. When the fuel is later burned, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. But no more CO2 is released on burning than was removed when the algae was growing to make the petroleum. So the fuel is referred to as "carbon neutral" or "zero carbon footprint."

Cheers,
R:)
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"Solving this problem might have the added benefit of sequestering
carbon emissions, correct?"

No. Algae will absorb CO2, convert it into longer chain carbons, and then this carbon molecule (aka oil) will be burned as a fuel, releasing the CO2 back into the atmosphere. Carbon sequestration would be if you took the oil and pumped it back into the ground. Maybe we will do that in 50 years, when electricity is ridiculously cheap and we decide we want to bring down atmospheric CO2 to pre-2000 levels.


In theory though, we could, after a period of sequestration, become carbon-neutral: turning the algae into oil, and then burning the oil, with a net change of zero.
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So if I pollute your property only a few inches per year it is ok?

We are talking about large stuff done by governments. If the government wants to build a driveway to a parking mall on my property, it may or may not be OK but it is legal and has been since the beginning of law.

If humanity has recognized that sometimes the individual has to be inconvenienced for a driveway, then certainly it can figure out at least as fair way to handle shifting property? Especially since coastal land has ever been shifting, even before global warming?

You wouldn't suggest we should treat global warming without using all the legal tools and concepts that have been in use for thousands of years, would you?
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This makes almost too much sense. I mean if the current administration
wants to curtail CO2 emissions, here ya go, put it to some good use!
Algae is definitely eco friendly. Why has this not been done?
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"We are talking about large stuff done by governments."

No we were talking about people losing their land because other people decided to put junk in the air and let nature take it's course.

For some reason since it was only happening a few inches per year, you found it acceptable.

"You wouldn't suggest we should treat global warming without using all the legal tools and concepts that have been in use for thousands of years, would you?"

Actually, I think we should treat global warming with the legal tools and concepts that have been in use for thousands of years. Air is a common resource. How is spewing CO2 (which harms other people) into that common resource any different that spewing pollutants?
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<<How is spewing CO2 (which harms other people) into that common resource any different that spewing pollutants?>>

500 million years ago CO2 levels were 13x higher than they are today. It wasn't until 20 million years ago that CO2 levels dropped to a level of twice what they are today. Humans didn't cause that.

CO2 is plant food, without it we would not have life. With more of it we may have greater vegetation and yields of mainstream crops like rice and maize. Trees may end up eating more of the CO2 and grow bigger and faster.

It's not all doom and gloom. CO2 is probably no more of a pollutant than that nasty chemical Dihydrogen Monoxide. 95% of the computer models overestimated the rise in CO2 and didn't account for the recent 17 year pause. We don't understand all the negative feedback loops otherwise the models would have captured it.

We should be smart and learn more about it before declaring urgent actions that have negative economic impacts.


Todd
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God bless you Todd, I am grateful that 'your' view is in a rapidly shrinking minority. The time for drastic action is rapidly passing.
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<<We should be smart and learn more about it before declaring urgent actions that have negative economic impacts.>>

Agree. In addition, the carbon oxidation/reduction cycle issue will be resolved soon. Within the next 20-35 years carbon based energy sources (gas, coal, petroleum) will not be required as a main source. Fusion power (not fission power) reactors are no longer theoretical and will supply humankind all of it's energy needs. For our fuel needs -- an abundance of energy will allow for the electrolysis of water yielding hydrogen gas and as a bonus, oxygen. Oxidation of hydrogen is a more direct, efficient and a clean way to generate energy when compared to carbon sourced alternatives. When this happens, all of that sequestered carbon dioxide (bicarbonate/H+) in our ocean waters will make its way back to the trees.

cooler
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500 million years ago CO2 levels were 13x higher than they are today.

And there weren't any ice caps at that time. I don't think Americans would be comfortable with the resulting loss in coastal real estate.
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"500 million years ago CO2 levels were 13x higher than they are today."

I wanted to stay out of this thread knowing that it was likely a waste of time once it got sidetracked by the climate debate. First, for context I think most of North America was underwater 500 million years ago:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/09/what-d...

And almost all life was in the sea except a few predecessors of algae:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/09/what-d...



Second, it is misleading to claim that the 'computers did not account for the 17 year pause'. If you look at the 130 year charts, you see the 17 year pause in the context of steadily rising temperatures with pauses of 15-20 years all along the way. The computers cannot yet predict the drops in solar activity accurately, but by use of multiple regressions and analysis of the synergistic effects of known causes, scientists can measure the relative impact of both sun and greenhouse gases with increasing accuracy.

The longer term (130 year) chart is shifting upwards largely due to an increase in greenhouse gases due to the burning of fossil fuels at an accelerating rate. The next step up (in worldwide temperatures) will likely lead us to a noticeable rise in climate averages worldwide due to increased solar activity with the greenhouse effect superimposed on the increased solar activity. Here is a good discussion of the 'pause' in the context of both solar activity and greenhouse gases. To understand it you need to read Atrophool's posts cited by my post:

http://boards.fool.com/ajax-quotsince-you-understand-the-sci...
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CO2 is plant food, without it we would not have life. With more of it we may have greater vegetation and yields of mainstream crops like rice and maize. Trees may end up eating more of the CO2 and grow bigger and faster.

No. Two problems with these assertions, both of them founded on the fact that the ecology is a circle, not a line. You're treating it like a line. Actually there's a third problem: people use these fallacies to help delay or avoid actual solutions to the problem of atmospheric CO2, making the eventual result worse for everybody. So thanks for that...

Anyway, first, current crops have shown extremely little response to extra CO2, even in an enclosed environment. Evolution is an efficiency engine. Over time it removes structures that provide no benefit...for example, structures that would be able to utilize a higher concentration of CO2. It might be possible to breed or genetically engineer crops that can make use of more CO2 in the air, but it still wouldn't matter in terms of CO2 in the atmosphere because the crops get harvested, eaten and digested, and the CO2 returns to the system. It's still a steady state.

Second, trees can only get so big before they die and release their stored carbon. Accelerated tree growth still results in a steady state. A tree takes up a certain amount of space, so "bigger trees" is not a solution.

A possible temporary solution might be "more habitat for trees". The latter would actually provide a carbon sink, at least until the habitat is maxed, after which it will return to a steady state. But given global population growth, even that temporary solution is out of reach for us.
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Sunlight is 1.4 kW per square meter. So a barrel of oil per second corresponds to 4 million square meters or 400 hectares. Of course Sun doesn't shine all the time and algae is no doubt not even close to 100% efficient at turning sunlight into oil so lets give 4000 hectares over to produce 1 barrel of oil per second from algae.

Tracking in from Best Of for a second, I think the above vastly overstates the potential energy efficiency of algae. Photosynthesis just isn't all that efficient at converting and storing energy - typically closer to 1-2% of sunlight that strikes the plant, not the more than 20% you postulate above.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthetic_efficiency

This isn't a blanket rejection of biofuels, but you'll need much more land area than you're suggesting if you intended to replace current oil output with biofuel. I think it's far more likely that, in the very very long term, we end up replacing some modest amount of current oil consumption with biofuels and supplant the rest with efficiency and alternative energy sources. I don't think it's at all likely that we ever produce 90 mbpdoe from biofuels.

Albaby
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If we know that:

a. Burning fossil fuels for energy (likely) causes an increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.

b. There are better alternative energy sources available (algae farms, fusion reactors, etc.).

Then why aren't we scaling up energy production using these methods? Consider me skeptical as to our ability to do so. I consider it an act of faith to believe these alternatives can provide the same amount of energy that the Earth stored over 200 million years, and then we used in 500 years.

My predictions for the future are far more gloomy. I see no evidence to change my thinking on the subject.
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"500 million years ago CO2 levels were 13x higher than they are today. It wasn't until 20 million years ago that CO2 levels dropped to a level of twice what they are today. Humans didn't cause that."

Of course not. But what does that have to do with today?

There have been plenty of times in our past where the atmosphere was much more polluted with sulphur than it is today and humans obviously did not cause that either.

However humans are causing CO2 levels in the atmosphere to rise today and that is having an effect on other people's property. Since when is it acceptable to allow people to cause damage to other people's property without recourse?

"We should be smart and learn more about it before declaring urgent actions that have negative economic impacts."

We have learned more about it, especially over the last 30 years. That you want to ignore all that we have learned does not make it go away. Besides, dealing with mankind's effect of climate change doesn't necessarily have to have an negative economic effect. The positive economic effect of thousands of newly created jobs in new energy can more than overcome the negative economic effects of costlier energy or coal miner job losses.
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///humans are causing CO2 levels in the atmosphere to rise today and that is having an effect on other people's property. Since when is it acceptable to allow people to cause damage to other people's property without recourse?///

Wouldn't equity dictate that the CO2 equilibrium number be divided by the population of the planet, and each inhabitant assigned a fixed fraction of his/her CO2 to use/sell? The excess over equilibrium would be eliminated.

Well, for starters, the massive overusers, i.e. us, would never agree to compensate the underusers for their 'share'.

But still.....
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Carbon sequestration would be if you took the oil and pumped it back into the ground. Maybe we will do that in 50 years, when electricity is ridiculously cheap and we decide we want to bring down atmospheric CO2 to pre-2000 levels.
========
In theory though, we could, after a period of sequestration, become carbon-neutral: turning the algae into oil, and then burning the oil, with a net change of zero.



I think the reverse order is much more likely; start by just replacing fossil fuels by synthetic ones (becoming carbon neutral), to meet the demand for practical (liquid) transportation fuels.

Then, in some utopian future where we really don't know what to do with all our energy wealth (for instance, with renewable electricity down to 1c per kWh), start sequestering carbon, reversing the damage done from the last 200-300 years. We could put some of that CO2 back out of circulation in liquid form, withsome very long chain carbon molecule or, even better, some in sort of carbon solid, like artificial coal. This second part will probably never happen, but who would have thought, 20 years ago, that the cost of solar power would even be in the same ball park as fossil fuels?

dtb
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Tracking in from Best Of for a second, I think the above vastly overstates the potential energy efficiency of algae. Photosynthesis just isn't all that efficient at converting and storing energy - typically closer to 1-2% of sunlight that strikes the plant, not the more than 20% you postulate above.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthetic_efficiency

This isn't a blanket rejection of biofuels, but you'll need much more land area than you're suggesting if you intended to replace current oil output with biofuel. I think it's far more likely that, in the very very long term, we end up replacing some modest amount of current oil consumption with biofuels and supplant the rest with efficiency and alternative energy sources. I don't think it's at all likely that we ever produce 90 mbpdoe from biofuels.

Albaby


Thanks Albaby. You are right. I underestimated the area required by a factor of 33. It is possible that Sapphire's system is more efficient than that, but I cannot find any numbers from Sapphire, so using the general numbers I can find, we need 1.3 million square kilometers.

So revising the percentage numbers, any of these areas devoted to algae for petroleum would provide the entire current usage of the world:

65% of the Arabian Desert
15% of the Sahara Desert
0.3% of the total area of the ocean
33% of the area of US land under agricultural cultivation.


Note that algae does not require agricultural quality land or fresh water. So comparing it to the area of land cultivated in the US is not meant to suggest we could shift 33% of food agriculture to petroleum agriculture. But rather to suggest that as a system parallel to that of food cultivation, using algae to produce petroleum FOR THE ENTIRE WORLD would be a system about 1/3 the size of what the US currently has for producing food for itself and part of the world that it exports to.

Also, I provided areas required to produce the entire petroleum use of the world in just the Arabian Desert of just the US. Obviously it would make sense to spread production around the world.

It doesn't seem even close to impossible to completely replace current fossil production with algae production. The biggest missing piece is how we go about concentrating CO2 from the air to feed these algae ponds. It takes more than 10 kg of CO2 to produce 1 gallon of biofuel.

R:)
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How hard or easy is it to actually extract the oil from the algae?

http://www.oilgae.com/algae/oil/extract/extract.html makes it sound pretty hard. But maybe it's still better than the "opportunity cost" methods like fracking or deep-sea drilling.
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"The biggest missing piece is how we go about concentrating CO2 from the air to feed these algae ponds. It takes more than 10 kg of CO2 to produce 1 gallon of biofuel."

Well first we dig up some coal and burn it to get the CO2..........

Seriously, this algae looks like it might be what makes carbon capture or sequestration more economical. Build a coal plant to burn coal, capture the CO2 from the coal plant and use it to feed an algae plant next door. Use the algae to make oil, gasoline, and plastics.
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..So where does that leave us? Oil could stay under $70 for years. Remember, the rest of the world pays 'Brent Price' - now about $50/bll. And that is for 'light sweet crude' the best grade oil. Most of the production is a lot crappier and sells for 40-70% of that price.

All true, Berkshire holding Suncor is getting even less.

Net Energy Syncrude Closing Price* -$5.10 USD/BBL.......$36.77
Net Energy WCS Closing Price* -$19.35 USD/BBL..........$22.52

http://www.dailyoilbulletin.com/#axzz3jDavmNke

Western Canada Select-------$22 a barrel, and the US refiners want it. So, must get Keystone XL built. That will happen whether a political solution or a NAFTA investor-state dispute between Canada/TransCanada and the US. TransCanada will probably wait out this administration, the latest report comes soon. The belief in the oil patch is that the fix is in and why wouldn't you believe that?

In the meantime Berkshire benefits greatly moving crude from Canada by rail.

Such a shame the "greens" hold out for the "perfect" defeating the good. Natural gas. From the US. In the meantime, our friends the Saudis attempt to take market share back. 30% of the oil the US uses is from Canada, the most by far. There are obligations under NAFTA. Mr. Obama appears more ready to trade with Asia than the good friends, the Canadians. Something not quite right there. That will be resolved, TransCanada weighs its options for now.
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We should be smart and learn more about it before declaring urgent actions that have negative economic impacts.

This is the identical liturgy that chemical companies used when declaring that pouring toxins in the ground and in the rivers was OK. So did coal mine operators when told they had to make their workplace safer. So did textile mill operators when told they couldn't employ children anymore.

The "adverse economic impact" idea is compelling to some, but then they refuse to consider the other side of the argument, which in this case is the possible contamination of the planet, and the only place where humans can live.

500 million years ago CO2 levels were 13x higher than they are today.

Let's say that that's true. So what? Modern humans didn't evolve in that time or under those conditions. Indeed, the only thing that survived then were fish and some protoamphibians. Is that the world you're envisioning?

I'm always surprised when people, so eager to protect their "castle" with deadbolt locks, guns, panic rooms and whatnot, are so cavalier about "air" and "sea levels" and dramatic changes in weather patterns and such. Sure, there is a lot of natural variability to things, just look at the drought in California (or perhaps more appropriately the one that extincted the Anasazis), but even with that, are we really so willing to roll the dice so whatever global changes we wreak (applaud! encourage!) won't come back and bite us in the backside?

That's an awfully big gamble, considering that (like polluted rivers, smog, toxic waste dumps and the rest) we can do something about it. Will it be free? No. Good things never are. The alternative, of course, is to flip a coin with not only our grandchildren's world, but the future of the earth. I dunno, but that's one area where I would think stasis would be a preferable outcome, and the "economic consequences" far less than they would be when such neglect is compounded, year after year.
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The alternative, of course, is to flip a coin with not only our grandchildren's world, but the future of the earth.

That's total nonsense. The earth will be just fine. George Carlin said it best:


The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles … hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages … And we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet isn’t going anywhere. WE are!

We’re going away. Pack your sh!t, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Maybe a little Styrofoam … The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas.
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<<I'm always surprised when people, so eager to protect their "castle" with deadbolt locks, guns, panic rooms and whatnot, are so cavalier about "air" and "sea levels" and dramatic changes in weather patterns and such.>>

There are assumptions here that I would like to challenge.

1) global warming is bad

But is it? First of all, CO2 is not a toxin, it's an essential nutrient without we would cease to exist. Second, as it pertains to warming most of the warming is in the arctic, in places like Greenland. Most of the warming occurs during the winter, not the summer so you're getting more warmth in some areas that may enjoy a less harsh climate and it's happening during the winter months. Is a milder winter a bad thing when 5x more people die from the cold vs. the heat? Also, the warming happens more at night vs. the day. Further, it's not global as some areas have no increase in temperature. There have been reports of trees in Africa growing faster and taller from the CO2. Is that bad? CO2 after all is plant food so there would likely be an increase in mainland crops like rice and maize as a result. Is that bad? I don't think we have done a good enough job on doing a Ben Franklin on the issue. We hear a lot of the potential negative impacts but really come up short on the other side of the column.

2) we can control it

Can we? Sea levels have been rising for the past 12,000 years. Isn't it reasonable to think that there is another reason for this happening besides man made global warming? Glaciers have been shrinking for over 300 years. Isn't it reasonable to conclude that for most of this time the reduction is due to something other than humans? The Little Ice Age is suspected to be caused by a weaker sun, among other factors. A rebound in sun activity has launched a climb out of this little ice age. Is this just a natural rebound from the Little Ice Age that would have occurred were there no humans even on the planet? It's widely accepted that we should act now to combat CO2 rises, as if we are ridding ourselves of some toxin. But what if we are bound to enter another few hundred years of a weaker sun and we work really hard to cool the planet only to exacerbate the next little ice age? That would be a tragedy.

3) We understand it. The science is settled. (Not from your post)

This is the whole reason I linked the Freeman Dyson interview that was quickly dismissed because of his age. What he is saying is that much of the research is in hydrodynamics of the atmosphere so data is isolated to the atmosphere and the ocean. But there are 5 reservoirs of carbon: atmosphere, upper level of the ocean, land vegetation, topsoil and fossil fuels.

"You can't understand any of them unless you understand all of them." -Dyson

Not enough research is being done with vegetation, soil and trees as it relates to climate and CO2. We don't understand it fully. We don't fully understand the negative feedback loops in play. In fact, Dyson suggests we may even be able to genetically modify trees so that they take in more CO2, a form of super-tree. Isn't it reasonable to suggest we learn more before demanding immediate action?

4) Warming will lead to dramatic changes in weather patterns

In one example, it has been suggested that we will see more devastating hurricanes. In fact, after Katrina climate change proponents pointed to that event as a result of global warming. The hurricane season the year after Katrina was supposed to be as bad if not worse. What really happened is that not one hurricane hit U.S. shore. In fact, the past several years have been extremely mild for hurricanes. Isn't it reasonable to suggest we work harder to understand the negative feedback loops in play?


Charles Darwin was a fan of killing your best loved idea. I think there are a number of assumptions being made by climate change enthusiasts that can be challenged. There is so much we don't know. We already know that CO2 levels have dropped dramatically over millions of years before humans were even on the planet. We already know earlier projections are turning out to be wrong as 95% of the computer models overestimated the amount of warming recently. This isn't an infomercial. We don't need to act now before the commercial ends to get the deal. There is plenty of time to learn more and understand it better. Is that unreasonable?

Todd
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Glaciers have been shrinking for over 300 years. Isn't it reasonable to conclude that for most of this time the reduction is due to something other than humans?


Yeah, it always amazes me when people assume retreating glaciers are proof of anthropogenic global warming.

Go back and look at some pictures of what is now Glacier Bay National Park in the late 1700's. What is now an 80-mile deep bay was all glacier...and all of that ultra-dramatic retreat occurred before the fossil-fuel age.

This certainly does not disprove the theory of anthropogenic global warming. But it does demonstrate the nonsense of axiomatically equating glacial retreat with it.
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Go back and look at some pictures of what is now Glacier Bay National Park in the late 1700's

---

1826
The First Photograph, or more specifically, the earliest known surviving photograph made in a camera, was taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826 or 1827. The image depicts the view from an upstairs window at Niépce's estate, Le Gras, in the Burgundy region of France.

(From a Google search of "When were photographs first taken")


:)
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For those of you who are interested a strong el nino season may be upon us this year:

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/en...

If we do have a strong el nino season, we may break through the record highs of 1997-8 (the last strong el nino season) later this year, showing a resumption of the 130 year uptrend caused by greenhouse gases as depicted here:

http://www.ap.smu.ca/~pbennett/climate/recentx_dt_co2.gif

And as explained by Astrophool here:

http://boards.fool.com/this-complex-system-is-called-the-sol...
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1826
The First Photograph, or more specifically, the earliest known surviving photograph made in a camera, was taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826 or 1827. The image depicts the view from an upstairs window at Niépce's estate, Le Gras, in the Burgundy region of France.

(From a Google search of "When were photographs first taken")



Nice "gotcha" research.

FWIW, I was going by my memory of two things: that the entrance of what is now Glacier Bay National Park had been observed to be simply a wall of ice, in the late 1700's, and two, that I had seen early photos of the park. But your detective work revealed that my memory from twenty years ago was not perfectly accurate. That's important.

Just curious, did you spend any time researching the relevant issue at hand? Like maybe seeking the truth is more important than "gotcha" moments?

http://www.glacierbay.org/geography.html

Glacier Bay was first surveyed in detail in 1794 by a team from the H.M.S. Discovery, captained by George Vancouver. At the time the survey produced showed a mere indentation in the shoreline. That massive glacier was more than 4,000 feet thick in places, up to 20 miles wide, and extended more than 100 miles to the St. Elias mountain range.

By 1879, however, naturalist John Muir discovered that the ice had retreated more than 30 miles forming an actual bay. By 1916, the Grand Pacific Glacier – the main glacier credited with carving the bay – had melted back 60 miles to the head of what is now Tarr Inlet.



So this massive ice field (4000 feet thick...on par with the Greenland ice sheets) retreated 60 miles. Basically half a mile per year...for a nearly mile-deep ice field.

If you have even an ounce of rationality and honesty, you'd have to acknowledge the following:

1) if this were happening today--a mile thick ice sheet retreating a half a mile a year--there would be huge numbers of AGW proponents citing this as "proof" of their theory. It would probably be on the cover of leading magazines. Al Gore would be making a movie about it.

2) given that the dramatic retreat happened in a world without the use of fossil fuels, then the assumption that similar retreats/melting now could not be due to similar geologic/climatic factors, but instead is clearly due to the increased CO2 in the atmosphere, is not at all logical nor intelligent.

3) the fact that a very large number of proponents of AGW cite glacier melting as confirmatory evidence of their theory says more about confirmation bias than it does about reality.
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<<If we do have a strong el nino season, we may break through the record highs of 1997-8 (the last strong el nino season) later this year, showing a resumption of the 130 year uptrend caused by greenhouse gases>>

So increasing CO2 leads to El Niño which leads to greater snow storms
which leads to cooler temperatures.

Tell me, how did CO2 create the midieval warming period?
If it didn't play a role, what did?

Todd
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Tell me, how did CO2 create the midieval warming period?
If it didn't play a role, what did?



Well, obviously, the current cause must be elevated CO2 (otherwise our theory would not hold up). It can't be whatever the cause was eight centuries ago, or 200,000 years ago, or 3,000,000,000 years ago.

Don't be such a denier.
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That's total nonsense. The earth will be just fine. George Carlin said it best:
We’re going away. Pack your sh!t, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Maybe a little Styrofoam … The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas.


I feel much better now.
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Just curious, did you spend any time researching the relevant issue at hand? Like maybe seeking the truth is more important than "gotcha" moments?

I believed you all along. In fact, I'm a huge "climate change skeptic". (as Barack Obama named us.)


As an aside, it is amazing to me how any of these politicians get away with naming things as they do.

Global Warming becomss climate change..but they didn't stop there. Now, if you have doubts about global warming predictions, you are a climate change skeptic. So they make you feel that only a buffoon would believe that the climate doesn't change.

It's like re-naming, or re-classifying Illegal Aliens as Dreamers.
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"So increasing CO2 leads to El Niño which leads to greater snow storms
which leads to cooler temperatures."

I don't understand your reply.

In the first place, I think scientists are demonstrating that el nino increases worldwide temperatures on average.

Second, I don't think el nino increases snow on a global scale. I think you may be talking about regional variations.

Third, I don't think increased snow always means an increase in temperatures even in a regional setting. Seasonal snows often result from warm, moist air bumping into cold air and causing snow whereas colder, drier air does not produce snow.

On a worldwide scale, this el nino may lead to worldwide temperatures that convincingly break through the records of 1997-8 because we will have a combination of a strong el nino year with the addition of accumulating greenhouse gases.

"Tell me, how did CO2 create the midieval warming period?
If it didn't play a role, what did?

I don't understand this question either. C02 clearly played a role in the Medieval warming period and it also plays a role now. But so do the sun, volcanoes and other known forcings.

Climate scientists are measuring the relative impact of known forcings, such as sun, volcanoes and greenhouse gases, as well as the synergistic effects. That's why they have committed decades to measuring the relative impact of all of the known forcings, done thousands of multiple regressions, and thousands of follow up studies on the synergistic effects of those known forcings.

The recent increase in greenhouse gases due to industrial activity on a global scale does not stop the sun from going through periods of increased and decreased activity. We still have lows and highs due to solar activity, but the lows are higher than they otherwise would have been due to accumulating greenhouse gases, and the highs are higher than they otherwise would otherwise have been due to the accumulating gases.

The entire chart is being shifted upward even thought the shape of it remains similar.

The 130 year chart looks like this:

http://www.ap.smu.ca/~pbennett/climate/recentx_dt_co2.gif

When you measure the relative impacts of the known forcings, and take out the forcings caused by greenhouse gases, the worldwide climate chart for the last 130 year looks like this:

http://www.ap.smu.ca/~pbennett/climate/recentx_ddt_yr.gif

Plus, there are economic benefits to understanding the science better. If, for example, the west is hit with severe flooding as anticipating, they can prepare for it. Regional variations are being prognosticated more accurately than ever before, even if we still have a long way to go.

Longer term, all of the studies over the last few decades are narrowing in on a climate sensitivity estimate for greenhouse gases. I think every climate scientist now understands that greenhouse gases are accumulating in a way that is accelerating the world's climate. They are arguing about the amount of the impact, not the existence of it.

Finally, the accelerating rise of the oceans is being measured with increasing accuracy, including the variances in ocean rise that cause it to rise faster in some regions than others. These are good things to know and worth reading about.
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<<I don't understand this question either. C02 clearly played a role in the Medieval warming period and it also plays a role now. But so do the sun, volcanoes and other known forcings.>>

Wrong. CO2 levels during the Midieval Warm Period are estimated around 285ppm vs 400ppm today. So CO2 did not play a role. So how did the earth warm on a global scale back then without CO2? I fact, it was warmer back then than today. If you can't answer that then how do we know that today's warming is completely normal and with precedent and doesn't have anything to do with CO2. You have a graph showing, correlation, not causation.

Todd
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I think your are looking at c02 in isolation rather than in the context of multiple forcings. The earth can and does warm and cool on a global scale due to solar activity, but increases in C02 and do trap energy and temperatures can and do continue to rise and fall with the rise and fall of the solar energy but with the highs and lows being higher than they otherwise would be due to greenhouse accumulation.

Second, correlation does not necessarily mean causation, but that claim can be both true and misleading. Multiple regressions of known forcings can and do help scientists figure out the relative inputs of each forcing. You really should read the IPCC AR4 and some of the explanations by NOAA and NASA and some of the sites offered by me in this thread so that you have a better idea of what climate science is before you reject it.
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At some point I must examine my own motives in replying to posts on a board on a topic that belongs on another board. I think I owe it to the regulars to put this thread back on 'ignore'.
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Wrong. CO2 levels during the Midieval Warm Period are estimated around 285ppm vs 400ppm today. So CO2 did not play a role. So how did the earth warm on a global scale back then without CO2? I fact, it was warmer back then than today. If you can't answer that then how do we know that today's warming is completely normal and with precedent and doesn't have anything to do with CO2. You have a graph showing, correlation, not causation.</i

Let's say I take take a bucket.

In this bucket I put water, sand, and lead. It will have some measurable weight.

Days later, I add more lead, but take out some of the water and sand. It might weigh less, but would you argue that the weight doesn't have anything to do with lead?
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stupid tags. (sorry about the terrible formatting on the preceeding post. I blame lead.
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In winter I like global warming. Makes me feel warm and cozy.
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This thread has about run its course.
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